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Crime Prevention

Seasonal Safety Tips

What You Can Do About Bike TheftTigard Police bike patrol

“When it’s inconvenient and takes time to steal your property, you’re less vulnerable to theft. The longer it takes, the more likely a thief will move on,” says Officer Brian Orth, a member of Tigard Police’s bike patrol team. This advice is useful for preventing bike theft, a crime that rises dramatically during warm-weather months.

In summer, Tigard Police respond to a significant number of thefts involving unlocked bicycles taken from the sides of homes, porches, open garages, or public places. Recently Officer Orth stopped a man who admitted to “borrowing” the bike he was riding after he found it unlocked and parked at the library. Fortunately, Orth was able to intervene and return it to the owner.

Any lock will help, but quality matters. Bike thieves are crafty and can defeat locks that are easily cut, picked, or pried open. Some of the basic prevention tips include:  

  • Choosing sturdy locks such as a U-lock; cable locks shouldn’t be used as a primary lock.
  • Securing your bike to a strong, firmly rooted rack or fixture meant for bikes. 
  • Locking your bike tires to the frame and bike rack.
  • Taking all removable parts, including the seat, with you or locking them up.
  • Parking your bike in a well-lit and visible location where there is a lot of foot traffic.
  • Documenting your serial number to improve the chances of recovery if stolen.

The best way to recover a stolen bicycle is to file a police report, providing accompanying photos and serial numbers for the vehicle. “If you flip the bike over, the serial numbers are on the crank shaft area. Take a picture of it or write it down,” says Orth. If you don’t have a serial number, unique features, such as stickers, handlebars, custom parts, or scratches, can help the police identify your bicycle if it’s recovered.

Some bikers sign up with private bike registration companies to keep their serial numbers and photos on file in case they are needed. Two companies that serve our area:

If a bike is stolen, the registries broadcast the information over their networks. Users can also input a serial number to verify whether a bike is stolen, which has led to some recoveries by community members.

Officer Orth recently took a report from a resident whose bike was stolen out of an open garage. Because the victim provided his serial number for the police report, the information was timely entered into a regional and national law enforcement database. A pawnshop entered the serial number into a database that alerted the police that someone was attempting to pawn the stolen bike. Ultimately, the victim got his bike back!

Officer Orth values crime prevention and encourages neighbors to be mindful of locking up bikes, tools, doors, and windows this summer. He also asks neighbors to look out for each other. Where possible—in between calls to 9-1-1 and the non-emergency number—he tries to proactively patrol neighborhoods to keep a watch out as well.

Officer Orth is a 13-year veteran of Tigard Police who started his career as a Reserve Officer. He has served on the bike patrol team for nine years and prefers biking over driving when he’s off the clock whenever possible. He is regular participant in Sunday Parkways events.


Theft Prevention this Summer
Shed with bikesThefts from yards, garages, and balconies tend to increase this time of year.

When gardening and working outside, neighbors may leave garages open and tools and other items out and unattended while taking breaks or working in the backyard. Thieves may not be targeting a residence in particular, but steal things that can be easily taken when no one is around.

We encourage you to do what you can to reduce vulnerabilities this summer where possible. If you are unable to monitor an area, please:

  • Close and lock garage and front doors, sheds, and gates. We occasionally hear about thieves entering unlocked side doors through garages and stealing purses, wallets, and phones stored near entryways.
  • Secure open windows with track or other secondary locks.
  • Lock up ladders and other items that can be used to reach vulnerable windows and access points.
  • Secure tools, equipment, and bicycles. Many bicycles are stolen from open garages, balconies, sides of homes, and sheds that have minimal security. Tools can be used to pry open doors and windows. 
  • Secure air conditioner units on accessible windows. 
  • Look out for your neighbors. Let them know if they leave equipment out or forget to close their garage door. Inform trusted neighbors about your vacation so they can watch your home while you are gone.
  • If you observe suspicious activity, call:
    • 9-1-1 for immediate threats to life or property, crimes in progress. 
    • 503-629-0111, the police non-emergency number for Washington County, for suspicious activity that is not an immediate threat. 

Please take a few precautions this season to reduce vulnerabilities to crime. 

Home Security During Vacation
If you’re travelling during spring break or summer, please take additional steps to secure your home. Because burglars target homes that are unoccupied, a good strategy is to make your home look lived in while you’re out. Here are a few suggestions: Home security image

  • Schedule lights (interior and exterior), radios and televisions on timers, or activate them remotely, to make your home appear occupied. When lights are left on all day, it is obvious that no one is around. 
  • Place a hold on newspapers and mail during your leave. Make sure packages will not be delivered while you’re away.
  • Don’t announce your vacation plans on social media before or during your vacation. Post your photos and trip information after you return. 
  • Ask trusted neighbors, relatives and/or friends to look after your home including:
    • Watching over your place and removing advertisements/circulars. If they know who will visit during your vacation, they can more readily identify suspicious activity. Share contact info so they can communicate with you if there is a problem.
    • Bringing recycling bins to the curb on collection day and returning them after trash service. 
    • Parking in your driveway, so it looks like someone’s home.

Halloween: Trick or Treat Safety

TPD_Trick_or_TreatThe time will come when your child wants to go trick or treating unsupervised. Whether it’s now or in the future depends on their age, maturity level and awareness of personal safety. When you think they’re ready, develop a plan with your child for the event to help them make safer decisions and provide you some peace of mind.

A plan for trick-or-treating for your children may include:

  • Going out with friends who are likely to adhere to the plan.
  • Carrying a cell phone if they have one. Teach them when to call 9-1-1.
  • Calling you when they need help even if they may have broken a rule.
  • Avoiding costumes and masks that limit visibility and mobility.
  • Carrying a flashlight.
  • Visiting only those homes with porch lights on.
  • Accepting treats at the door and refusing to enter someone’s home.
  • Following the agreed upon route. Determine what streets they will visit, so you know where to find them. They should call you before they make any changes to their plans.
  • Setting a time when they are expected to return from trick-or-treating.
  • Identifying businesses and neighbors' homes along the way that they can ask for help if they encounter a problem.
  • Being aware and alert in public. When they maintain a healthy vigilance over their environment, they can more readily identify problems, avoid them and ask for help when necessary. Encourage them to follow their intuition.
  • Eliminating distractions such as texting and playing games that impact their ability to be vigilant.
  • Throwing out food that is not properly packaged and sealed.
  • Reviewing pedestrian safety skills such as: Walking on sidewalks or the shoulder of the road instead of the middle of the street.
  • Looking both ways before crossing.
  • Crossing the street at intersections or crosswalks. Remind them not to cross in the middle of the street or between parked cars.
  • Making sure that a driver can see them before crossing.
  • Wearing visible, light-colored or reflective clothing.

 During Halloween there are a number of family friendly alternatives to trick-or-treating that might appeal to your children. If they insist and want to go out unsupervised it is good to have a plan to put everyone at ease.

Holiday Safety Tips

Home Security During Your Trip
If you’re travelling during the holidays, please take additional steps to secure your home. Because burglars target homes that are unoccupied, a good strategy is to make your home look lived in while you’re out. Here are a few suggestions: Home security image

  • Schedule lights (interior and exterior), radios and televisions on timers, or activate them remotely, to make your home appear occupied. When lights are left on all day, it is obvious that no one is around. 
  • Place a hold on newspapers and mail during your leave. Make sure packages will not be delivered while you’re away.
  • Don’t announce your vacation plans on social media before or during your vacation. Post your photos and trip information after you return. 
  • Ask trusted neighbors, relatives and/or friends to look after your home including:
    • Watching over your place and removing advertisements/circulars. If they know who will visit during your vacation, they can more readily identify suspicious activity. Share contact info so they can communicate with you if there is a problem.
    • Bringing recycling bins to the curb on collection day and returning them after trash service. 
    • Parking in your driveway, so it looks like someone’s home.


Prevent Package Theft this Holiday Season
Package theft is a constant in our community. Unfortunately, these thefts typically increase during the holidays given an uptick in purchases and deliveries to doorsteps and the steady growth of online retail sales, especially during Cyber Monday.

This holiday season, the Tigard Police Department has the equipment and technology, including GPS tracking tags, to perform bait-package missions. With these devices, officers can lure criminals with a bait package, tracking their whereabouts and apprehending them.

Holiday packages on doorstepDespite these efforts, officers can’t be everywhere—even when they are able to perform proactive patrols between calls for service. Residents can prevent package theft by taking effective measures such as:

  • Arrange to pick up packages at the carrier or retail establishment. 
  • Require a signature on deliveries.
  • Ship packages to a locker where this service is available.
  • Track packages and ship them to a location where you or someone you trust is available to receive them upon arrival. 
  • Ensure that no shipments will be delivered while you are away on vacation. 
  • Report crime and suspicious activity in your neighborhood such as someone stealing a package or trailing a delivery truck by bike or car.
    • Call 9-1-1 for immediate threats to life or property or crimes in progress.
    • If it is not an immediate threat, contact the police non-emergency number at 503-629-0111. When in doubt, start with 9-1-1.

Although camera surveillance is beneficial to home security, it often does not deter package thieves.

Package theft prevention may not be as convenient as delivery to the door, but can spare residents from the violation that can impact the good cheer of the holidays.  

Holiday Parking:  Be AwareTake Extra Steps to Prevent Car Prowls This Season
During the holidays, busy shoppers leave packages and luggage in their cars while they finish their errands. Knowing this, car prowlers case shopping areas during this time of year, targeting cars where valuables are visible. Thieves can break into a vehicle in less than a minute. Please take extra precautions to prevent car prowls this holiday season:

  • Remove valuables from your vehicle. Thieves break into cars for anything that might be valuable. Shopping bags and gym bags are often targeted since they may contain items such as electronics or merchandise.
  • Carry your purchases with you while you shop. If that’s not practical, place them in the trunk and move your car to another location in the event that a car prowler is observing the parking lot.
  • Hide accessories for mobile phones and other devices. They have value and indicate that an electronic device may also be stashed in your vehicle.
  • Remove documents containing personal information, garage door openers, car keys and other items that can make you vulnerable to other crimes.
  • Close and lock windows and doors before you leave.
  • Park in a well-lit and well-traveled area to increase the chances that other shoppers can observe activity around your car.
  • Be careful about leaving your car unlocked while you push your shopping cart to the corral. Last year, officers took reports from victims whose wallets were stolen from the vehicle while they were returning their carts.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings. If you observe someone looking into vehicles and/or checking car handles; immediately report the suspicious activity to the police.
    • Call 9-1-1 for immediate threats to life or property or crimes in progress.
    • If it is not an immediate threat, you can call the police non-emergency number at 503-629-0111.

Theft from vehicle can be prevented with a few extra steps this holiday season. Do your best to be mindful during this hectic time to protect yourself and your property.

Holiday Shopping: Secure Your Data OnlineCyber Security Tips
More people will be shopping online this holiday season. If you plan to buy gifts online, please protect your data by considering the tips below:

  • Update your operating system and apps so they’re running with the latest security patches.
  • Choose unique user ids and passwords for your online accounts. Passwords should be long, difficult to guess and include a combination of letters, numbers and punctuation.
  • Use a credit card, not debit card online. If there is fraud on your debit card, you will need to dispute amounts already deducted from your bank account versus disputing a charge you haven’t paid for yet. Also technically there are more protections afforded to credit card users.
  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to conduct business online. VPNs encrypt or secure your data while you’re online and add a layer of privacy for info sent over public or private networks.
  • Be wary of Cyber Monday emails. Messages may be phishing emails attempting to obtain your personal information or get you to click on a malicious link in the email. Similarly think twice before clicking on pop-up deals or ads.
  • Don’t conduct financial transactions using public WiFi, especially if you don’t have a VPN.
  • Make sure a website has a secure connection when it is time to pay. The URL address should show “https” and have a lock to the left of the address.
  • Be protective of your personal information. Be wary when a website requests unnecessary personal info to complete a transaction. You may be better off shopping elsewhere. 


Quick Tips for Busy Shopping Areas
During the holidays, many people are distracted and not paying attention to their surroundings. Take steps to prevent crime:

  • Park in a well-lit, well-traveled locationshopping_parking_lot
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Prevent pick-pocketing: use a purse with a secure closure, keeping it close to you or put a wallet inside a coat or front pants pocket
  • Place shopping bags and purses in front of you when dining out to keep an eye on them
  • Only bring the necessary cash and credit cards on your shopping trip
  • Have a plan if you get separated from your kids
  • Remember where you park and have your key ready before returning to your vehicle 

Be Prepared for Winter Driving

“If you’re not prepared, don’t drive,” cautions Traffic Safety Officer Rod Morse about driving on snowy and icy roads. When drivers don’t take the proper precautions, they create hazardous conditions for other drivers and pedestrians.

Winter Driving: Be PreparedThe Tigard Police Department may issue tickets for abandoned vehicles during snow events. In prior years, drivers have left their cars blocking roads and freeways, creating unsafe road conditions for other travelers. These obstructions also make it difficult for the city’s snowplows to clear some streets.

To prepare for driving in the snow and ice, the Tigard Police Traffic Safety Unit  recommends the following tips: 

  • Use chains, snow socks or snow tires.
  • Take public transportation or ride with someone whose car is equipped for the snow.
  • Travel at the speed recommended for chains. If you don’t, the chains may break.
  • Go slow and steady. Budget enough time to get to your destination at a safe speed. The police will cite drivers for going faster than is safe for road conditions even if you are driving under the speed limit. 
  • Increase your following distance behind other vehicles to allow more room to react.
  • Slow down well before you need to stop to avoid abruptly braking and potentially skidding.
  • Be careful about reduced visibility due to heavy rain, snow or darkness during commute hours. Many pedestrians aren’t visible because they are wearing dark clothing.
  • Bring an emergency kit with warm clothes, food and water in case you get stuck. Fill up your gas tank before a snowstorm.
For more tips, visit the City of Tigard's Inclement Weather page.

July 4th Fireworks

Play It Safe on July 4th 
State Fire Marshall Fireworks
With July 4th coming up next week, we’re asking neighbors to play it safe. In Oregon, fireworks that fly, explode, or behave in an uncontrollable and unpredictable manner are illegal. Under Oregon law, officials can seize illegal fireworks and fine offenders up to $500 per violation.

Illegal fireworks adversely impact our community by causing:

• Fires—there were 264 firework-related fires in Oregon between 2014 to 2018
• Injuries
• Anxiety for veterans and pets
• A burden on the public safety system

Calls to 9-1-1 and the non-emergency number significantly increase on July 4th as neighbors report safety concerns about fireworks, which impacts police, fire, and dispatch services. Calls also increase during the week preceding and following the holiday. Last year, neighbors complained of receiving a busy signal when they called the non-emergency number on July 4th.
In anticipation of an increase in calls for service, Tigard Police will staff additional officers. As always we must prioritize calls for service, first responding to life-safety issues, person and property crimes in progress. We will do our best to address as many calls as possible. Given call loads in previous years, we may not be able to respond to all calls on the July 4th holiday. We do ask for your patience during this time.

When you need timely police response, social media is not the proper channel to use because it is not monitored 24/7. Please call:

• 9-1-1 for threats to life or property, crimes in progress
• 503-629-0111, the non-emergency number, for incidents in Washington County

Please keep the safety of your family and neighbors in mind this July 4th, Thank you!

Do you have questions about crime prevention strategies?

Contact us here: 
AskTigardPolice@tigard-or.gov


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