Friday, May 17, 2013

Dunwoody Neighborhood Watch Update

Good Morning Neighborhood Watch,

Tuesday night we had a meeting of the Neighborhood Watch Coordinators.  We had a great turnout and it was a pleasure meeting everyone and putting a face to a name.  The Dunwoody Police Department is fortunate to have such an engaged and involved community of volunteers that are motivated to make this the best city around.  We appreciate your time and commitment to Neighborhood Watch and crime prevention.

For those who were unable to attend I have linked theagenda from our meeting as well as a summary from Rich Lapin (NWC Chestnut Forest).  Mr. Lapin did a great summary and explained the topics thoroughly.  Please see summary below.

“1. Crime Trends in Dunwoody: Part 1 Crime (murder, rape, etc.) was down 15% through April 2013 vs. a similar period last year.  In overview terms there are about 50 staff with Dunwoody PD who police  many neighborhoods, about 68 of which are on the neighborhood watch program.  They also are responsible for the safety of 47,000 people in our city.  As information, when you exclude DUI and traffic arrests from their totals, about 70% of crime is committed by peoplewho do not live here.  Lesson: we need to be vigilant about people who come here, aren’t familiar by sight to us, and act suspiciously.  More below.

Two issues merited comment:
    a) Solicitors: commercial solicitors are required to have City of Dunwoody licenses; religious groups are exempt.  Beware of unknown people coming through the neighborhood seeking to do work. Call 911.
    b) Tree cutting scam: we’ve already covered this but this effort involves a team where someone comes to your door and offers to do an estimate on tree work.  You walk with them, leave your door open or unlocked. One of their accomplices sneaks into your house to collect easy targets – electronics like computers, iPads, etc. Lesson: If you didn’t call them, don’t talk to them.  If they persist, call 911.

    Comment: People may be reluctant to call 911, please don't be!!  Both Chief Grogan and Officer Fecht were very open in the questions that came up.  They both echoed the same theme: you or I are not “bothering” them.  That’s why they’re there and they would rather respond to calls that aren’t serious knowing that in time, they will encounter a situation that required an officer. Both Chief and Officer Fecht encourage us to call. The worst thing that they can hear is a report about something a civilian like us saw and didn’t say anything until the next day.  Timing is everything on tips to them.

2. Increase watch participation: If you learn that a neighbor is not on our watch distribution, please have them contact me with their email address.  We’d like to have 100% participation with everyone who has a computer. We’re getting close to that.

3. Lock, take, hide: Chief encouraged everyone to lock his/her car on leaving, remove anything of value (purse, laptop, iPad), or hide anything that you can’t remove. The whole idea is to make your parked car less of a target than someone else’s in another neighborhood.  This is true even when you park your car in a carport or garage.  Also, keep the doors to your home locked when you leave – and when you’re home.

4.  End of school year tips now that kids will be at home during the day:
  • Answer the door if someone knocks or rings the bell. Answer through the door without opening.  Be loud when you do.  These tips apply for kids, too.  They can say “My mom (or dad) can’t come to the door and I’ve got to take care of my pet pit bull. Down, boy! Come back later.”  Your home went from being a target to too much work for the bad guy(s). They will leave.
  • Have kids play outside with other kids within a block of their houses.  There is safety in numbers.
  • Have your kids give you a periodic check in call.  Pick a pattern that works for you.  If in doubt, use the Dr. Pepper rule: 10, 2, and 4.
  • Teach kids to be aware of their surroundings.  If they are frightened about an external threat and alone, have them call 911.
5. Miscellaneous topics covered:
  • Suspicious cars in the neighborhood: tips to look for are these: if there are multiple people in a car and they are more focused on you, call 911. If they are moving slowly and somewhat methodically through the neighborhood without stopping or getting out of the car, call 911.  If they pull into a driveway and don’t get out of the car, call 911.  The best rule of thumb is if you are suspicious, call 911.
  • Vacation watch: The Dunwoody Police Department has a new system called Interactive Defense that allows you to enter and maintain your home watches and receive email and/or text message updates as your home is able to be checked. Simply go to and click on "Not Registered? Click Here" in the upper right corner. Once you register you can go to the "Safety Center" tab and click on "Request a Home Watch" on the right of the screen. The Home Watch will directly link to the Dunwoody Police Officers who are on patrol.  The police departments website is:
  • Bad weather alert: Chief said that there are a number of services available through the Dunwoody Alert program. More info is available online at:
  • Alarm ordinance: This resulted from 4000 false alarms last year, 90% of which were human error.  The ordinance goes into effect on July 1.  They key elements are that owners will be able to register their alarm on the website.  The electronic portal for this service is still being put together. If you have an alarm, you are required to register it.  Noncompliance draws a $100 fine.  Each alarm owner will be allowed up to 2 false alarm calls in a year. If there is a third one, there is a $50.  In short, the system is designed to make people who create the problem and abuse the system, “pay” for their shortcomings on fine basis. More information coming soon!
6. Just Yell Fire: A watch coordinator in Wren’s Cross advised that there is a nationally recognized program designed for girls/ young women ages 11 to 19 to avoid situations where they could be victims of a sexual assault. It is scheduled for June 4 at 6:30 PM. More information on the session ($50 per girl, $35 for each additional sibling) is available from Jane Burdette at 404-557-5628,  For background on the program itself, visit, an organization based in Vancouver, Washington.  The previous info is just background that I’m sharing, not an endorsement as I was not familiar with the program until this evening. If it’s not age relevant for your household, feel free to share it with others.  Note that class size is limited.”

Remember that there are multiple ways to connect to Dunwoody Police, please consider following us on:

If there are any questions please feel free to email or call me.

Thank you,

Officer Tim Fecht
Community Outreach
Public Information Officer
Dunwoody Police Department                           
41 Perimeter Center East, Ste. 100
Dunwoody, Ga 30346
Office: 678.382.6917

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