Police Department - Crime Prevention Tips
Police Departments Resources
If you were locked out of your house, would you still be able to get in? Maybe you keep an unlocked window in the back, or a hidden key in your mailbox or on top of a window ledge.
You may think this is a good idea, but guess what? If you can break in, so can a burglar!
One out of ten homes will be burglarized this year. For a small amount of time and money you can make your home more secure and reduce your chances of being a victim.
Many burglars will spend no longer than 60 seconds trying to break into a home. Good locks - and good neighbors who watch out for each other - can be big deterrents to burglars.
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. To prevent the door being lifted off the track, drill a hole through the slide door frame and the fixed frame. Then insert a pin in the hole.
- Lock double-hung windows with key locks or "pin" your windows by drilling a small hole into a 45 degree angle between the inner and outer frames, then insert a nail that can be removed. Secure basement windows with grilles or grates.
- Instead of hiding keys around the outside of your home, give an extra key to a neighbor you trust.
- When you move into a new house or apartment, re-key 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 do not fit tightly in their frames, install weather stripping around them.
- Install a peephole or wide angle viewer in all entry doors so you can see who is outside without opening the door. Door chains break easily and do not keep out intruders.
Check the Outside
Look at your house from the outside. Make sure you know the following tips.
- Thieves hate bright lights. Install outside lights and keep them on at night.
- Keep your yard clean. Prune back shrubbery so it does not hide doors or windows. Cut back tree limbs that a thief could use to climb to an upper-level window.
- If you travel, create the illusion that you are at home by getting some timers that will turn lights on and off in different areas of your house throughout the evening. Lights burning 24 hours a day signal an empty house.
- Leave shades, blinds, and curtains in normal positions. Moreover, do not let your mail pile up! Call the post office to stop delivery or have a neighbor pick it up.
- Make a list of your valuables - VCRs, stereos, computers, jewelry. Take photos of the items, list their serial numbers and description. Check with law enforcement about engraving your valuables through Operation Identification.
- Ask local law enforcement for a free home security survey.
Consider an Alarm
Alarms can be a good investment, especially if you have many valuables in your home, or live in an isolated area or one with a history of break-ins.
- Check with several companies before you buy so you can decide what level of security fits your needs. Do business with an established company and check references before signing a contract.
- Learn how to use your system properly! Do not "cry wolf" by setting off false alarms. People will stop paying attention and you will probably be fined.
- Some less expensive options...a sound-detecting socket that plugs into a light fixture and makes the light flash when it detects certain noises, motion sensing outdoor lights that turn on when someone approaches, or lights with photo cells that turn on when it's dark and off when it's light.
Burglars Do More Than Steal
Burglars can commit rape, robbery, and assault if they are surprised by someone coming home or pick a home that is occupied.
- If something looks questionable - a slit screen, a broken window or an open door - do not go in. Call the police from a neighbor's house or a public phone.
- At night, if you think you hear someone breaking in, leave safely if you can, then call the police. If you cannot leave, lock yourself in a room with a phone and call the police. If an intruder is in your room, pretend you are asleep.
- Guns are responsible for many accidental deaths in the home every year. Think carefully before buying a gun or keeping weapons in the home. If you do own one, learn how to store it and use it safely.
There's More You Can Do
- Join a Neighborhood Watch group. If one does not 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 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.
Test Your "Street Smarts" IQ: Do you…
- Jog or walk by yourself early in the morning or late at night when the streets are quiet and deserted?
- Stuff your purse with cash, keys, credit cards, and checkbook - and then leave it wide open on a counter, your desk, the floor?
- Put your wallet in a jacket, which you then hang up or throw over a chair?
- Let your mind wander - thinking about your job, or all the things you have to do - when walking or driving?
- Think it's a waste of time to lock your car when you'll be back in a few minutes?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you need to change a few habits. Even if you answered "no" and made a perfect score, read on. Spend a few minutes now to prevent trouble later.
Basic Street Sense
- Wherever you are - on the street, in an office building or shopping mall, driving, waiting for a bus or subway - 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. If something or someone makes you uneasy, avoid the person or leave.
- Know the neighborhoods where you live and work. Check out the locations of police and fire stations, public telephones, hospitals, and restaurants, or stores that are open late.
- Stick to 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.
- Try to use automated teller machines in the daytime. Have your card in hand and don't approach the machine if you're uneasy about people nearby.
- 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.
- Have to work late? Make sure there are others in the building, and ask someone - a colleague or security guard - to walk you to your car or transit stop.
- Keep your car in good running condition. Make sure there's enough gas to get where you're going and back.
- Always roll up the windows and lock car doors, even if you're coming right back. Check inside and out before getting in.
- Avoid parking in isolated areas. Be especially alert in lots and underground parking garages.
- 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. Don't hitchhike.
On Buses and Subways
- Use well-lighted, busy stops.
- Stay alert! Don't doze or daydream.
- If someone harasses you, don't be embarrassed. Loudly say "Leave me alone!" If that doesn't work, hit the emergency device.
- Watch who get off with you. If you feel uneasy, walk directly to a place where there are other people.
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 becoming victims.
Auto Theft: Don't Make It Easy for a Thief To Steal Your Wheels
One vehicle is stolen every 20 seconds in the United States. Stolen cars, vans, trucks, and motorcycles cost victims time and money - and increase everyone's insurance premiums. They're also often used to commit other crimes.
The Basic Prevention Policy
- Never leave your keys in the car or ignition.
- Always lock your car, even if it's in front of your home.
- Copy your tag number and vehicle identification number (VIN) on a card and keep them with your driver's license. Keep the registration with you, not in the car.
- Keep the keys to your home and car separate.
- Keep your car in good running condition. Make sure there's enough gas to get there and back.
- Avoid parking in isolated areas with little foot or auto traffic. Be especially alert in unstaffed lots and enclosed parking garages.
- If you think someone is following you, drive to the nearest police or fire station, open service station, or other open business to get help.
- Don't pick up hitchhikers. Don't hitchhike yourself.
- If you often drive at night, or alone, consider a CB radio or cellular phone to make it easier to summon help in a emergency.
If you would like more information or would like to have an officer conduct a security assessment of your home, you may call the police department or contact us by e-mail