October's Crime Tip of the Month
Tips on Preventing Theft and Home/Apartment
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
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?"
When using an answering machine, do not give out your
phone number or any other personal information in the
"I am out of the office."
"I am not at home at the present time."
"I am away for the weekend."
"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
"I am not available at the present time, but will
return your call as soon as possible."
Don't select an easily detected password (1234, 1111,
Change your password frequently (every 30 days).
Don't write your password down, especially not near
Selecting simple passwords makes hackers jobs even
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
"Who are you?"
"What do you want?"
"Do you have identification?"
refuse to let strangers in for phone calls.
not answer solicitors' questions without proper identification.
never let a solicitor/repair person in without proper
call the repair company to confirm report of service.
Locks, Doors and Windows
Exterior doors should be made of solid hardwood or
Install a 180 degree wide-angle viewer in the exterior
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
Install high quality door locks and dead-bolts with
screws anchored into the wall studs, not just the door
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
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
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
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
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
Before Going On Vacation...
Give an emergency phone number and key to a trusted
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.
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
Ground floor windows need to have well-secured grills
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
Teach your children phone safety. Tell them not to
let anyone know they are home alone or that you are
If you are in the shower, teach your children not to
answer the phone.
Teach children to report a crime if they see something
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.
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
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
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
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:
- An inflated spare tire
- A tire jack
- A heavy-duty lug wrench, screwdriver and pliers
- WD-40 (for loosening lug nuts)
- A flashlight with fresh batteries
- Reflective triangles or flares
- First aid kit
- An old jacket or shirt
- A blanket or sleeping bag
- Duct tape (for sealing leaks, securing bumpers and
- Jumper cables
- Two 1-gallon bottles of water
- Non-perishable food items and a can opener.
- Change for a pay phone
- Local maps and a road atlas
- Pack everything in a container or netting of some
kind to prevent loose supplies from flying around
if you slam on your brakes.