October's Crime Tip of the Month

Tips on Preventing Theft and Home/Apartment Safety


When you receive unidentified phone calls, never give out personal information such as name, age occupation, credit card information, etc.

If the calls are harassing:

Hang up, dial *57 (This will send a trace to the phone company.)

Call 911

Do not give arrival or departure times, vacations or any personal information to an unknown person over the phone, especially if they called the residence.

Do not give any information out to "wrong numbers." Ask "What number are you calling?"

Answering Machines

When using an answering machine, do not give out your phone number or any other personal information in the greeting.

Don't say:

"I am out of the office."

"I am not at home at the present time."

"I am away for the weekend."

Do say:

"Your call is important to me. Please leave your name, phone number and a brief message, and I will get back to you."

"I am glad you called. Please leave your name and number."

"I am not available at the present time, but will return your call as soon as possible."

Voice Mail

Don't select an easily detected password (1234, 1111, 3333, etc.).

Change your password frequently (every 30 days).

Don't write your password down, especially not near your computer.

Selecting simple passwords makes hackers jobs even easier.

Stay away from spouse's names and special dates. Top

Answering the Door

Look through the peephole or out the window.

Ask the following questions before opening the door:

"Who are you?"

"What do you want?"

"Do you have identification?"

You should...

refuse to let strangers in for phone calls.

not answer solicitors' questions without proper identification.

never let a solicitor/repair person in without proper identification.

call the repair company to confirm report of service.

Home Security

Locks, Doors and Windows

Exterior doors should be made of solid hardwood or metal.

Install a 180 degree wide-angle viewer in the exterior door.

Hinged doors should open inward so the hinges can not be removed from the outside.

One inch dead-bolt locks should be used on all hinged doors.

Install high quality door locks and dead-bolts with screws anchored into the wall studs, not just the door frame.

The lock thumb piece of the dead-bolt needs to be 40 inches from breakable glass.

The screws for the dead-bolt locks need to be metal and 3 inches long.

Secure sliding glass doors with a metal charley bar.

Lock sliding glass doors at the top so they can't be lifted.

Keep all doors locked when home alone.

Close and lock windows when leaving your home.

Install a peephole in all outside doorways.

If you insist on having a window open, lock it open, making sure the opening is too small for a person to enter through.

Consider pinning windows that cannot be locked.


Cut back tree limbs and trim bushes from windows and doors for an unobstructed view.

Make sure all porches, entrances, and yards are well lit.
Keep your yard well-maintained. (Don't leave ladders and tools in the yard.)

Basement level windows need special consideration such as double thick glass or metal grates on the windows.

Don't leave valuables such as bicycles and lawnmowers outside and unlocked.

Always lock the garage doors.

Don't hide spare keys outside of the home (i.e. under the door mat).

House numbers should be well lit and displayed so they can be seen by emergency personnel.

Install motion-sensitive lights in vulnerable or denying areas of concealment at night.

General Home Security

Consider owning a dog.

Get to know your neighbors' habits and have them get to know yours.

Photograph your belongings, especially valuables.

Keep a telephone close to your bed.

Have the local police phone number handy at every telephone if you don't have a 911 system.

If someone comes to your door asking to use the phone, have them wait outside, and you make the call.

Purchase a good safe or safe deposit box for special photographs and valuables.

Have an inventory available of all the serial numbers of your personal property and valuable items.

Join operation ID, and engrave all your property with a special ID number.

Consider using video equipment to document all of your personal property and valuable items.

Document all of your credit cards, numbers and cancellation phone in case they are stolen.

Document and keep track of checks that you use, their numbers, the location and numbers of all unused checks and how to cancel them if they are stolen.

Never leave valuables (purse, money, jewelry) in plain view of windows.

Make sure you change the factory code of your garage door opener and receiver once installed.

Don't leave your garage open as an invitation to theft.

Consider using a different name or a maiden name on your mailbox and in the telephone directory.

Use your first initial, not your full name on your mailbox and in the telephone directory.

Remember, you can have your phone number unlisted if you wish.

Consider an alarm system whether monitored or not.

If you do not have an alarm system, place alarm decals on all doors and windows.

Use sheer drapes or blinds to mask windows.

Installing a home security system will aid in the deterrence of criminals.

Before Going On Vacation...

Give an emergency phone number and key to a trusted neighbor.

Use automatic timers to turn indoor lights and, occasionally, a radio on and off at appropriate times.

Set your telephone ringer on low.

Keep your garage door closed and locked.

Notify the local police department that you will be out of town.

Have a trusted neighbor do the following:

Park in your driveway or in front of your house.

Occasionally place garbage in your garbage can.

Mow the lawn or shovel sidewalks if needed.

Check your home for anything unusual.

Pick up your mail and newspapers.

Apartment Security

Choose an apartment building with some type of controlled access to the building's entrance.

Demand adequate lighting for entrances, parking areas, hallway, stairways and laundry rooms.

Fire stairwells should be able to be locked from the stairwell side.

Ground floor windows need to have well-secured grills or grates.

Make sure mailboxes are in a well-traveled area and have good locks.

Ask management to change the exterior door locks to your apartment immediately after moving in.

Be cautious of door-to-door solicitors.

Use first initial only with a last name on mail boxes and for telephone listings.

When entering an elevator, if there is a suspicious looking person, don't get in.

Keep your doors locked when you are home.

Always lock your doors and windows when you are gone.

Management should take corrective measures following a crime in the building to prevent reoccurrence

Encourage the management to host a crime prevention meeting with the police crime prevention unit.

Know your neighbors. Never let a stranger through an apartment security entrance.

Home Security Tips for Children

Instruct children to keep doors and windows locked and never to admit strangers.

Restrict the possession of house keys. Change locks if keys are lost or stolen and when moving into a previously occupied residence.

Teach your children phone safety. Tell them not to let anyone know they are home alone or that you are leaving.

If you are in the shower, teach your children not to answer the phone.

Teach children to report a crime if they see something suspicious.

Set a good example for younger kids. Volunteer to help with community efforts to stop crime.

Instruct the babysitter and children not to give out any information about who is or is not home.

Make a list of phone numbers for children and babysitters to contact you in case of emergencies. Place the list low enough for children to see.

Car Trouble


AAA responded to 28.7 million calls for emergency road service in 2000 -- an increase of approximately 100,000 calls from the previous year.

Fewer than half of the road service calls received by AAA in 2000 -- 44 percent -- resulted in the vehicle being towed for service. The majority of the stranded motorists were able to return to the road with the motor club’s assistance.

Motorists who were unable to start their vehicles -- usually because of battery failure -- accounted for 20 percent of the calls. These vehicles typically required a battery boost or jump-start.

Other reasons AAA members required emergency assistance included lockouts, 15 percent; flat tires, 12 percent; extrication and winching, 1 percent; and out of fuel, 1 percent. Miscellaneous calls were 7 percent of volume.

To prevent such incidents, maintain your vehicle properly.

What To Do If Your Car Breaks Down

Ease off the accelerator, brake gently, signal your intentions and steer to the edge of the road.

Try to identify the problem. Distinguish the difference between smoke and steam.

Call for assistance using a portable phone or car phone if possible.

Raise the hood of the vehicle, and attach a white cloth to the door handle or radio antenna to signal to other driver's that you need assistance.

Stay with the vehicle, and wait for help with your doors locked.

If someone stops to help, ask them to go and call for police to assist you.

Do NOT go with a stranger.

Carry an emergency kit with the following:

  1. An inflated spare tire
  2. A tire jack
  3. A heavy-duty lug wrench, screwdriver and pliers
  4. WD-40 (for loosening lug nuts)
  5. A flashlight with fresh batteries
  6. Reflective triangles or flares
  7. First aid kit
  8. An old jacket or shirt
  9. A blanket or sleeping bag
  10. Duct tape (for sealing leaks, securing bumpers and patching radiators)
  11. Jumper cables
  12. Two 1-gallon bottles of water
  13. Non-perishable food items and a can opener.
  14. Change for a pay phone
  15. Local maps and a road atlas
  16. Pack everything in a container or netting of some kind to prevent loose supplies from flying around if you slam on your brakes.




Copyright © 2002 City of Silver Lake
308 Main St. W., Silver Lake MN 55381-0347
Phone: 320-327-2412 | Fax: 320-327-2299
E-mail: silver.lake.mn@mchsi.com