May 25, 2018

Neighborhood Watch Alert

With the holidays approaching, package delivery will undoubtedly increase. Please be expeditious in retrieving packages that are in the mail boxes as well as those left at your front door. If you are planning a trip out of town, please alert your neighbors so they can keep an eye on things as well as hold packages for you that might be left at your doorstep. Let’s do our best to eliminate opportunities for thieves to take away our holiday parcels.

Help Prevent Mail Theft

A neighbor reported today that a FedEx package that was delivered to her home on Friday was stolen from her front porch at about 6 am on Saturday.  It has been reported to the police and video has been captured.

This is a reminder to all to be vigilant about your delivery services.  Please remember to pick up mail from the mailboxes and packages from your front doors as soon as possible.  Thanks to all for helping to keep our neighborhood safe!

Protecting Your Castle

Neighbors,

“A man’s house is his castle.” -James Otis. As such we should take appropriate precautions to protect it from outsiders. One of the simplest safety measures we should all do is to know our adjoining neighbors. Our neighbors can act as guards and watchmen for our house. Get to know those on either side of you, behind you, and even in front of you. Share your contact information with one another so that in the event that something does arise, you can communicate with your neighbor to let them know.  So even if it’s been one month, one year, or more(!), please make introductions with those around you. 

-Mehul Patel

Mailbox Vandalism

Neighbors,

Mailbox vandalism continues to be a very serious problem in our community.  In the past few months alone, more than 10 instances have occurred of the mailbox and parcel boxes being forcibly opened. The most recent occurrence was on January 5th at the pool mailboxes.

A significant percentage of our neighbors rarely retrieve mail from their mail or parcel boxes. This is a great disservice to your neighbors. If there is no mail to steal, there is no incentive to keep coming back to break into more boxes. Please retrieve your mail regularly and often.

The board has considered running electrical power to each mailbox location and commercial solar powered lighting as solutions to prevent/deter break-ins. However, these are cost prohibitive. The board is currently soliciting low cost ideas for how to keep the mailbox areas well lit and camera security options. Please email your idea to board@scofieldfarms.org. And as always, if you see suspicious activity report to the police immediately.

The following is from our Postal Inspector:

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the law enforcement branch of the U.S. Postal Service, was recently notified of mail theft activity in the Scofield Farms area.  Mail Theft is a federal crime under 18 USC, Section 1708, Theft or Possession of Stolen Mail. If you have been a victim of mail theft or have any information concerning this crime, please contact me at (512) 342-1563.  We also offer the following suggestions to protect your mail.

*Deposit outgoing mail in a blue collection box, at a Post Office, or by handing it directly to your letter carrier.
*Never leave mail in your mailbox overnight-that’s when thieves usually attack.
*If you see suspicious activity around your mailbox, call local police and Postal Inspectors.

If you have a check that was stolen and subsequently forged and cashed, please notify our office as quickly as possible at 512-342-1563.

mailbox

Neighborhood Watch Leader

Hello fellow neighbors!

My name is Mehul Patel, and I am going to be the new Neighborhood Watch Leader. I have been living in Scofield Farms for 3+ years now. I feel like we have a safe neighborhood since there is already a certain level of vigilance we all share. I’d like to ensure that keeps going and try to increase it, especially for those times during the year when we know we are more likely to become targets. I’ll post some ideas that hopefully we can implement in the coming months.

Here’s to another great year!

Mehul

Scofield ROA Security Update

Hello neighbors

Community Website- We have a new website and community discussion forum with regularly updated content. If you have not already done so, please register for the forum. Please visit:  http://www.scofieldfarms.org

The scofieldfarms.org website is the official electronic communication channel from your Residential Owners Association (ROA) to you.

Private security patrol– As most of you know from past communications, the ROA board initiated a pilot project in July 2011 using a security patrol company (ProSecurity) to patrol our neighborhood at varying times through the week. We have just completed reviewing the neighborhood crime statistics from the APD website for the corresponding 6 month periods in 2010 and 2011 and concluded there is little justification to continue this service. Thus we have terminated this contract with the last patrols to take place over the next few weeks.

The ROA Board continues to believe that security in our neighborhood is a major priority.  If you see suspicious behavior in the neighborhood please call 911 immediately!

 

Current ROA security recommendations and initiatives:

1) Secure your home– First and foremost each of us needs to take the initiative to make our own home more secure by taking some or all of the actions recommended below:

a) Activate your alarm system and use it! Pay extra to install glass break sensors near vulnerable areas

b) Keep your garage doors closed

c) If you buy expensive electronics don’t leave the box sitting on the curb to advertise your new purchase

d) Install double-barreled deadbolts so someone can’t break the glass and reach in and unlock the door

e) Replace the small door latch plate screws with 3″ framing screws so your door can’t be easily kicked in

f) Leave 1-2 lights on outside. With highly efficient bulbs and $5 light sensors that screw right into the light socket available there is no reason not to do this
g) Use timers to turn interior lights on and off lights for chosen periods of the day and night
h) Install 2-3 motion sensor flood lights around your home

i) Padlock your fence gates if possible

j) Don’t leave valuables in your car and especially not in plain sight
k) Don’t park your car on the street. Park in your garage if possible or driveway at the very least
l) Lock your car
m) Be alert and don’t ignore suspicious activity

 

2) Security Alerts- The List Server is not adequate to quickly disseminate security related alerts. A group of concerned neighbors researched options and then created Scofield Farms (SF) Instant communicator – Nothing beats having the neighborhood’s eyes looking out for each other and having the ability to instantly send and receive alerts. SF Instant Communicator works by sending and receiving text messages. Please see the following link for more information and how to sign up: http://www.scofieldfarms.org/forum/general-infofrequently-asked-questions-faq/sf-instant-communicator-policy-and-rules/#p37

3) Entrance cameras– The ROA board has initiated a feasibility study to determine the costs and technical/regulatory challenges associated with operation of entrance cameras. Obviously a camera does not stop a crime in progress but may be a major deterrent if criminals perceive a greater risk of being caught.  Clearly we would need good signage to alert the thieves of their increased risk in our neighborhood. One of our residents, Ryan Hoke, has taken the lead for the ROA’s feasibility study.  Individuals interested in helping with this study should contact Ryan at ryanehoke@gmail.com.  Having cameras will not reduce the need for each of us to act on the measures 1 and 2 noted above which are immediate benefit and lot of bang for the buck.

Summary: We must continue our shared responsibilities to maintain a safe and secure neighborhood please: a) secure your home and cars as noted above, b) please immediately report suspicious behavior to 911 and c) please sign up for the instant communicator noted above to receive instant text messages limited to immediate security observations.

Scofield Farms Instant Communicator

Folks,

This is to invite you to try GroupMe, a mechanism to quickly communicate important news to our neighbors.  It is like the email list, but provides a method of instant communication using your SMS enabled phone.  The news could be something like

  • “Suspicious car driving south on Scofield Farms drive”,
  • a fire in the neighborhood,
  • tornado or hurricane news,
  • help me messages that warrant a quick dissemination.
  • Scofield Farms’ neighborhood watch messages.

We are trying this out with an initial group of volunteers.  In a couple of weeks, and depending on feedback from the group, it would be made generally available to whoever would like to be texted instant neighborhood messages.  We’ll make sure that this is used for appropriate messages, and that non-residents are not added to this group.


So if you would like to volunteer to be an early adopter, please use one of the following methods:

1) If you are already a member of the Forum just email the webmaster from the same email account as the one you use for the Forum and indicate that you desire to join SF Instant Communicator. The webmaster will add you to the group and provide you with additional instructions.
2) If you are not a Forum member please consider joining the forum. If you choose to not be a part of the forum please email the webmaster your name, pool card number and either your SMS enabled phone or email address. After verification the webmaster will add you to the group and email you additional instructions.

Here is the email address for the webmaster:
webmaster@scofieldfarms.org

SF Instant Communicator uses GroupMe. Any users, whether sending or receiving text messages with GroupMe, should be aware that standard text messaging rates may apply. Text messaging rates can normally be found by asking your provider.
Thank you, Kevin for suggesting this application. Special thanks to Piyush Mehta and Jerry Sachs for their work in researching and testing this solution.

Paul Maine
Scofield Farms
Webmaster