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The Brea Police Department recently held a public meeting at the Curtis Theater to discuss home security and a series of recent burglaries, especially at the exclusive Blackstone homes north of Lambert Road.

The theater was crowded, mostly by Blackstone residents concerned about break-ins and home invasions in their area. The meeting was chaired by Capt. Phil Rodriguez of Auxiliary Services, who said there were groups that preyed on certain areas, not just in Brea, but throughout Southern California.

Capt. Dave Dickenson said the department is working with other county law enforcement and federal prosecutors, but they can’t release much information other than arrests. And that is not all.

Residents at the meeting and several people speaking during the “Questions from the Floor” at the June 7 City Council meeting wanted to know how many officers were patrolling their area. Captain Dickenson said the department has stepped up patrols in the area with additional officers.

He urged neighbors to get to know each other better, what vehicles they drive and those who frequent their homes, such as gardeners, housekeepers and in-laws.

We were told that neighbors who know each other and look out for each other create safe neighborhoods that scammers avoid. Check the Community Watch on the PD website.

People should report strange people, situations, and vehicles in their area. If this seems unusual, call the police at the emergency number: 714-990-7911 and they will check everything. If you suspect a crime is about to be committed or is being committed, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Often people call a spouse or friend before calling 9-1-1, delaying the arrival of officers. Wait for your coffee at Starbucks instead of calling 9-1-1.

Perhaps Blackstone should be gated, which is what most of its inhabitants seem to want. But according to city manager Bill Gallardo, this cannot be because Blackstone’s streets are public streets and cannot be converted to private streets.

Also, from Brea Attorney Terence Bogue: “State law and long-standing state court decisions make it impossible to fencing a public street.” In 1987, the State Legislature passed Sec. 21101.6 to prevent cities from closing public streets.

For many years, the cities and HOA tried to challenge the law in court, but to no avail. In 1994, the Court of Appeals ordered the Los Angeles HOA to remove the gate it had installed on a public street.

There are several gated communities in Brea. La Floresta has two. They were allowed and legal because the developments were designed as gated communities with only private streets. These homeowners are responsible for their streets, sidewalks, street lighting, and fire hydrants, as well as maintenance, upkeep, and replacement.

But Blackstone residents are becoming more active.

Their HOA installed six Flock security cameras. This is really cool because these are automatic license plate readers. “Several HOAs in Brea own Flock cameras,” Brea Lieutenant Chris Harvey said. And the Police Department has access to data collected by those in the Blackstone area. Their HOA also has security, like some residents.

Other security offerings from the police include deadbolts for front doors and locking of all windows, interior garage doors, sliders, and gates. Officers also recommend removing ladders, tools, bricks, and large stones from the yard that could be used for hacking.

Do not post travel plans on social media; call the police to get vacation checks when you leave. Be safe.

Terry Daxon is a freelance writer and owner of Daxon Marketing Communications. Twice a month, she shares her perspective on Brea’s problems. Contact her at [email protected]

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