Crime Prevention

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Crime Prevention Tips
Basic Street Sense
  • Stay alert and tuned in to your surroundings
  • Send the message that you're calm, confident, and know where you're going
  • Trust your instincts
  • Know the neighborhoods where you live and work
On Foot - Day and Night
  • Stick to well-lighted, well-traveled streets. Avoid shortcuts through wooded areas, parking lots or alleys
  • Don't flash large amounts of cash or other tempting targets like expensive jewelry or clothing
  • Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps
  • Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket, not a back pocket
  • Don't wear shoes or clothing that restrict your movements
  • Have your car or house key in hand before you reach the door
  • If you think someone is following you, switch direction or cross the street. Walk toward an open store, restaurant, or lighted house. If you're scared, yell for help
On Wheels
  • Keep your car in good running condition
  • Always roll up the windows and lock car doors
  • Avoid parking in isolated areas. Be especially alert in lots and underground parking garage
  • If you think someone is following you, don't head home. Drive to the nearest police or fire station, gas station, or other open business to get help
  • Don't pick up hitchhikers

If Someone Tries to Rob You

  • Don't resist. Give up your property, don't give up your life
  • Report the crime to the police. Try to describe the attacker accurately. Your actions can help prevent others from being victims
Home Security
Check the Locks
  • Did you know that in almost half of all completed residential burglaries, thieves simply breezed in through unlocked doors or crawled through unlocked windows?
  • Make sure every external door has a sturdy, well-installed dead bolt lock. Key-in-the-knob locks alone are not enough
  • Sliding glass doors can offer easy access if they are not properly secured. You can secure them by installing commercially available locks or putting a broomstick or dowel in the inside track to jam the door
  • Give an extra key to a neighbor you trust
  • When you move into a new house or apartment, rekey the locks
Check the Doors
  • A lock on a flimsy door is about as effective as locking your car door but leaving the window down
  • All outside doors should be metal or solid wood
  • If your doors don't fit tightly in their frames, install weather stripping around them
  • Install a peephole or wide-angle viewer in all entry doors so that you can see who is outside without opening the door. Door chains break easily and don't keep out intruders

Check the Outside

  • Look at your house from the outside; make sure you know the following tips:
  • Install outside lights and keep them on at night
  • Keep your yard clean - prune back shrubbery so it doesn't hide door or windows
  • Clearly display your house number so police and other emergency vehicles can find your home quickly
  • Create the illusion that you're home by setting some timers that will turn your lights on and off in different areas of your house throughout the evening
  • Ask law enforcement for a free home security survey

There's More You Can Do

  • Join a Neighborhood Watch group. If one doesn't exist, you can start one with help from local law enforcement
  • Never leave a message on your answering machine that indicates you may be away from home. Rather than saying "I'm not home right now", say, "I'm not available right now".
  • Work with neighbors and local government to organize community clean-ups. The cleaner your neighborhood, the less attractive it is to crime
Join a Neighborhood Watch
The ABC's of Neighborhood Watch
  • Any community resident can join--young and old, single and married, renter and homeowner
  • A few concerned residents, a community organization, or a saw enforcement agency can spearhead the effort to organize a Watch
  • Members learn how to make their homes more secure, watch out for each other and the neighborhood, and report activities that rise suspicions to the police department
  • You can form a Watch group around any geographical unit; a block, apartment, park, business area, public housing complex, office, marina
  • Watch groups are not vigilantes. They are extra eyes and ears for reporting crime and helping neighbors. Neighborhood Watch helps build pride and serves as a springboard for efforts that address community concerns such as recreation for youth, childcare and affordable housing

Getting Organized

  • When a group decides to form a Neighborhood Watch, it:
  • Contacts the police department for help in training members in home security and reporting skills and for information on local crime patterns
  • Selects a coordinator or block captain(s) who is (are) responsible for organizing meetings and relaying information to members
  • Recruits members, keeping up-to-date on new residents and making special efforts to involve the elderly, working parents, and young people
  • Works with law enforcement to put up Neighborhood Watch signs, usually after at least 50 percent of all households are enrolled

Neighbors Look For...

  • Someone screaming or shouting for help
  • Someone looking into windows and parked cars
  • Unusual noises
  • Property being taken out of houses where no one is at home or from closed businesses
  • Cars, vans, or trucks moving slowly with no apparent destination, or without lights
  • Abandoned cars
  • Report these incidents to the police department. Talk about the problem with your neighbors

How to Report

  • Give your name and address
  • Briefly describe the event -- what happened, when, where, and who was involved
  • Describe the suspect: sex and race, age, weight, hair color, clothing, distinctive characteristics such as beard, mustache, scars, or accent
  • Describe the vehicle if one was involved; color, make, model, year, license plate, and special features such as stickers, dents, or decals

Staying Alive

  • It's an unfortunate fact that when a neighborhood crime crisis goes away, so does enthusiasm for Neighborhood Watch. Work to keep your Watch group a vital force for community well being
  • Organize regular meetings that focus on current issues such as drug abuse, "hate" or biased-motivated violence, crime in schools, etc.
  • Organize community patrols to walk around streets or apartment complexes and alert police to crime and suspicious activities and identify problems needing attention
  • Publish a newsletter that gives prevention tips and local crime news, recognizes residents of all ages who have "made a difference", and highlights community events
  • Don't forget social events that give neighbors a chance to know each other -- a block party, potluck dinner, volleyball or softball game or picnic