Chief Wingert: We need you to target harden your property

Good morning, Paradise Valley!

My name is Peter Wingert. I am the new Chief of the Paradise Valley Police Department. I am excited to have this opportunity to lead this department into the future using the new technology that the Paradise Valley Town Council has authorized over the past two years.

Wingert photo

Chief Peter Wingert

One of the goals of that technology is to allow us to become more efficient in our duties. As the technology comes online, it will allow us to remain in your neighborhoods in order to write our reports; being more visible to you in our black and white squad cars. If we are more visible to you, we should be more visible to the criminal element, and, therefore provide a deterrent.

The criminal element will not go away with only our visible presence, however. We at the Paradise Valley Police Department need to energize you, our community, to take steps to make your residence more secure from burglars and thieves. We need you to target harden your property.

Giving you tips to target harden your property is the purpose of my column this month.

Target hardening can take many different avenues, and we can assist you with several of them with programs we have in place.

We have a very talented Community Resource Officer, Kevin Albert (kalbert@paradisevalleyaz.gov or 480-348-3597, who happily provides home security checks at your residence on your schedule.

Kevin will walk through your residence with you and take notes about security breaches he sees. At the conclusion of his walk through, he will present you with a comprehensive list of items you can consider in order make your residence less attractive to the criminal element.

Those tips could include something as easy as placing a light in a dark corner outside (with town codes on outside lighting in mind) or placing a cactus or rosebush outside a ground level window (thorns=”Ouch” and blood, which means potential DNA).

Target hardening also takes the form of setting your alarm each time you leave your residence. A monitored alarm system will allow the Paradise Valley Police Officers to respond to your residence very quickly in the event the alarm sounds. Each and every time you leave your residence you should set your alarm and lock your windows and doors.

Target hardening also means locking your vehicle’s doors when it is parked in your driveway with the garage door opener inside. A current trend around the country is for a thief to steal a garage door opener from an unlocked vehicle, return later to open the garage door, and either enter the residence using a connecting door in the garage or stealing a vehicle from the garage.

Other personal property is also stolen from unlocked vehicles on a regular basis. Lock your car’s doors.

Through July of 2015, there have been 45 burglaries in Paradise Valley. Of those 45, over 60 percent of those have involved no force at all, meaning the burglar entered the property through an unlocked door to help themselves to your belongings.

Three burglaries were foiled when the alarm went off. These statistics prove to me that target hardening reduces your chance of being the victim of a burglary or theft.

Harden your targets. Lock you doors, set your alarms, and consider a home security check.

If you have comments, questions or concerns for me, I can be reached at pwingert@paradisevalleyaz.gov

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