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Tips for personal and residential safety

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In addition to being aware of what is going on in your community, citizens can keep the following suggestions in mind to help maintain their safety at home:

  • Lock your vehicle every night and keep all personal property indoors. This includes your keys.
  • Keep garage doors shut and locked to avoid access to your residence and property.
  • Install lights around the exterior of your house for evening/night time hours. If you do not want to leave lights on for extended periods of time, install motion sensor lights.
  • Install an alarm system on your house, and use it.
  • Keep all doors to your residence locked, even while inside and outside your residence. It is possible that while you are distracted in your backyard, someone may enter your home through an unlocked front door while you are preoccupied.
  • Do not keep spare keys in the immediate vicinity of your residential entrances.
  • Install a peephole in your door.
  • Install deadbolt locks.
  • Put jewelry and valuables in a locked safe with the code in a separate location. Be sure the safe is too large or heavy for someone to carry.
  • Keep blinds/curtains closed at night. It is easy to view inside a lit residence, especially when it is dark outside.
  • While away on vacation:
    • Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your house.
    • Notify the alarm company and advise the police department in case of emergency.
    • Request the Postal Service hold your mail until you return, and do the same for newspaper subscriptions.
    • Set timers on lights so it appears the home is occupied.
    • Do not post that you are going on vacation on social media websites, and do not set voicemail/answer machines indicating when you will return.
  • Shred all personal information before throwing it away. This includes any documentation that has your legal name, birthday, social security number, driver’s license number, and bank information.
  • Keep personal information in a secure location if you keep it for record purposes.
  • Do not give any personal information over the phone or through email. Criminals often disguise themselves as someone from a bank or financial institution in an attempt to gain your personal information for identity theft.

While away from your residence, be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. Do not be embarrassed to make a scene if you feel threatened. The following tips can help you maintain your safety while you are away from home:

  • Stay in lit areas when in parking lots, parking structures, streets, and stairwells.
  • Keep your keys in your hand while walking to your vehicle, and lock the door as soon as you get in.
  • Avoid looking through bags and looking at cell phones. Criminals target individuals who appear distracted and are easy to surprise.
  • Do not leave valuables in your vehicle, such as a GPS unit. Navigation units often have stored addresses which could lead a suspect to your home.
  • Travel with a companion, or ask someone from the business/residence you are visiting to watch you walk to your car.
  • Do not stop to pick up hitchhikers. If you believe someone needs assistance, call 911 and report the situation.
  • While exercising outdoors, keep headphones out of your ears or on low volume so you can hear someone approaching. Vary your exercise route and try to stay in well illuminated areas that are well traveled.
  • If you see a suspicious person, do not hesitate to report them to authorities.
  • If someone approaches you that you do not know, go to the nearest business or residence.
  • Minimize the amount of time you spend at an ATM. Stay alert of your surroundings and individuals who are loitering in the area.
  • Keep purchases locked in your trunk and out of sight.
  • Keep photocopies of your credit card and banking information at home in case your purse or wallet is lost/stolen. Keep those photocopies in a well secure location.
  • Keep receipts with you, not with your purchased items.
  • Accompany your children EVERYWHERE.