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The theme of the first Topanga Area Town Hall meeting was "Harden the Target, Soften the Blow". What this simply means is take precautionary measures to adequately protect yourself, your family and your property. If you take every precautionary measure possible then you reduce your chances of falling victim to a crime. If you still fall victim to a criminal act then the measures you have taken will greatly reduce the losses as a result of that crime.
Residential Burglaries are still the largest number of crimes occurring in the West Hills Community. As the Senior Lead Officer for West Hills, I have reviewed all of the burglary reports that have occurred over the past six months and have noticed an alarming trend. Below is a small list of things you can do to "Harden your target".
#1 LOCK YOUR DOORS: A lot of crimes that occur are crimes of opportunity. A door to door salesman, a gardener passing out business cards or a restaurant employee giving out menus walks throughout the neighborhood knocking on multiple doors. Who is to say that they don't try the handle on a few and if unlocked take the opportunity to relieve you of some jewelry. These are not criminal masterminds or career burglars but criminal opportunists and your property is just as gone.
#2 LOCK ALL OF YOUR WINDOWS: It does no good to lock your doors and the majority of your windows only to leave a small bathroom window open to let in air. Just because you may not be able to fit through the window does not mean that someone else won't.
#3 EQUIP UPSTAIRS WINDOWS WITH ALARMS: A lot of victims had no alarm system for the upstairs windows. "Laddermen, Second Story Crews" etc are some of the names we have given to guys who break in through upstairs windows in order to bypass alarm systems.
#4 JOIN A NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH GROUP: It really stands that if everyone in a particular neighborhood knew each other and looked out for each other then criminals would have no place to operate. Neighborhoods with a strong Watch group who report suspicious activity to the Police see a reduction in crime.
In 2009, Topanga Area has seen a significant reduction in crime. With the communities help we can keep that trend going into 2010, sending the message that we will not tolerate criminal acts in our communities.

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