City Corner column: Call before you dig

Who do I call before I begin a project that requires digging? How can I recognize where underground pipelines are located?

If you plan to work on projects such as housing construction, building fences, landscaping or installing a deck or pool, you are required by Texas Law to call 811 at least two business days before digging is scheduled to begin.

A utility representative will respond and identify the location of the company's pipeline at no cost. If it is necessary, the pipeline will be marked with paint and/or flags before you start digging. When digging starts, you must be careful to prevent damage to any underground pipeline in or near the excavation area. When working within 25 feet of the company's pipeline, you will be required to meet with a pipeline safety specialist who will assist you in exercising reasonable care toward preventing damage to underground pipelines and to have a safe excavation project.

The majority of pipelines are buried underground in a right of way corridor. The corridor can be recognized as a strip of land that is clear from obstructions such as trees and structures and is marked with a pipeline sign that will say "Warning - High Pressure Crude Oil Pipeline."

Pipeline signs mark the approximate location of the pipeline, not the exact location, but the signs are no substitute for calling 811 prior to digging.

Does the Victoria Police Department offer a home security survey?

Yes. Our police department offers a free security survey that evaluates the security of your home. This service looks at the type of lighting, windows, doors, locks and other security measures you have in your home to reduce the chance of burglary.

Having a security survey will help you learn what areas of your home need security improvements and how to make those improvements. Also, the inspection may qualify you for a reduction in your homeowner's insurance premiums.

The Victoria Police Department has certified crime prevention specialists who are recognized by the Texas Department of Insurance. Only these officers can perform the inspection and sign the necessary form for the reduction.

To schedule a security survey, first contact your insurance agent to verify whether they offer a reduction in homeowner's insurance premiums if you have your home inspected. Then, you will complete a checklist provided by the Victoria Police Department. After the list is completed, contact the Crime Prevention Office at 361-485-3808 to schedule a time for the inspection. After passing the inspection, the officer will give you a Texas Department of Insurance form for your insurance company.

If your insurance does not offer the reduction, you should still have the inspection. The inspection will provide you with recommendations on how to make your home more secure from burglars.

For more information about a home security survey, call the Crime Prevention Office at 361-485-3808 or visit Victoriatx.org

Do you have a question about the city of Victoria? Please submit your questions and comments about any city department to Jennifer Sourdellia in the Communications/Public Information Office by emailing jsourdellia@victoriatx.org or mail to P.O. Box 1758, Victoria, TX 77902.