Banyan Hills Neighborhood



Do NOT leave your vehicles running/warming up in your driveway!

A car was stolen from a home on west Poppleton in Banyan Hills around 9:00 a.m. this morning!   Due to the frigid temperatures, the owners were warming up the car in their driveway before going to church.  The car was only unattended for a few minutes!  But when the owners came out, it was gone, and another car had been abandoned in the driveway next door.  Thieves are trolling our neighborhoods looking for running cars – something many people do when the temperatures are extremely low – like today.  

If you saw or heard anything suspicious, please contact Steve Rasmussen at 308-991-2752  or Amber Goetsch at 402-891-1966.

Amber Goetsch
Banyan Hills Neighborhood Watch Coordinator


For Emergencies, Dial 911
Reporting Non-Emergencies to the Omaha Police Department: 
Neighborhood Watch Coordinator:  Derek Aron - 

Information & Tips for Staying SAFE

Street Light Repairs - properly functioning streetlights are an important part of the Neighborhood Watch Program. *All residents are responsible for the street light nearest their home.  To report street lights out, interruption of service, or wires down, contact OPPD at 1-800-554-6773.

Summer Vacation Tips

  • When going on vacation, or even on a short trip away, make sure you tell a neighbor, a friend, or a family member so they can watch your home, and pick-up your newspapers and mail every day. 
  • Leave a contact number with a neighbor when you travel. 
  • Give a neighbor your garage code or a spare key so they can get into the house, if necessary.
  • Put some of your interior lights on an automatic timer so the lights go on and off throughout the day and night.  You should put a radio on a timer as well. You may call or e-mail the Omaha World Herald to place a temporary hold on your newspaper delivery while you are away.  
  • Lock your doors and windows at night.  Make sure your basement utility windows are always properly locked, too. You may want to enjoy that summer-time breeze at night, but you should at least lock your lower level windows, if you live in a two-level dwelling. Make sure your car doors are locked overnight.
  • When you leave your home during the daylight hours, make sure you lock your back windows and doors ~ and don’t forget that small bathroom window or back garage door.
  • A good burglar watches for specific times when a homeowner comes and goes throughout the day. If you have a predictable schedule, ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your property during those times when you are away.
  • If you have children, teach them to watch for, and report, suspicious people to you or a neighbor immediately.
  • If you get your car worked on by an auto shop, don’t forget to remove your house keys from the key ring, and take the garage door opener from the car while it is in for repairs.

Stay alert, be safe, and look out for your neighbors!

Home Security Tips
Courtesy: Omaha Police Department

Is there a burglar working your neighborhood?
Burglars and other criminals often strike neighborhoods where residents do not watch out for each other, or do not call the police when they observe suspicious activity. It is very important that you be alert to the following activities, that may be happening in your area:

  • Strangers going door-to-door, (front or back, night or day), or loitering around the houses where residents may not be home.
  • Strangers entering a neighbor’s house when no one is home.
  • Strangers at your door who claim to be lost or looking for someone else.
  • Strangers running, possibly carrying something of value, not wrapped or packaged.
  • Strange vehicles waiting or driving in the area, parked in neighbor’s driveway, or loading property.
  • Vehicles driving without lights, or parked and occupied at unusual hours.
  • Unusual noises such as screaming, gunshots, dogs barking continuously, glass breaking, etc.

    Taking Action
    Burglaries and other crime can be stopped if you and your neighbors get involved.

    Keep a list of Neighborhood Watch members on your refrigerator or near the main telephone in your house.

    When you notice suspicious activity, call the police at 911.  Then, call other Neighborhood Watch members to notify them of the activity so they can secure their homes, turn on lights, and be alert for further activity.

    Be prepared to do your civic duty in reporting crime, being a witness for the police, and testifying in court, if called upon to do so.

    Develop good habits in personal and home safety so that you re not an easy target for a criminal.

    Don't Make It Easy
    Never allow strangers to enter your home for any reason such as using your telephone or bathroom. Call 911 for them if they need help.

    Be wary of sales people, solicitors, or others who claim to be legitimate. Make them prove it with identification. Then call back to their office to verify it.

    Remember, a burglar has to knock on your door to see if someone is home, just like anyone else does. If someone is at your door and you are not expecting a visitor or do not already know them, you should become suspicious.

    Never leave house keys under the door mat, in the mail box, etc., burglars check these places.

    Make sure your home is secured with good doors, windows and locks. Then keep them closed and locked when you are away, even if you will only be in the yard or next door.

    Place valuables such as extra cash and jewelry in a bank or safety deposit box.

    Keep your shrubs and trees trimmed so they do not become places for intruders to hide. Keep your property neat so burglars know that someone cares for it.

    When you are away from your home, make sure things appear as if someone were home. Leaving a radio or television on, the usual lights on, a car in the driveway and using timers are just a few good precautions.

    If you will be gone for an extended period, make sure a trusted neighbor will watch your home for you, pick up your mail and call the police if suspicious activity occurs. Also notify the police of your plans. This information will be provided to the officers who patrol your area.

    If you have an automatic garage door opener, never exit the garage until the door has closed and you are sure no one entered when the door was open.

    Security Lights:
    Install lights over all doors, and mount spot lights on each corner of the house to illuminate all exterior walls.

    Record All Valuable Property:
    Keep a record of serial numbers, along with photos and/or a detailed description of your property.

    Sliding Doors and Windows:
    Cut a heavy dowel or broom handle to the length of the bottom track and lay it in the track so that the door or window will not slide open when forced. Your door and window dealer also sells devices that serve this purpose.

    Basement or Kitchen Doors and Windows:
    Consider securing with strong ornamental grills or screens.

    Sash Windows:
    Should be secured with quality locking devices. Small wooden blocks or similar devices should be installed in the side tracks to limit the height that the windows can be opened to four (4) inches.

    Garage Doors:
    Should be closed and properly locked. All ladders and tools that may help a burglar break into your house should be locked in the garage or house.

    Porch and Yard:
    Should be clear of all newspapers and circulars. Keep the grass mowed and the snow shoveled.

    Any dog that barks loudly when a stranger comes to the door is a good deterrent. The noise will scare away most burglars.

    Burglar Alarms:
    Shop for the system that best fits your needs. Alarms do discourage burglars

    You should ALWAYS report suspicious activity to the police, whether or not it occurs during the day or at night, by calling the non-emergency dispatch hotline for the Douglas County Sheriff's Office at 333-1000.  Some people fail to call the police simply because they are not aware of what might be suspicious. Others may hesitate to call for fear that the suspicious activity may not be considered “important” enough. But, it is better to call and report suspicious activity, than to do nothing about it.

    Important Tips:

    • Don’t assume your stuff is safe in your driveway or garage.
      (At least one vehicle has been stolen from Banyan Hills, and numerous others have been vandalized.)
    • Lock doors and windows, even when you’re home
    • Don’t place outgoing mail in your mailbox
    • Protect your account information
    • Don’t share too much in Online Profiles
    • Don’t stuff your purse under the seat
    • Don’t leave your garage door up
    • Report suspicious activity

    National Night Out is a community-police awareness-raising event held annually on the first Tuesday of August.  This event has been held annually since 1984, and is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch in the United States and Canada.  The event is meant to increase awareness about police programs in communities, such as drug prevention, Neighborhood Watch, and other anti-crime efforts.  Initially communities held lights-on vigils.  These days, many neighborhoods hold block parties, festivals, and other events to help bring neighbors together.

    Helpful Websites:

    Omaha Crime Mapping



    Everyone should take 5 minutes to read this.  Resident, Tara Duda shared these tips with me, so I'm passing them on to you! 
    One of these tips may save your life, or the life of a loved one...

    1.  Tip from Tae Kwon Do:  The elbow is the strongest point on your body.  If you are close enough to use it, do!

    2.  If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM.  Toss it away from you...  Chances are that he is more interested in your wallet
         and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse.  RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

    3.  If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back taillights, stick your arm out of the hole, and start waving like crazy. 
         The driver won't see you, but everybody else will.  This has saved lives.

    4.  Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.)  DON'T DO THIS!
         The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where
         to go.  AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.  If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF,
         Repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF!  Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car.  Your air bag will save you.  If the person is in the back seat
         they will get the worst of it.  As soon as the car crashes bail out and run.  It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.

    5.  A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage: 

         A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.

         B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door.  Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while
         the women are attempting to get into their cars. 

         C.) Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side... If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want
         to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out.  IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY.

    6.  ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs.  Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot.  This is especially true at NIGHT!

    7.  If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN!  The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; and even then,
         it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ.  RUN, Preferably in a zig-zag pattern!

    8.  As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic:  STOP  It may get you raped, or killed.  Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated
         man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women.  He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked 'for help' into his vehicle or with
         his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.

    9.  Another Safety Point:  Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was
         late and she thought it was weird. The police told her  'Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door..'  The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had
         crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over.  The policeman said, 'We already have a unit on the way,
         whatever you do, DO NOT open the door.'  He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of their homes
         thinking that someone dropped off a baby.. He said they have not verified it, but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby's cries outside
         their doors when they're home alone at night.

    10. Water scam!  If you wake up in the middle of the night to hear all your taps outside running or what you think is a burst pipe, DO NOT GO OUT TO
         INVESTIGATE! These people turn on all your outside taps full ball so that you will go out to investigate and then attack.


    HOTEL KEY CARDS - Did you ever wonder what is on your magnetic key card?  Answer:

    • Customer's name 
    • Customer's partial home address 
    • Hotel room number 
    • Check-in and check-out dates 
    • Customer's credit card number and expiration date

    When you turn your key card in to the front desk, your personal information is there for any employee to access by simply scanning the card into the hotel scanner.  Or, an employee can take a hand full of cards home, and using a scanning device, access the information onto a laptop computer and go shopping at your expense!  Simply put, hotels do not erase the information on these cards until an employee reissues the card to the next hotel guest.  At that time, the new guest's information is electronically imprinted on the card, and the previous guest's information is erased in the overwriting process.  But until the card is rewritten for the next guest, it is usually is kept in a drawer at the front desk with YOUR personal information on it!  

    The bottom line is:  Keep the cards and take them home with you, or destroy them.  NEVER leave them behind in the room or wastebasket, and NEVER turn them into the front desk when you check out of a room. They will not charge you for the card (it's illegal), and you'll be sure you are not leaving a lot of valuable personal information on it that could be easily lifted off with any simple scanning device or card reader.  For the same reason, if you arrive at the airport and discover you still have the card key in your pocket, do not toss it in an airport trash can.  Take it home and destroy it by cutting through the electronic information strip!  OR, if you have a small magnet, pass it across the magnetic strip several times. Then try it in the door.  It will not work.  The magnet erases everything on the card.  Information courtesy of: Metropolitan Police Service