Happy New Year!
What’s your 2013 Resolution? How about considering crime prevention?
What’s more important than your family’s safety? We’ll use thus month’s newsletter to review some quick and easy crime prevention tips. The ultimate goal of Crime Prevention is to reduce the risk of being a victim. In order to do this effectively, it is important to remove opportunities for a criminal to take advantage of you or your property.
The MOST important thing YOU can do is CALL THE POLICE to report a CRIME or any SUSPICIOUS activity. You have to be the eyes of your neighborhood. And remember you can always remain a pair of anonymous eyes!
During this time of the year, many people are returning packages and shopping for seasonal offers. Here are some tips about shopping safety:
- Carry purses or bags close to you. Avoid dangling these items from your arms.
- Never leave your packages and personal belongings in an unattended cart.
- Don’t carry more cash than necessary. Most businesses accept debit and credit cards the same as cash.
- Be careful not to display large amounts of cash
- Park in well‐lit areas of parking lots and try to park as close to the business as possible.
- Lock the doors to your vehicle and keep packages hidden in the trunk area or under the seats.
When it comes to Stranger‐Danger, it is important that kids know what to do if they are put in an uncomfortable situation. Three good rules for kids to remember are: 1.) Say “NO” loud and clear, it’s alright to say no to someone you do not know. 2.) Run away and make noise; drawing attention to the situation will most likely make the stranger leave. 3.) Tell a safe adult about what happened and report the incident to local law enforcement.
Together, parents and children can pick a “Secret Password” to use in child safety scenarios. Pick a password that only parents and children will know. Once a password is decided on, do not tell anyone. If someone tries to pick the child up and says, “The parents said it was ok,” the person must know the password. If they don’t, the child should be instructed to say, “No”.
Criminals know when government checks arrive, and may pick that day to steal your mail or worse yet, attack you. Avoid this by using direct deposit. Consider receiving your bank and credit card statements via email.
Proper interior and exterior lighting is very important in deterring Home Burglary. Use interior light timers to establish a pattern of occupancy. Exterior lighting should allow 100 feet of visibility. Use good lighting along the pathway and at your door. Use infra-red motion sensor lights on the rear of single family homes. Alarm systems are also effective deterrents as well as signs.
Windows are left unlocked and open at a much higher rate than doors. An open window, visible from the street or alley, may be the sole reason for your home to be selected by a burglar. Secure all accessible windows with secondary blocking devices. Block accessible windows open no more than six inches for ventilation. Make sure someone cannot reach through an open window and unlock the door. Make sure someone cannot reach inside the window and remove the blocking device.
Always keep your vehicle locked when it is unattended. Don’t keep valuables such as cell phones, lap top computers, pursues or wallets inside your vehicle in plain sight. Even an empty back pack or bag can be inviting to a thief, they won’t know it’s empty. If your vehicle is equipped with an alarm, use it. If you are a victim of theft/burglary to your vehicle report it as soon as possible.
Never give your credit card number, checking account number, Social Security number, or any personal information to an unknown caller. Just say “no” and hang up on anyone who asks for personal information. Don’t ever assume a friendly voice belongs to a friend. Only give your personal information when you have initiated the call and are sure the other party is legitimate.
Lock all doors that access your home or other property while you are gone or sleeping. Set timers for lights if you are gone for an extended period of time. Having lights on when you are gone can give potential criminals the appearance that the home is occupied.
Garages (both attached and unattached) should be locked at all times. Detached garages have a variety of tools (and ladders) that can be used for entry and attached garages provide a burglar a hideaway to work.
Did you receive and gifts during the holidays? Take photos and record serial numbers as soon as practical. You knew bike stolen? A photo and the serial number will be very helpful and may help you to get it back.
Some criminals look at the dashboards of cars. If they see the cigarette lighter is missing, they figure there is at least a possibility that it has been taken out to accommodate a battery charger or power adapter for a cell phone. Unplug your cords and replace the lighter. Don’t give criminals an opportunity. Whether or not you have a cell phone; keep that cigarette lighter just where it belongs when you leave your car. If you do, you’re much less likely to encounter a rude surprise when you come back.
Cold weather is here, no doubt about that. Just dressing to go outside in the morning to warm the car seems to take forever. It would be so easy just to start up the car, run back into that warm, cozy house and have a little more coffee. Not a good idea. In the amount of time it takes to walk into your home someone can steal your vehicle.
Always treat your garage door opener the same way you treat the key to your front door: keep it out of sight and away from strangers. A thief can use the garage door opener to get into your house.
Don’t put off talking to your children about alcohol and other drugs. Open communication is one of the most effective tools you can use in helping your child avoid drug use.
Do you use public transportation?
- Try to use well-lighted and frequently used stops.
- Try to sit near the driver or conductor.
- Avoid sitting near exits. An attacker can reach in and grab a purse or jewelry as the bus or train pulls away.
- Be alert to who gets off the bus or train with you. If you feel uncomfortable, walk directly to a place where there are other people.
Trim back shrubbery hiding doors or windows. Cut back tree limbs that could help a thief climb to second story windows. Make sure all porches, entrances, and yards are well lighted. Maintain the neighborhood. A dark alley, litter, and rundown areas attract criminals.
Install a peephole or viewer in all entry doors so you can see who is outside without opening the door.
Owing a firearm is big responsibility. Record the make, model and serial number. Secure it when it’s not in use. Keep it ways from unsupervised kids.
Take your valuables with you. Do not leave them in your office or at your work space.
Have you joined a new gym? Always lock your locker– make sure your lock is durable.
- 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, checkbook- and then leave it wide open on a counter, a 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 question, you need to change a few habits.
Make your work-place safer. Broken lighting, dark parking lots or broken locks should be promptly reported. Cut back shrubs and de-clutter windows.
Domestic Abuse usually is physical violence such as pushing, shoving, grabbing, pulling, slapping, choking, punching, etc. But it can also mean threatening, harassing, willfully depriving (withholding food, medicine, care, etc.), stalking, or interfering with the victim’s liberty. Pay attention to your friends, family and co-workers. If this sounds familiar, help is available.
Did you know that you can monitor crime in your own neighborhood? You can examine crime maps for any location in Mecklenburg County. Go to: http://charmeck.org/city/charlotte/CMPD/safety/CrimeMap/Pages/default.aspx and try it!