Avoid Becoming a Crime Victim
Crime prevention is an integral part of any law enforcement effort. With crime prevention information, citizens can become harder targets for criminals. If a crime can be avoided, the citizen does not suffer loss; resources are not used to investigate, prosecute, and incarcerate; and a criminal denied is one less crime. Here are some tips that can help you avoid being involved in the most reported crimes.
Burglary of Vehicle
- Remove the keys from the ignition
- Close and lock all windows and doors
- Set your alarm if you have one
- Park your car in an open, well lit area that is near your destination
- Park your car in a populated area or within view of security cameras
- Don't park your car where the view of the car is obstructed
- When at home, park your car in the garage as opposed to the street
- Remove all valuables from your vehicle
- Don't leave them in plain sight
Preventing Residential Burglaries
- People are your best defense -- be a visibly nosy neighbor. Let anyone walking the neighborhood or sitting in a parked car see you watching them.
- Make a note of car license plates and if anyone behaves suspiciously or stays in their car for a lengthy period, call the police.
- Tell close neighbors (who you trust!) if you plan on being away for any length of time. If they're in the know they're more likely to notice something you didn't mention and spot unexpected callers at your home (burglars often call at the front door of a house to check if anyone is there).
- And, if you are going away, use timers to switch lights on and off at random, cancel newspapers and put a hold on your mail deliveries -- or, to guard your schedule, arrange for the trusted neighbor to collect them.
- Having a dog is a huge deterrent. Ironically, burglars are far more likely to avoid a house with a small dog than a big one -- small dogs tend to be nervous and less easy to trick into calming down. They're less trustful and bark louder and longer.
- Take a walk around your home, inside and out, to figure where the weakest link in your security might be -- like leaving a window open in a secluded spot. High-risk places include the door from your garage into the house, back doors, side "breezeways" where a burglar would not be seen, and large shrubs close to the residence where thieves could hide.
- Take action to increase protection in these vulnerable places -- like installing keyed window locks and deadbolts on doors and using toughened glass in windows and doors. Remove those shrubs. If you leave windows open on the second floor, make sure your extension ladder is locked away.
- Be wary about who you allow into your home and how much information you give about your belongings and schedule. This applies even with neighbors you don't know or fully trust ("inside" jobs are not uncommon). And don't leave valuables in view, inside or from outside the house.
- If you're able, vary the times you leave and return home. If your household has several cars, vary who drives them, making it more difficult for an observer to know who is home and when.
- Make it tough for home burglary prowlers to know whether they're under surveillance. Fake cameras can be good -- but only if they could be taken for the real thing, not cheap plastic devices with flashing lights, which home burglars easily identify. Fake security stickers or signs don't work either, but, if you have an alarm, real stickers and signs work.
- Control access to and around your property. Consider motion-activated lights, even on the street outside your home.
- Neighborhood Watch, Video Surveillance, No Parking and No Outlet signs can be effective against home burglary too. This way, would-be thieves know you mean business.
- Motion-activated cameras are another powerful weapon -- both as a home burglary deterrent and, linked to a computer (and, better yet, to a home network), to record images of your unwelcome visitors. .
- An alarm system, preferably with a visible box outside the house, will not only deter crooks but sound an immediate alert of a home burglary.
- Avoid creating temptation. Don't leave things like lawn mowers and bikes unattended outside; lock them up.
- Inside, burglars are more likely to go for "middle of the road" valuables than expensive jewelry and appliances -- because they're easier to redeem for cash.
- Don't hide a key. Home burglary crooks know all those "secret" places.
- Don’t put boxes of expensive items that you purchased at the curb to be picked up
Here is an external webpage that has many great tips about home and personal safety: Secure Home
- Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet or write it on your checks. Only give out your SSN when absolutely necessary.
- Protect your PIN. Never write a PIN on a credit/debit card or on a slip of paper kept in your wallet.
- Watch out for shoulder surfer's use your free hand to shield the keypad when using pay phones and ATMs.
- Collect mail promptly. Ask the post office to put your mail on hold when you are away from home for more than a day or two.
- Pay attention to your billing cycles if bills or financial statements are late, contact the sender.
- Keep your receipts. Ask for carbons and incorrect charge slips as well. Promptly compare receipts with account statements. Watch for unauthorized transactions.
- Tear up and shred unwanted receipts, credit offers, account statements, expired cards, etc., to prevent dumpster divers getting your personal information.
- Store personal information in a safe place at home and at work. Don't leave it lying around.
- Don’t respond to unsolicited requests for personal information in the mail, over the phone or online.
- Install firewalls and virus-detection software on your home computer. If you have a wireless network, make sure it is password protected.
- Check your credit report once a year. Check it more frequently if you suspect someone has gotten access to your account information.
- There are identity theft prevention companies who can help guard your information. Here are two links, one from Review.com and the other from Consumer Affairs.com the other from
- Consumer Affairs
Our Crime Prevention program provides:
- Educational materials
- Presentations for civic groups, associations, or clubs
- McGruff appearances
- Neighborhood Crime Watch
- Crime of the Week and Crime Stoppers
- Online crime reports at Crime Reports
- Building tours
- School presentations
- Home insurance inspections
- Merchant Alert Registration Form (PDF)