May 2015 News
Certified Mail Administrative Cost Policy
Effective March 16, 2015 Sonoma Ranch Homeowner’s Association adopted and filed a Certified Mail Administrative Cost Policy. Details of this policy are located under the Community Documents tab.
There appears to be an increased number of dogs being allowed to roam free in the community. There have been several reports to C.I.A. Services recently of a pack of dogs that have been sighted behind the pool in the drainage area. A report has been filed with Harris County Animal Control regarding this issue. Harris County does have a leash law which states all dogs and cats must be kept on a leash when not contained to a residence or enclosed yard. If you wish to report loose/stray animals in your neighborhood, please call Harris County Animal Control at 281-999-3191. You will need to provide your name, location address near where animals are sighted, and a general description of the animal(s). An animal control officer can then be dispatched to patrol that area and attempt to contain the animals. It is recommended that you not attempt to approach loose/stray animals, as they may be aggressive and/or dangerous.
Let’s Work Together to Help Prevent Residential Burglaries
If you are locked out of your home, can you still get in? Is there an unlocked window in the back or an extra key hidden under a flowerpot or ledge? If you can break in, so can a burglar. A small investment of time and money can make your home more secure and can reduce your chances of being a victim of burglary or assault.
A great place to start is to get to know your neighbors. Watchful neighbors, who will look out for you as well as themselves, are a front line of defense against crime. If something is out of place or there are suspicious persons or vehicles in the neighborhood, take time to report this to law enforcement. It is a good idea to keep the Harris County Sheriffs Office non-emergency phone number close to your phone or programmed into your cell phone. For non-emergency incidents, call 713-221-6000.
In almost half of all residential burglaries, thieves walk in through an unlocked door or crawl in through an unlocked window. The following tips can help make your home more secure.
Check the doors and windows.
- Make sure every external door has a deadbolt. Doors with glass within 40” should have a double-keyed deadbolt installed.
- Secure sliding doors with a secondary locking device, a commercial locking device or a broomstick or wooden dowel. Windows should also be secured with a secondary locking devise or wooden dowel, which can be purchased at the local hardware store.
- All exterior doors should be solid wood or metal.
- Hinges for exterior doors should be on the inside.
- Install a peephole or wide-angle viewer in all entry doors, so that you can see who is outside before opening the door.
- Do not hide keys outside your home. Give an extra key to a neighbor you trust.
Check the outside of your home.
- Prune back shrubbery that hides windows and doors. Cut back tree limbs that could allow a thief access to a window or the roof.
- Keep ladders, tools, yard equipment inside your locked garage or storage shed.
- Clearly display your house numbers for police and other emergency vehicles.
- Garage doors should be closed and secured by a locking device whenever possible.
Invest in Lighting
- Lighting is one of the most cost-effective deterrents to burglary
- Light porches, entrances, and yard – front and back. Consider timers or motion detectors for outside lighting. Place lighting so that bulbs cannot easily be removed.
- Aim motion detectors away from the house so that lights activate when someone approaches.
- Install landscape lighting.
- Put lights and a radio on a timer to create the illusion of some one being home when you are away.
Vehicles should be locked and secured when not in use. Visible enticements should be eliminated.
- Park vehicles in a well lit area.
- If possible, never leave valuables in your vehicle. If valuables are left, keep them out of sight.
- Secure vehicle with an auto alarm if possible.
- Avoid leaving keys in a vehicle or leaving a vehicle running while unattended.
It is also a good idea to keep a home inventory of items and serial numbers of your belongings. Take pictures or videos of valuable items and serial numbers. If you home is burglarized, this can help identify stolen items and make insurance claims easier to file. If you have any questions concerning residential burglaries or would like to have a deputy come out and speak to your group, call the Harris County Sheriffs Office Community Services Division at 713-759-9454.
Pick Up After Your Pet
Why Scoop the Poop?
Besides being a nuisance, uncollected dog waste is a serious problem for our association. Next time you’re tempted to leave your dog’s droppings on the lawn, please remember these facts:
1. The Environmental Protection Agency is becoming aggressive about enforcing the Clean Water Act. Our association could be fined if dog waste goes uncollected.
2. Uncollected dog waste may lead to a special assessment. If fined by the EPA, the association could face a potential special assessment that would be levied against all members—not just dog owners.
3. The appearance and quality of the common areas are known to affect home sales—not just whether and for how much they sell, but how quickly.
4. The more residents complain about dog waste, the more time the manager must spend on enforcement rather than serving the association.
5. Uncollected dog waste spreads disease and attracts rodents who feed on pet waste.
HCSO Graffiti Abatement Program
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office Graffiti Abatement Program is designed to remove unwanted graffiti markings from the communities within Harris County. The graffiti is often perpetrated by gang members who want to mark their territory or send a message to another gang.
The HCSO’s Graffiti Abatement Program is a FREE service for all citizens and businesses in the unincorporated areas of Harris County. It aids the community by reducing or eliminating this type of criminal mischief through our abatements, and thus making each neighborhood or business safer and aesthetically pleasing for the citizens of Harris County.
For more information, please contact the HCSO’s Community Services Division at 713-759-9454.
Visit Harris County Sheriff’s Office website for more information.