Crime is an unfortunate reality. By being prepared for it, you lessen your chance of becoming a victim.
In your home
- Always lock your doors during the day, even if you are home or only leave for a few minutes.
- Never open the door automatically when someone knocks. Use a peephole or ask for identification.
- If a stranger asks to use the phone, do not permit entry. Offer to call for emergency assistance.
- If you find a window or door has been forced or broken while you were away, DO NOT ENTER OR CALL OUT. Use a neighbor’s phone to immediately call 911 and wait for help to arrive.
- Always close and lock garage doors before you drive away.
- When you return home, do not leave your house key in your door, even for a minute. Also avoid putting your keys and purse down just inside the open door, or leaving them in the car with the garage door open.
- Equip every external door with a sturdy deadbolt lock with a minimum of a 1 1/2” bolt.
- Secure sliding glass doors with commercially available locks, a broomstick or wooden dowel in the track to jam the door in case someone tries to pry it open.
- Extra keys should not be hidden in mailboxes, planters or under doormats. Give an extra key to a neighbor you trust who is often home.
- When you move into a new house or apartment, have the locks changed.
- Exterior doors are ideally solid wood of 1 3/4” or metal.
- Windows should be of good quality and have secure locks. Don’t forget about basement windows.
- Trim shrubbery that hides doors or windows. Cut tree limbs that could help an intruder climb into windows.
- Turn on outside lights after dark to illuminate porches, entrances and yards in the front and back of your house. You may want to install timers or motion detectors on exterior lights.
- Clearly display your house number so police and emergency vehicles can find your home quickly.
- Update your home inventory list. Take pictures of your personal property and make sure you have a list of items and their serial numbers. Keep this list with your important papers. If you home is burglarized, this can help identify stolen items and make insurance claims easier.
- If you hear a noise that sounds like someone breaking in or moving around, quietly call 911 and wait calmly until they arrive. If you and your family can leave safely, do so. Otherwise lock everyone in a room. Do not put yourself in danger.
Away from home
- Always be alert to your surroundings and the people around you.
- Be alert to pickpockets in crowded places.
- Walk confidently and at a steady pace.
- Make eye contact with people when walking.
- Whenever possible, travel with a friend.
- Stay in well-lit areas as much as possible. Avoid doorways, bushes and alleys where someone could hide.
- If you carry a purse, your personal safety might depend on not clinging to it. Although a purse-snatcher’s intent is to steal the purse, the grabbing and shoving that can take place may result in you being injured. Carry a shoulder bag securely between your arm and body. Do not wear it across your body, as an attacker will likely pull you off your feet.
- Do not respond to conversation from strangers on the street – continue walking.
In your car
- Always lock car doors after entering or leaving your vehicle.
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Have your car keys in hand so you don’t have to linger or search for them before entering your car.
- Check the back seat before entering your car.
- If you think you are being followed, drive to a well-lit public place.
- If your car breaks down, open the hood and attach a white cloth to the car antenna. If you have a cell phone, call 911 for help. If someone stops to help, stay in your locked car and ask him to call the local law enforcement agency and a tow truck.
- Don’t stop to aid broken down motorists. Use your cell phone or go to a nearby phone to call help for them.
- When someone drives you home, request the driver wait until you are safely inside.
At the office
- Never leave your purse or billfold in plain view or in the pocket of a jacket hanging on a door or coat rack.
- Mark your personal property with your name or some other form of identification.
- Don’t leave cash or other valuables at the office.
- If you are in an elevator with another person, stand near the control panel. If attacked, press the alarm and as many of the control buttons as possible.
- Be alert to pickpockets on crowded elevators.
- If you work alone or outside of normal business hours, keep the office door locked.
- Report all suspicious persons and activities to the proper authorities (building security, office manager, law enforcement).
- Be aware of escape routes in case of an emergency. Always know two ways out of any area.
- Post emergency numbers near telephones.