Shenandoah PD holds first AOR workshop

Asst. Chief Barry Gresham answers a question with Sgt. Joel Gordon.

SHENANDOAH, TX  (May 10, 2017) -  On May 9 the Shenandoah Police Department held their first community workshop on home safety and security, part of their emhamcement to their AOR program.

At the April Shenandoah Town Hall Meeting, Police Chief Raymond Shaw spoke to attendees about the Shenandoah Police Department’s Areas of Responsibility or AOR program. Shaw said the purpose of the program was to enhance awareness and understanding of community issues.

“We plan to bring presentations to the community on topics that can make your life safer and better in our community,” he said. “Topics will cover subjects such as home safety and security, identity theft, personal safety and vehicle safety. We hope to hold four of these before the end of the year.”

Sergeant Joel Gordon was the main presenter of the night’s program entitled “Safe at Home in Your Own Neighborhood.” Over 50 residents were in attendance for the presentation and question-and-answer period following. Attendees had the opportunity to view video presentations on some of the home safety points as well as see some of the safety enhancement items available at local hardware stores.

“Opportunity is the most important thing to a burglar,” Gordon told the crowd. “Knowledge of that is the key to you home safety and security.”

Gordon discussed the common “why me?” feelings that victims often have following a home burglary. He pointed out that there are always things that can be done to lessen the chance of making the burglar’s list as well as things that can almost guarantee to place you at the top of the list. The decision is the resident’s to make.

While Gordon, Chief Shaw and Asst. Chief Barry Gresham openly discussed a number of things residents could do to tighten the security of their homes, they were not open to the posting of the workshop on social media.

“Burglars are always active, and they do social media too,” said Gordon. “We too often post too much information on social media which may increase our chances of becoming a target. We don’t want to make it easier for the bad guys by posting what we are telling you to do to strengthen your home security/ But we will be glad to set up a personal visit to your home or those of your friends and families and share this information with them.”

The personal visits are a favorite part of Gordon’s job. “I get to be the bad guy.  I get to come to your house and look at your house from the mindset of a burglar and help you to ‘target harden.’ We want to make it harder for everyone to get in even though that sometimes means making it harder for people to get out.”

Another important aspect of home safety and security is simply the neighborhood itself, which Gordon calls the “eyes and ears of the police department.”  

“No one knows your neighborhood better than you and your neighbors,” he said. “You know who you see on a regular basis in your neighborhood; you know the cars you normally see; you know the people you usually see. You are the best neighborhood watch we could have even if not an organized group.”

The officers reminded residents that suspicious behavior in a neighborhood warranted a call to the police department non-emergency line at 281-367-8952.  “If someone is driving slow and really looking at houses, if someone is driving down the street at night without lights,  if someone is running down the street and they aren’t out for a jog, those kind of things are unusual and deserve a call,” he said. ”Tell us what they are doing and give us details… things that are unusual like logos on caps, bumper stickers on cars, the family of 8 Star Wars characters on the back glass. Give us the unusual.”

“You are not bothering us… please call in if you see something that doesn’t make sense to you neighborhood. Most criminals are caught by the tenacity of the neighbors and stupid dumb luck.”

The next workshop will be July 9 at 7 pm on the topic of Identity Theft.

Photo: Asst. Chief Barry Gresham answers a question with Sgt. Joel Gordon.

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