Palo Alto Police Provide Safety Tips & Reminders – City of Palo Alto, CA | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

Published on October 12, 2023

The following update shares actions residents can take year-round to support community safety, including crime prevention tips that will help secure your home.

The Palo Alto Police Department notes that while Palo Alto remains a very safe city, property crimes historically are always the most common. Property crimes include residential burglaries and auto burglaries where a suspect will break into your unoccupied home or parked car to steal your belongings.

Keep in mind – residential burglary is a crime of opportunity. The following tips help reduce that opportunity, prevent residential burglary, and keep your home more secure.

Top three takeaways for community safety

  1. Always lock your doors, whether you are home or not.
  2. Be alert to what is going on in your neighborhood.
  3. If you see something, say something. If you see suspicious activity, promptly call the Palo Alto Police Department 24-hour dispatch center at (650) 329-2413 or 9-1-1 if it is an emergency.

Home Security Recommendations

These reminders can help prevent crime and support home safety.

Doors & Windows: Opt for doors made of solid wood or metal, as these materials offer increased resistance to forced entry. Installing hinges on the inside of your doors can prevent potential intruders from tampering with them, as they won’t be easily accessible from the outside. A single-cylinder deadbolt with a minimum 1-inch bolt provides a strong barrier against unauthorized access. Make sure the strike plate, which the deadbolt enters, is of high-quality and is designed for security purposes. Ensure that each window has a working locking mechanism in place.

Gates, Lights, Landscaping: A sturdy steel padlock and hasp helps to ensure gates remain locked at all times. Illumination plays a crucial role in security as well, so make sure all entryways are well-lit, including backyard areas. Motion-activated lighting around the perimeter of your home can deter potential intruders and alert you to any unusual activity. Additionally, maintain clear visibility by trimming back landscaping around doors and windows.

Alarms & Security Cameras: Consider installing a home alarm system, or, if a home alarm system is unaffordable, put alarm system signs in your yard and alarm system stickers on your windows – burglars won’t know if you actually have an alarm or not. If you choose to install an alarm at your home or business, you will need to register that alarm with the Police Department and obtain an alarm permit to operate it. For more information, visit the Alarm Permits page. In addition, consider installing security cameras at your home. There are many affordable options these days, and installation can be as simple as screwing a battery-powered camera into a wall and connecting it to your home WiFi.  No matter what option you choose, ensure that you are able to download and share video footage easily in the event you want to provide it to law enforcement.

Safe Storage of Firearms: The Palo Alto Municipal Code requires the safe storage of firearms.  Except when carried on the person, no person shall keep a firearm in any residence unless the firearm is stored in a locked container or is disabled with a trigger lock.  View the law here. This fall, Palo Alto Unified School District and PTAs have been using the Be Smart for Kids framework. For details, check out their website here.

Doors, Locks & Windows

These simple steps can reduce unauthorized access to your home.

  • Always lock your doors, whether you are home or not. Remember to lock your car doors, too.
  • Install a wide-angle (180-degree) viewer in your front door.
  • Never hide a spare key outside. Instead, keep it with a trusted neighbor.
  • Change the locks when moving into a new residence.
  • If you come home to discover your home burglarized, do not enter and call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Close and lock windows when not in use, and anytime you leave your home.
  • Close blinds and curtains after dark.
  • Secure sliding patio doors and ground-floor windows with a piece of wood (dowel) in the track.
  • Auxiliary locking devices can be used for added security.

Crime Prevention through Home Environmental Design

Use landscaping to support home safety.

  • Use landscaping to provide maximum visibility to and from the house. Route visitors by means of fences, walkways, and shrubs.
  • Plant thorny bushes around windows to make illegal entry more difficult; do not block fire escapes.
  • Trim shrubs, vines, and trees that could conceal a criminal.
  • Cut back large tree limbs that may allow burglars to climb into upstairs windows.

Find more home and vehicle safety reminders here.

Additional Online Resources

The Palo Alto Police Department provides a variety of online safety tips and resources related to personal safety, home and vehicle safety, and much more. 

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