Castle Law & Your Dallas HOA

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 By: Metroplex

Due to recent events in our nation, the Castle Doctrine (also known as Castle Law or Defense of Habitation Law), as it applies to the state of Texas, has come under more scrutiny. This law grants a person certain immunities during situations where they must defend themselves from an intruder or attacker. The Castle Doctrine has come under fire many times since enacted in 2007, especially when used to justify deadly force. As of Tuesday, April 10th, Texas legislatures are now considering changes to this self-defense law as it applies to the state. Though the proposed changes will affect some particulars of the law, Texas State Senator, Royce West, of the 23rd Senatorial District representing Dallas County, stated that everyone has the right to defend themselves and that the state has no plans to abolish the Castle Law.

Regardless of changes made to the Castle Law in the upcoming months, it is up to everyone in your Dallas community to partner together in keeping your neighborhood safe and crime rates low. Every homeowner in Dallas wants a safe place to call home, and your Dallas homeowners association and Dallas HOA management company wants to strive to make all residents feel secure.

In some homeowners associations, after a burglary has taken place, the victims and neighbors may approach the Board with requests for increased security patrols, fences, gates, and alarms. After proposing different safety options and requesting bids, it becomes apparent that such options are not very cost-effective, especially when compared to the security measures each individual resident can take in securing their our home. In addition to having an active Neighborhood Watch program, each homeowner can make a one-time investment to better secure their homes against intruders.

Taking a few simple steps can go a long way in keeping theft, vandalism, and crime out of your Dallas HOA:

  • Install a home alarm system registered with the police department, so that should your alarm go off, you will immediately be notified.
  • Install a dead bolt on your doors and/or a locking pin if you have sliding exterior doors.
  • Inventory your property and make sure your insurance is up to date with the current value of your belongings.
  • If you are going to be away overnight, leave a light on or set a timer to turn on a light in the evenings.
  • Don’t allow for your mail or newspapers to pile up if your away from your house for several days. Arrange to have a neighbor collect your mail and pick up your newspapers while you’re gone, so your mail isn’t vulnerable to theft and your home doesn’t appear dormant.
  • Don’t leave a key under a door mat, flower pot, or other common hiding place. Consider using a exterior lockbox.

The Association may relax architectural controls to allow owners to equip front doors with any locks, deadbolts, or other common security devices without seeking ACC approval, so long as they are visually unobtrusive and do not significantly impact structures. If you have questions about security modifications you’d like to make, don’t hesitate to call the Dallas HOA management company.

See Something, Say Something. If you notice a crime or a suspicious activity, regardless of how small the incident may seem, notify the Dallas HOA management company, association security (if applicable), and the police immediately. Of course, only call 911 if it is an emergency; otherwise, contact the police on their non-emergency line. It may be helpful for you to add your police department’s non-emergency phone number to your community newsletter, website, and your own personal cell phone.

We all have a responsibility to our community to help keep it safe, and incorporating even a few of these tips can go a long way. Do your part in helping to make your association a place you can be happy to call home.

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