By Definition, Crime Prevention is: “Being aware that a crime can occur, anticipating its form, location, time and victim, and taking action to reduce the chances of its happening.” There are three elements the criminal must possess for a crime to occur: • Desire • Ability • Opportunity Eliminate just one of these elements and no crime will take place. You have no control over the first two elements. Whether the criminal has the desire or ability to commit the crime is solely up to them. However, you can have great control, if not eliminate, the third element – opportunity. Crime prevention is using instinct, common sense, and action to eliminate or greatly reduce the criminal’s opportunity.
One of the most frequent concerns expressed by emergency responders is not being able to find address numbers displayed on the structure. This includes single family homes, duplexes, apartments and businesses. Saving time looking for numbers could mean the difference between life and death.
- Wear your Helmet!
- Obey traffic regulations (same as for cars)
- Yield to pedestrians and be polite –
- Don’t ride double if your bicycle is not equipped with a second seat
- Keep to the right
- Walk bicycle through busy intersections
- Yield to cars
- Beware of parked cars
- Signal before you turn
- Don’t wear headphones (you can’t hear cars, sirens or people)
- Use lights on bicycles when riding at night.
- Don’t open your door unless you can identify the person.
- At night, keep your outside light on at all times to help you and your neighbors see who is at your door.
- If a stranger needs help, you can call 911 without opening your door.
- Always confirm identities from repair persons before opening your door.
Open garage doors allow opportunity for someone to steal things from inside the garage or enter in the door that leads into your house. Current favorite items to steal include sports equipment such as golf clubs and bags, bicycles, power tools, radar detectors, car stereos, cell phones and laptop computers. Close and lock the garage door when not in use.
A gun is a magnet to a child, who too often mistakes it for a toy. Tragically, hundreds of children are killed or permanently disabled each year by guns kept in their own homes. Investing a few moments of time now to ensure your guns are safely secured can prevent the needless loss of life and the possibility of criminal penalties. Safely storing and securing guns from children will help prevent accidents and save lives.
- Check the costume to see if it is made of a fire resistant material.
- Use face makeup instead of a mask or make sure children can see well.
- Parents should go with younger children.
- Remind children of the dangers associated with crossing and walking along the streets at night.
- Use a flashlight at night or go out while there is still daylight.
- Only visit homes you know with the porch light on.
- Only give and accept commercially wrapped or packaged candy.
- Parents should examine all treats before letting children eat them.
Holiday Shopping Safety
This time of year is when many of will be busy shopping and running errands to be ready for the holidays. During these festive times:
- Know your surroundings.
- Keep an eye on the people in front and behind you.
- Look for suspicious persons or situations when you are in any area.
- Shop with a friend or relative. There is safety in numbers.
- Remember where you park your car. Park your vehicle in a well-lit area.
- Place cell phones, GPS devices, holiday packages and other valuables out of sight.
- Lock your vehicle doors and shut your windows.
- Carry your purse close to your body.
- Don’t display large amounts of cash.
- Approach your vehicle with your keys already in your hand.
- Don’t approach your car if anyone is standing nearby.
Household Readiness Kit
Are you prepared for a storm? Have a household readiness kit in the event of any unexpected disruption to services. This kit should contain all the supplies you would need to be self-sufficient for up to 72 hours for each family member. Store the supplies in easy-to-carry containers such as a backpack or duffel bag.
- A supply of water (one gallon per person per day). Store water in sealed, unbreakable containers. Identify the storage date and replace every six months.
- A supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food and a non-electric can opener.
- A change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes/boots.
- Blankets or sleeping bags.
- A first aid kit and prescription medications.
- An extra pair of glasses.
- A battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries.
- Credit cards and cash.
- An extra set of car keys.
- A list of family physicians.
- A list of important family information and the style and serial number of medical devices such as pacemakers.
- Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members.
- A full tank of gas per car.
- Alternative cooking and heating sources.
- Change all the batteries for smoke and CO detectors prior to the first of the year.
ID TheftCheck and Credit Card Fraud
- ID TheftCheck and Credit Card Fraud is a real business for crooks.
- TEAR UP or shred all old and unused checks and credit cards. This includes any applications you receive in the mail that you do not want to keep.
- PROTECT your checks and credit cards at home. Lock up your supply, even from family and friends.
- While shopping, KEEP all checks and credit cards in your possession. Do not leave purses and wallets unattended. Don’t leave them in your car.
- At work, SECURE all checks and credit cards. Don’t leave purses and wallets exposed.
What actions should I take if I become a victim?
PRIORITIES: (should be done within 24 hrs.)
- File a report with your local law enforcement agency.
- Obtain a copy of your police report for your records.
- Contact all vendors and banks that have been tampered with and let them know you are a victim of fraud. If applicable, have the accounts for the compromised checks, credit cards, etc. closed.Other Actions you can take
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at (877) 438-4338.
- Complete the ID Theft Affidavit on the FTC web site and complaint form for a report. www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/resources/forms/affidavit.pdf
- Notify the Social Security Administration to replace Social Security or Medicare/Medicaid cards. DO NOT obtain a new Social Security number. You will lose your credit history. (http://www.ssa.gov/)
- Contact any of the below listed credit bureaus to add protection to your file.
- Check with the Department of Motor Vehicles to see if a duplicate driver’s license has been taken out in your name.
How to handle contacts from collection agencies
- Draft letter explaining you are the victim of fraud and include the police report number.
- Keep copies of all correspondence sent to creditors.
- Mail a copy of the police report and the letter to the collection agency.
- Equifax: 800-685-1111 or 800-525-6285; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374; www.equifax.com
- Experian: 888-397-3742; PO Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013, www.experian.com.
- TransUnion: 800-888-4213 or 800-680-7289; P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022; www.transunion.com.
While at Home- Personal Safety For Adults
- Use the locks that you have on your home.
- Lock your car when parked and unattended.
- Install a Peephole, if you don’t have one. Don’t answer the door unless you can see the person outside.
- If you are consistently receiving hang-up telephone calls or obscene telephone calls, call the police and report the incidents. The police report can be the first detail to provide information to the telephone company to help trace the call.
- Use an answering machine to screen unwanted telephone calls and provide evidence to the police if the calls warrant a police report.
Use the outside lights on your home. Use timers on interior lights when you are away from home or get a neighbor to turn on the lights.
When walking, walk with a purpose, i.e. head up, alert, steady pace. Pay attention to your surroundings. Avoid walking in the dark and around isolated areas. If you suspect a car is following you, turn around and walk in the opposite direction, then get help. Walk with a buddy as we teach our children to play with buddies.
Personal Safety For Children
- TEACH your child their full name, address and phone number.
- KNOW your children’s friends. BE INVOLVED in their activities, LISTEN and BE SENSITIVE to their behavior or attitude.
- NEVER allow your child to play in the street.
- PROVIDE your child with good bicycle safety procedures. Have them WEAR a bicycle helmet.
- NEVER allow your child to go into someone’s home without your permission.
- INSTRUCT your child to contact a store employee if they should become lost or separated from you.
- STRANGERS are people you don’t know. Children should not contact or go with a stranger. Make up a PASSWORD that only you share with your child. That way if a STRANGER tells your child that you need help, your child will ask for a PASSWORD.
- Your child should NEVER tell a stranger on the phone or at the door that they are home alone. DO NOT open the door to strangers. COMMUNICATE through a closed door.
- USE SAFETY BELTS and SAFETY SEATS.
Never leave your child unattended in the car. Each week many vehicles become targets of thieves. Monetary losses from contents taken are high but sometimes the damage caused by the thieves cost more than the property taken. The following tips may help:
Try to park your vehicle in a locked garage.
- If you do not have an enclosed garage, try parking in your driveway as close as possible to the house. Remove your remote garage door opener to prevent the thief from gaining access to your garage and house at that time or later.
- Leave outside lights on to your residence to illuminate where your car is parked.
- If you have to park on a street or a parking lot, park in a well-lit area.
- Lock all the doors and roll up the windows.
- Secure all valuable out of sight in the trunk or remove them from the car daily.
- If your vehicle is a pick-up or other truck, remove exposed equipment or property. Secure equipment in permanently mounted storage or tool boxes with high quality locks.
- Do not attempt to interrupt a suspected crime yourself! If your vehicle has been broken into, report it to the police as soon as possible. Avoid touching the vehicle until the police have responded to process the scene for possible evidence.