Duncanville Police: ‘Tis the Season to be Stealing. Stay Alert.

Enjoy the decorations and shopping, but stay alert.

The busiest shopping season is right around the Thanksgiving holiday. It is a time when Scrooges are out to find some great and fantastic deals at your expense. Thefts, as well as Burglary of Motor Vehicles and Auto Thefts, go up due to people lowering their guard during this time of the year. Unfortunately, with so much to do, some tend to leave valuables in their vehicles and forget to lock their cars giving a thief an open invitation to deprive individuals of their hard-earned property. The Duncanville Police Department wants to help you prevent from being a victim by taking the following safety precautions.

How to Ensure a Safer Holiday While Shopping

Always be aware of what is going on around you.

  • Don’t leave packages visible through car windows. Lock them in the trunk, if possible, take them directly home.
  • Never walk alone. Walk with someone or have someone from the store or a security guard walk you out to your vehicle.
  • When carrying your purchases, don’t overburden yourself with packages so that you are not be able to react quickly and easily if you need to.
  • Take only what you need in a purse or wallet and keep a tight hold on it. Carry your purse closed and snugly against your body. Carry your wallet in a front pocket or coat pocket. If possible, use a fanny pack to carry what you need; this keeps you hands free and you can conceal the fanny pack under a jacket out of sight.
  • File receipts in your wallet immediately. Identity thieves can get important personal information from them.
  • Park and walk in well-lighted areas.
  • Lock your car after entering or exiting your vehicle. Visually look inside and around the vehicle before getting in to make sure no one is inside or around your vehicle.
  • Teach your children to go to a security guard or store employees if they get separated from you. Make sure they know your name, not just Mom or Dad, so store management can call you via the intercom system.

While conducting personal or business transactions at a bank or ATM, be aware of “bank jugging.” While the origin of the term is unclear, the method by which this crime occurs is described in detail below.

WHAT IS BANK JUGGING?

  • The term is used to describe suspects who sit in bank parking lots and watch customers go in and out of a bank. The suspects follow the customers they believe are in possession of cash and look for an opportunity to burglarize their vehicles or rob them directly.
  • “Juggers” most frequently target customers carrying bank bags, bank envelopes, and coin boxes.
  • If a customer leaves the bank and does not leave their money unattended in the vehicle, most “Juggers” will go back to the bank to target another banking customer. However, some “Juggers” will confront the customer in an attempt to rob them by taking the money by force.

THINGS TO BE AWARE OF WHEN BANKING:

  • Occupied vehicles backed into parking spaces with clear view of the front doors of the bank, ATM or commercial drive-thru line.
  • Vehicles arriving at the bank with no occupants entering the bank.
  • Vehicles changing parking spaces.
  • Vehicles with dark tinted windows with little or no visibility of the occupants.
  • Vehicles with multiple occupants.

HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF?

  • Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Conceal money before leaving the bank. Never openly carry bank bags, envelopes, or coin boxes.
  • Be aware of anyone following you from the area of a bank.
  • If you suspect you are being targeted, call 911 from your cell phone and keep the dispatcher informed of your location and the direction you are traveling. Drive toward the Sheriff’s Office or Police Station until marked police cars are able to locate you.
  • Do not leave or try to hide your bank bag or bank envelope in your vehicle when you exit at your next destination, even if it’s your residence.

When Shopping Online

  • Beware of “bargains” from companies you are unfamiliar with. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Shop with companies you know. Make sure the site uses a secure connection for purchases.
  • Keep your personal information private and your password secure. Do not respond to requests to “verify” your password or credit card information unless you ask for it. Credible retailers should already have that information!

If you have any questions about Holiday Safety Tips contact Officer Doug Sisk, Duncanville Police Department Community Relations / Crime Prevention Officer at (972) 780-5027 or dsisk@duncanvillepd.com.

Keep Drains Clear this Holiday Season

Remember to collect the grease and oils in a sealable container after cooking this holiday season. Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) come from meats, butters and margarine, lard, food scraps, sauces, salad dressings, dairy products, and cooking oil. When FOG goes down the drain, it hardens and causes sewer pipes to clog. This can lead to a Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) where raw sewage actually backs up into your home, lawn, neighborhood and streets. Not only does this nasty mess cause health issues, it also can run into nearby streams or rivers adversely affecting our drinking water. If your pipes become clogged from putting FOG down the drain, it can be a very expensive problem to fix. To avoid household and environmental damage, as well as costly bills, NEVER put FOGs down the drain! Wipe pans clean with a paper towel and place the paper towel in the trash. Scrape off excess food from pots, pans, and plates into the trash before rinsing them in the sink with cold water.

Did you know? The City of Duncanville provides reusable fat trapper bags and reusable can lids at the Public Works counter at City Hall or at our Service Center located at 330 Shady Trail. Must present proof of residency. Limit 5 bags and 2 lids per household, while supplies last.

To dispose of large quantities of cooking oil, contact Jessica Smith, Solid Waste Coordinator, at 972-780-4946 to find the nearest household hazardous waste collection station.

 

Take Care of Duncanville by Managing Your Leaves this Fall

As autumn brings cooler temperatures, it also signals the arrival of another seasonal display: falling leaves.

While Texans are encouraged to plant shade trees to help lower their utility bills in the summer, these deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall, in abundance.  Instead of raking and bagging them, where they’ll head to a landfill, put them back into your lawns and gardens, as a valuable source of mulch and fertilizer, and an addition to your compost. Leaves contain 50 to 80 percent of the nutrients a plant extracts from the soil and air during the season. Grass clippings, leaves, and other yard debris make up 20 percent of the trash sent to landfills each year. It costs Texans over $250 million a year to collect and dispose of this waste. There are four basic ways in which leaves can be managed and used in the landscape:

  1.  Mowing – a light covering of leaves can be mowed, simply leaving the shredded leaves in place on the lawn. This technique is most effective when a mulching mower is used.
  2.  Mulching –a lawn mower with a bagging attachment provides a fast and easy way to shred and collect the leaves. Apply a three to four inch layer of shredded leaves around the base of trees and shrubs. A two to three inch mulch of shredded leaves is ideal for flower beds. For vegetable gardens, a thick layer of leaves placed between the rows functions as a mulch and an all-weather walkway that will allow you to work in your garden during wet periods.
  3. Composting – in addition to leaves, other yard wastes such as grass clippings, pine needles, weeds, and small prunings can be composted. Compost can serve as a soil conditioner that nourishes your yard and reduces the need for outdoor watering up to 60 percent.
  4. Soil Improvement – leaves may be collected and worked directly into garden and flower bed soils. A six to eight inch layer of leaves tilled into a heavy, clay soil will improve aeration and drainage. The same amount tilled into a light, sandy soil, will improve water and nutrient holding capacity. For more tips to keep our air and water clean, conserve water and energy, and reduce waste, visit TakeCareOfTexas.org. While you’re there, pledge to Take Care of Texas, and we’ll say thanks by mailing you a free Texas State Park Guide.

Which Duncanville Fieldhouse Logo is Your Favorite? Let Us Know!

The City of Duncanville is committed to promoting the Duncanville Fieldhouse and strengthening its brand in the sporting and events market. The Duncanville Fieldhouse is in the process of creating a new exciting logo to aid in this process and we would appreciate your input! The logo will be used in all marketing and advertising efforts of the event center. The unveiling of the selected logo will take place in the next few months.

Please click here to take the Survey

Exchange Zone Spaces Now Available at the Duncanville Police Station

exchange-zone-signWith the increasing ability to make purchases online, the Duncanville Police Department is now offering the public two designated parking spaces in front of the Duncanville Police Station (203 E. Wheatland Rd) to complete transactions. The “Exchange Zone” spaces are well-lit and under 24-hour surveillance, giving residents and commuters a safe place to purchase or exchange property from online sale sites such as Craigslist, Offer Up, 5 Miles, and Facebook. “It is important to remember that the people you meet online are strangers and can pose dangers,” said Duncanville Chief of Police Robert Brown. “Not every buyer or seller you meet online is someone who is true with their intent. Unfortunately, there are certain individuals that capitalize upon the inexperience of others. Our goal is to reduce victimization by online predators, and provide a safe and monitored place to conduct these types of transactions.” In addition to online purchase exchanges, the Department also invites blended families to utilize the Exchange Zone for child custody arrangements. For more information, contact the Duncanville Police Crime Prevention Office at 972-780-5027.

Infrastructure Improvements Underway

Your Public Works Department has been busy with infrastructure improvements throughout the city. Many of these projects are currently under construction or have recently been completed such the erosion control improvement project at Lions Park. The existing retaining walls along Horne Branch were lengthened approximately 200 feet to prevent further erosion along the south bank at a cost of approximately $119,528.00.

The FY2016 Water/Wastewater Improvements Project along Roma Drive between Greenstone Lane and West Ridge Drive is almost complete. This project includes the construction of approximately 2,100 linear feet of 8 inch water line and 2,100 linear feet of 10 inch and 8 inch wastewater line, the placement of 730 tons of asphalt pavement, and 1,500 square yards of reinforced concrete pavement. This project is budgeted at $956,848.00 but is anticipated to be completed at a significantly reduced cost. Approximately 50% complete are the FY2016 Wastewater Improvements and Sidewalk Improvements Projects. The wastewater improvements project will install 8,100 linear feet of sanitary sewer by pipe bursting at a cost of approximately $1,229,738.00. The sidewalk improvements project will provide new sidewalks, ADA compliant ramps, and a new hike and bike trail through Lakeside Park from Mizell to Center Streets at a cost of $356,215.00.

 

Town Hall Meeting Scheduled to Discuss Proposed TIF

A Town Hall meeting has been scheduled for next Thursday, October 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the D.L. Hopkins Jr. Senior Activity Center to discuss a proposed Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Reinvestment Zone for the Camp Wisdom Road / North Duncanville Road / N. Main Street area. The meeting will include a presentation discussing the purpose and structure of a TIF, including examples of TIF projects in other communities. A Q & A will follow the presentation and City Council will listen to the public comment on this topic.  For more information, contact the Duncanville Economic Development Department at 972-780-5090.

Keeping Up with the City’s Infrastructure

The Wastewater Department began its Annual Manhole Rehabilitation program again this fall. Aging sewer manholes throughout the city made from brick, concrete, fiberglass, or a combination of the three, need attention. Manholes suffer cracks, breaks or separations caused by age, ground shifting, and excessive weight from traffic, allowing groundwater to enter the sewer system. This equates to lost money and an inefficient system.

In 2004, the Wastewater Department started using information obtained from sanitary sewer surveys to attack leaking and failing manholes. A yearly program was implemented to identify failing structures so they could be rehabilitated by spray lining. These photos show manholes treated with spray lining.

The city currently budgets $65,000 annually to rehabilitate these failing structures, equating to approximately 30 to 50 manholes each year. Spray lining is a cost-effective, non-intrusive way of saving our sewer infrastructure. The products used provide a long-lasting, leak-free barrier. Our goal is to provide money saving efforts in keeping our infrastructure up-to-date and maintained. The Wastewater Department also tries to keep up with changing technology to cause the least amount of service disruption and give the longest life possible out of our system.

 

City Celebrates Arbor Day with Free Tree Giveaway

Arbor Day is celebrated in Texas on the first Friday in November. In celebration of 14 years as a Tree City USA community, the City will be giving away free yearling trees at the Recreation Center parking lot on November 4, 2016 on a first come, first serve basis beginning at 8am. Limit is 2 per person.

Fall and winter are ideal tree-planting times as it gives roots a chance to settle in during the cooler months. Trees get a jump on the next growing season and are better equipped for the summer’s heat. This involves smart planting, plant trees you know you can water and maintain. This is an opportunity to plant drought-tolerant natives in your lawn or garden. Just remember, these future water-savers need some moisture while they establish. It’s especially important to keep an eye on them the first two years.

But dare we grab the shovel, given our drought conditions? Yes, if you can water properly, experts say. This is not as daunting as it may sound. All agree that a few gallons a week will keep a newly planted tree’s root ball moist. Although Duncanville homeowners are not currently under any stage of the water restrictions other communities are facing, a homeowner would find that even Stage 1 or 2 restrictions are more than adequate to keep one or two newly planted trees healthy and vigorous when watered correctly. According to the Texas Forest Service, a newly planted tree should be watered three times a week, depending on rain and drainage. With each watering, apply 5 gallons per inch of trunk diameter. For example, a tree with a 1-inch diameter trunk would get 5 gallons three times a week or 15 gallons a week. Weather and seasonal conditions should be considered as well in this equation.

Select trees that will adapt to the sunlight and soil conditions around your home. Consider the tree’s mature height and width so you can plant a safe distance from your home and utility lines. A shade tree that matures to 25 or more feet should be planted at least 20 feet from your home and utility lines. A tree that matures to 20 or less feet should be spaced at least 10 feet from the house and at least 5 feet from lines.

Following are some helpful tips to properly plant your new tree.

TREE PLANTING TIPStree-planting

 

Dig a hole two to three times wider than the root ball and slightly shallower. The tree should be planted at or slightly above the original soil level. This is especially important in heavy clay soils to aid drainage.

Cut any circling roots along the outer edge of the root ball with pruning shears.

Pick the tree up from the bottom, not by the trunk, and place it in the hole. Hold while backfilling around the root ball with original soil from the hole. Tamp the soil lightly to eliminate air pockets. Break apart large clods before backfilling.

Remove any grass or weeds within a 3-foot-diameter circle around the tree and create a watering saucer.

Cover this bare area with 3 inches of mulch. Don’t pile mulch against the trunk.

Adequate water is essential at planting time. Place a hose at the base of the tree and allow water to slowly trickle until the soil is saturated.

 

 

 

Take Care of Duncanville by Managing Your Leaves this Fall

As autumn brings the start of the school year, football games, and cooler temperatures, it also signals the arrival falling leaves.
While Texans are encouraged to plant shade trees to help lower their utility bills in the summer, these deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall, in abundance. Instead of raking and bagging them, where they’ll head to a landfill, put them back into your lawns and gardens, as a valuable source of mulch and fertilizer, and an addition to your compost.

Leaves contain 50 to 80 percent of the nutrients a plant extracts from the soil and air during the season. Grass clippings, leaves, and other yard debris make up 20 percent of the trash sent to landfills each year. It costs Texans over $250 million a year to collect and dispose of this waste.

There are four basic ways in which leaves can be managed and used in the landscape:
1. Mowing – a light covering of leaves can be mowed, simply leaving the shredded leaves in place on the lawn. This technique is most effective when a mulching mower is used.
2. Mulching –a lawn mower with a bagging attachment provides a fast and easy way to shred and collect the leaves. Apply a three to four inch layer of shredded leaves around the base of trees and shrubs. A two to three inch mulch of shredded leaves is ideal for flower beds. For vegetable gardens, a thick layer of leaves placed between the rows functions as a mulch and an all-weather walkway that will allow you to work in your garden during wet periods.
3. Composting – in addition to leaves, other yard wastes such as grass clippings, pine needles, weeds, and small prunings can be composted. Compost can serve as a soil conditioner that nourishes your yard and reduces the need for outdoor watering up to 60 percent.
4. Soil Improvement – leaves may be collected and worked directly into garden and flower bed soils. A six to eight inch layer of leaves tilled into a heavy, clay soil will improve aeration and drainage. The same amount tilled into a light, sandy soil, will improve water and nutrient holding capacity.

For more tips to keep our air and water clean, conserve water and energy, and reduce waste, visit TakeCareOfTexas.org. While you’re there, pledge to Take Care of Texas, and we’ll say thanks by mailing you a free Texas State Park Guide.