Don't Be A Victim! - Crime Prevention Tips to Keep you and your Property Safe
Understand the importance of ‘target hardening’, a mindset of looking for potential weaknesses and denying suspects access. Simple steps can be taken to ensure the safety of our homes while maintaining the aesthetic beauty of our homes. Steps such as strong deadbolt locks and sliding window locks, lawn and porch lighting particularly in shaded areas, ensure shrubs are neatly manicured and allow unobstructed views of vulnerable doors and windows from the street and sidewalks, and consider using thorny plants that are naturally appealing but create a deterrent to unwanted entry, are a few ways to maintain a secure, but attractive home.
When you Are Away
- Leave drapes and shades open. Closed drapes and shades indicate an unoccupied house.
- Have your lawn taken care of. Dry uncut grass says that you're away.
- Never leave a note on your door saying that you are not home.
- Take care with your keys… Don't leave a key under a doormat, flower pot or on a ledge. Burglars look in these locations first.
- Get to know your neighbors. Consider enjoying your front yard for picnics, potlucks and sharing friendly conversation with neighbors. An active neighborhood with engaged residents serves as a deterrent to crooks.
- Ask your local police to check your home periodically when you will be gone for an extended period. Also, talk to them about Neighborhood Watch Programs.
- Leave a radio on. Turn it to a talk radio station, if possible, and turn the volume loud enough to be heard outside. This indicates that someone is home. Turn you phone ringer or bell down so that a prowler can't hear the phone ringing.
- Don't keep expensive jewelry at home unless you have a secure safe. All valuables and important documents should be kept in a safe or a safe deposit box.
- Ask a neighbor to use your garbage cans. Empty cans can be a tip off that you are away.
- Ask someone to park in your driveway. This gives the illusion that someone is home.
When you Are Home
- Put peepholes in front doors. Those with magnifying glass lens are best. You can see who's outside without opening the door. Consider door chains too.
- Light the outside of your home. Exterior lights should illuminate doors, dark spots and yards. Put interior lights on timers to simulate that someone is home.
- Never leave an ignition key in your car and never put a house key on your ignition key ring.
- If you have a dog or an alarm system, display "BEWARE" signs. These deter thieves.
- Look into an alarm system. There are hundreds of different systems on the market in all price ranges.
- Consult a reputable locksmith. He can give you advice on the best type of locks for your home.
- Keep shrubbery trimmed. Thick or tall shrubbery can hide windows/doors. This gives a thief a place to work unseen.
- Remain alert to strangers in the neighborhood. Do not hesitate to call your police department to report suspicious persons or activities.
- Mark valuable items with your California Drivers License number. Televisions, stereos, etc., are items a thief is likely to steal. Keep a list of these items, along with their serial numbers, in a safe place.
- Secure patio doors. A steel or wooden rod in the guide channel will work. A pin type lock may also be used for added security.
- Keep your garage door down and locked. This helps protect property stored inside. While you are away, electric doors should be disconnected and padlocked.
- Make an inventory of items in your home. Take photos of valuable items. Keep one copy for yourself and give the other to your insurance company. Video record your entire home and all rooms containing your property and valuables.
- Don't leave your car running unattended.
- Don't leave keys in the car or ignition.
- Never leave children unattended in a vehicle, even for a minute. It is not only unsafe, it is against the law.
- While shopping, please leave pets at home, not in the car. Roll up your windows and lock the car.
- Don't leave valuables or purchases in plain sight.
- Park in high-traffic and well-lighted areas when possible.
- Don't leave mail, personal identification or other important documents in your vehicle.
- If your vehicle is stolen, report it to the police immediately.
- Be alert to your surroundings at all times. Check for suspicious activity or people loitering before you park and exit your car.
- At night, park in a well-lit area and as close to the stores as possible. Hold your keys in your hand, ready to use, when you return to your car
- When returning to your car, look around to see if anyone is following you or standing near your car. If you see anything suspicious, return to the store and notify the manager or call the police.
- Avoid ATM machines at night unless they are inside a store, and avoid carrying a lot of cash.
- If you become separated from your children while shopping, notify the store security officer, the store manager, and call the police as soon as possible. Be prepared to give police a complete description of what your child was wearing. Teach your children to never leave the store with anyone but you, and to contact a store employee at a cash register if they get lost or separated from you while shopping.