“I would think that people are just really busy and it’s not that they don’t think about it – it’s just not on the front burner,” Fradella said. “It’s behind in everybody’s thoughts and we don’t have a lot of crime out here. I don’t think it’s an everyday thought.”
Even after two members came up with fliers and walked neighborhoods to urge residents to get involved, the Spanish Springs watch that covers a large unincorporated area northeast of Sparks is still Aquila’s smallest in number and she doesn’t know why. Four residents attended the meeting at Spanish Springs Library Wednesday evening.
Aquila focused on home invasions Wednesday and ways residents can better secure their homes to prevent easy access through front doors, garages and side doors.
One of the easiest ways criminals can invade the home is by the simple things homeowners aren’t thinking about, such as leaving their garage door open even just by a foot or so, leaving enough room for a small person to slide in and open the door to others or gain access into the house if it’s not locked, Aquila said.
To prevent front door access, one of the oldest and most effective methods, Aquila said, is to nail L-shaped brackets onto 2x4 pieces of wood on either side of the door on the inside and use a longer piece of wood to put across the door’s face. Residents should also consider stronger locks other than the standard sets that the developer usually puts in a house because they are vulnerable and have keys that are easy to duplicate.
“It’s too bad you have to live like you’re in Ft. Knox, but you gotta do what you gotta do to protect yourself,” she said.
Homeowners should also consider better lighting systems on their property to illuminate walkways and the porch, as well as installing an alarm system and even security cameras in a secure, protected box if necessary.
“You can never rely on a chain latch,” she said.
She also suggested using peepholes to screen for any unwanted guests such as solicitors.
The program is teaching local residents to train their eyes for unfamiliar vehicles in their neighborhoods.
“Because of this program, calls for suspicious activity have gone up (at the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office),” Aquila said. “We’re teaching you to be trained observers and how to talk to dispatch. ... Practice it and intensify your subconscious mind by looking for the vehicle (make and model), the direction it’s traveling in, the color, whether it has a camper shell or spoke wheels.”
At the Neighborhood Watch meetings, Aquila regularly reports on recent trends in crimes and how residents can help protect themselves, but always cautions members that they are only to be “the eyes and ears” to help the police and never to pursue a criminal caught in the act.
“Leave that to us,” she said.
Fradella said she feels her area is relatively safe and that the incidents that do happen are more “crimes of opportunity” than trends.
“This is just the beginning,” she said. “I still have a whole lot to read and research.”
Fradella will serve as the Spanish Springs CAB representative and report back to the board at its meeting times.
Fradella said she has set up an e-mail address for anyone to contact her with questions, comments, requests for information or for meeting times. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next meeting takes place on Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. at the Spanish Springs Library.