BY NICK DIAMANTIDES
(Part 2 in a series)
The newly formed Marshall Place-Brayton Avenue neighborhood watch group in Long Beach’s Bixby Heights area attracted more people than expected. Twenty-three people came to the group’s second meeting a little more than a week ago. “This is a good sign,” said Lisa Massacani, police services specialist for the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD). “This shows that the residents are very interested in keeping their homes and their streets safe.”
Massacani reiterated a message often given by law enforcement officials throughout the United States. “The police can’t be everywhere all at once,” she said. “They need the help of citizens who take the time to notice what is going on and are willing to report crimes, suspicious activities and suspicious looking people.”
The meeting lasted a little longer than an hour and focused primarily on home and vehicle security. “A majority of property crimes take place during the day,” Massacani stressed. “That’s when adults are at work and kids are in school.” She explained that most thieves are opportunists who don’t want to have a confrontation, so they look for vacant homes with unlocked doors or windows.
“Anything you do that makes a burglar’s job riskier or more difficult is going to reduce the likelihood of someone breaking into your house and stealing your possessions,” Massacani said. “Keep all doors and windows locked and when you’re not at home, leave a radio on so it sounds like someone is in the house.”
She also encouraged the residents to keep credit card and Social Security cards locked up, to keep records of the serial numbers of all electronic items and when possible to engrave their drivers license numbers on possessions that a burglar might carry away.
“Doing these things will make it harder for the thieves to sell your possessions and easier for us to arrest them and return your possessions to you,” Massacani noted.
Preventing auto burglaries and car thefts is often just a matter of common sense, according to Massacani. “If you have the club, use it. If you have a car alarm or blinking red light that looks like an alarm, use it,” she said. “Don’t leave your keys in the car and don’t leave anything of value, or papers that look like they could contain your personal information in your car.”
Massacani spent 45 minutes talking and answering questions. Then she played a 15-minute video that gave the residents step-by-step instructions on how to make their homes safer.
She explained that following her advice and the advice offered by the video and keeping a vigilant eye on neighbor’s homes would make all houses on the street safer places to live. “The whole backbone of neighborhood watch is getting to know your neighbors and knowing who does not belong in your neighborhood,” she said.
To form a neighborhood watch group in Long Beach, phone (562) 570-7229. In Signal Hill, phone (562) 989-7206.