Community Crime Prevention Handbook

Community Crime Prevention Handbook
n the surface, the role of the police is straightforward: maintain order and enforce the law. Doing so
effectively re~u:res a partn~rship between ~eople. and their .p~lice. To create such a partnership, the King
County Shenff s Office relies on Commumty Onented Pohcmg.
Community Oriented Policing is based on the recognition of some
basic principles:
+ Professional success requires partnership. Just as health care
relies on the partnership between you and your doctor, law
enforcement needs cooperation between you, your community
and the police.
+ Partnerships require understanding. The police must learn the
community's problems, its point of view, its desires. The
community must get to know the police- what they can do,
how to work with them and how to talk to them.
+ A partnership must be ongoing. If these things can be
achieved, the community will see its needs met and feel safer.
As a result, more people will report problems, work with the
police to solve them, and the process will repeat.
That, in a'nutshell, is Community Oriented Policing. It recognizes
the nee~,! /~r understanding on both sides, and for a partnership to
make it' work.
Education: is another important aspect of success. We want to
involve ,th,e public in our business, meet you, explain what we do
and why we do it, and ask for your opinions. Our training involves
considnable education about cultural differences, the need for
respect1 and developing an appreciation of our role as helpers, not
just patrollers. For citizens, education means learning how and why
the police;work, knowing your officers, and speaking up about the
problems Jn your community.
Citizens can do four things to prevent
crime and improve the quality of life
in your neighborhood.
Be alert to suspicious activity, and
call police immediately if you
think a crime has happened or is
about to take place. If you don't
call, the police cannot respond.
Work with your local King County
Sheriff's Office precinct or storefi·ont, or your local police. You can
provide useful information for
preventing crime and crimerelated problems.
Support efforts in your community
to solve problems and attack the
root causes of crime. Get involved
with a Block Watch, neighborhood
beautification project, or business
Adopt the crime prevention
philosophies and techniques in this
handbook. Criminals look for easy
targets; protect your home and
your personal surroundings, and
you will discourage crime.
Block Watches are programs in which neighbors watch each other's property.
Whenever you are home, you should be alert to what's going on in your
neighborhood. A police officer may not recognize strangers in your neighborhood, but you and your neighbors will. You can then call police if the person
is acting suspiciously.
How d'oesit work?.
The program works through cooperation: neighbors watching out for neighbors. Neighbors know who you are and what car you drive. They may be
the llrst to notice a burglar at your door or window.
Block Watches are not intended to be a substitute for police; they should not become patrols or vigil;mte groups.
You are asked to report situations to police and let them handle it.
How do I start a Block Watch?
First, call the crime prevention unit at your local KCSO precinct or police department. You can set a elate and time
for a meeting. and arrange for an officer to attend.
Second, personally invite your neighbors and friends to attend. You can hold the meeting at your home, a club, a
library, or even the precinct or police station.
Finally, stay committed by holding frequent meetings with your Block Watch members and staying alert in your
What do I watch for?
Strange vehicles, suspicious persons, and people removing valuables from homes or vehicles are good indicators
that something may be wrong. Also, listen for the sound of breaking windows or wood, or screams that indicate
fear. Watch for people going door to door or driving around the neighborhood. Finally, watch for people being
forced into cars, anyone shining a flashlight into a home, or people loitering.
If you see something suspicious, write down a description of the person and their vehicle (including make, model,
color, and license number). Then call police (911) immediately. On the next page, you can find instructions for
reporting a crime.
What else can I do?
Exchange work and vacation schedules with a neighbor you can trust so you can keep an eye on each other's
homes. Neighbors should also be able to contact
you; be sure to give them home, work, and
cellular phone numbers. If you know that your
neighbor is. away and you see an obvious invitation to 0 burglar, correct it. Close the open garage
door and terrtove the newspapers from the
doorstep. Collect their mail.
It takes effort .to become acquainted with your
neighbors and build the trust needed for a good
Block Watch. The result is worth the effort.
+., -
hete are many ways to secure your home and protect yourself and your belongings from crime. Time,
noise, and light are a burglar's worst enemies. With a little effort, you can create deterrents to property
. damage or loss. If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact your local crime prevention officers.
Use the'picture below to think about areas of your house where you can improve safety, and then use the technitjllGs inthis book to take action. Your first consideration should be what security features your home has now,
and,l!ow they can be used more effectively. Most burglaries take place because people did not use existing safety
rne.asures such as door and window locks. Criminals look for easy targets, so prevention starts with you.
Windows should have strong
locks. Keep them closed and
When you leave home, turn on
some interior lights. Use a timer
to turn them on and otT.
I, I :
, Keep your shrubs low: your
privacy is a burglar's privacy
too. Discourage thieves by
1 I
Exterior doors should be solid core
or metal with sturdy frames. Dead
bolt locks are a must.
Put sufficient lighting at
entrances. A '10-watt bulb
provides safety, security, and
energy el1ic1ency.
Garage doors
always be closed and
There are three types of doors available: hollow core, solid wood/
solid wood core, and metal.
Hollow Core
Hollow core doors are made from thin sheets of wood veneer
glued over a wood frame with a cardboard insert.
Solid Wood/Solid Wood Core
Hollow Core
These doors are made from solid wood or a wood veneer that is
glued over a solid wood core.
·-··----- ------ Metal doors are constructed with a thin metal sheet that is glued
Metal Door
over a solid wood core.
The Right Door for Your Needs
For exterior doors, including doors from your home to your garage,
you should use solid wood core or metal doors. The doors should be at
least P/1 inches thick, and should not have glass or thin wood panels.
Hollow core doors are good for closets or other interior uses.
Solid Core
The best way to deal with problem doors is to replace them with
more secure doors. If you can't replace the door, consider taking the
following steps.
Sliding patio doors
Sliding patio doors should have the type oflocking mechanism that
vertically secures the top and bottom of the door to the track. If the
only lock is from the handle to the wall, then additional steps
should be taken to secure the door.
Keyed locks that attach to the top and bottom of the sliding door
can be installed. Locks that can be hand-tightened may be safer in
a fire; check with your local fire department.
A less expensive way to secure the door is to place a snug-fitting
wooden dowel or other piece of wood into the track to block the
door from opening. This method, however, is easily defeated from
outside with something as simple as a paper clip. Factory-made
bars that mount on the wall side of the doorway and swing clown to
lock the door in place (Charlie Bars) are another option. These
bars are not as secure as locks at the top and bottom of the door.
Pet Doors
Althou~h pet doors are convenient for pet owners, they can be an easy
Fire Safety Alert!
point of entry for a burglar. Some burglars are small enough to fit
through pet doors, and others enlist the aiel of a smaller person to enter
the home and unlock a door or window for them.
Garage Doors
Garage doors are another weak link in home security. If you use an
automatic door opener, change the internal code from the factory
setting. Consult the owner's manual for instructions. Since garage
doors,can be easily defeated, you must use a solid wood or metal door
with a dead bolt and strike plate between the garage to the house.
When you leave on vacation, consider unplugging the door to prevent
accidental opening.
Storm Doors
Storm doors are not security doors. They provide only minimal
privacy protection and cannot be relied on for any security. They
are designed only for protection from the weather.
Exterior doors should not have hinges with the hinge pins on the
outside. If the hinges are on the outside, you should replace the
door or secure the hinges with a non-removable pin. You can
purchase hinges with non-removable pins at most hardware or
home improvement stores.
You have three options for securing
outside doors with glass panels.
Install a clear, unbreakable
polycarbonate panel over the
glass on the inside of the door
or use the panel to replace the
existing glass. Fasten the panel
securely on the inside of the
Install grated wire mesh, a
wrought iron grille, or decorative wire grate over the glass.
Be sure intruders would not
have access through the grates
to your locks.
Install a clear anti-penetration
protective film over the glass.
A viewer {peep hole) allows you to see who is on the other side of
your door. All exterior doors should have one installed at eye level.
You can purchase viewers at most home improvement stores.
Locks are your first line of defense against intruders. There are a
few types of door locks, and some are better than others at deterring
burglars and preventing crime.
Door Knob Locks
You can purchase two types of door knob locks: spring latch and
dead latch.
The deadla tch locks provide slightly more security than spring
latch locks. Nevertheless, these locks offer only minimal protection,
and should be used on interior doors. If you use a door knob lock
on an exterior door, it should be supplemented with a dead bolt
Dead Bolt Locks
Dead bolt locks offer the best protection, so they should be used on
all exterior doors. Be sure that the locks you use have bolts that
extend at least one inch into the wall, and that the locks are made
of solid metal with no exposed exterior screws. Some dead bolt
locks also offer free-spinning collars; these prevent intruders from
removing the cylinder with a wrench or vice grips.
Dead bolt locks come in two types: single cylinder and double
cylinder. Single cylinder locks operate with a key from the outside
and a thumb lever on the inside. Double cylinder locks use a key
both inside and out. Double cylinder locks offer better protection;
if a burglar enters the house through a window, he or she cannot
open the door without a key. The burglar would have to exit
through the window, limiting the objects that can be removed.
Double cylinder locks can pose a fire safety hazard, so you must
consider your options and choose the best solution for your home.
Vertical Deodbolts
Vertical dead bolts are another lock option; they are used primarily
to secure double doors. The lock is secured to its mating plate with
pins that make it difficult to pry. Double doors are not as secure as
a single door because you cannot secure the lock to the wall frame.
Vertical dead bolts also come in single or double cylinder models.
Dead bolt locks must be locked when you leave your home. If you
pull your door shut and walk away, the door is not locked.
Security Strike Plates
In addition to the dead bolt, you should install a security strike plate
on the door frame. The strike plate is heavy metal and is anchored
to the door frame with 3 l/2 inch screws that secure it to the wall
stud. The plate and screws make it more difficult for a burglar to
force the door open. Check your existing doors; many contractors
do not use long screws when installing strike plates.
Even if you use solid core doors and dead bolt locks on the entrances to your home, you may still be vulnerable. Burglars often
use a technique called spreading. To do this, they insert a wedge
between the door frame and the wall. The frame bows under the
pressure, allowing the intruder to enter your home.
If you install doors, be sure that you place solid blocks between the
frame and wall at the top, bottom, and middle of the door.
To strengthen ~xisting f!·ames, install large (3-4 inch) screws through
the doorstop strip and frame. These screws should extend into the
wall studs. The screws will pull the door frame and dom·strip tightly
against the main wall.
Door Wedges
Good exterior lights are one of the best burglary deterrents available
because they keep would-be burglars from concealing themselves in
the dark. There are several types oflights to consider, including the
A wedge is inexpensive, and when
two steel pins are inserted into the
floor, the door may be opened only
a few inches. The pins prevent the
wedge from slipping if
force is applied to the
door from the outside.
Wedges are useful for
bedroom doors
because they can slow
clown intruders.
+ High pressure sodium or mercury vapor lights attached to timers
are very effective tools.
+ Passive infrared sensors turn on lights if they detect movement.
+ A forty-watt light at each entrance, including the garage, will
provide you with both safety and security.
The shrubs that provide you with privacy also give a burglar a place
to hide. Prune bushes clown to two feet or trim trees up to at least
four feet. Avoid having trees or tree branches near windows. If you
want privacy, consider planting shrubs that have large thorns.
Install your house numbers so that the police, fire, and medical
services can readily identify your house, both in daylight and
darkness. Be sure the color of your numbers contrasts with your
home's color, and that lights do not cause glare or rd1ections that
make the numbers hard to read. If your house has sidewalks or
curbs, paint the numbers on the curb (check your local regulations
before painting).
Chain Locks
Many homes also have chain locks,
and people often use these as night
latches. Chain locks are usually
mounted with short screws and have
weak chains. They are not recommended as a primary security
device. All exterior doors should be
secured with
dead bolt
Many burglars may try to enter a house through a window, either
by opening it or breaking the glass. Often, they will open the
window catch with a pry bar or a sharp, pointed object. Other
burglars will try to remove a pane of glass by removing the glazing
spline or putty with a knife. Still others may break the glass, reach
in, and release the window catch. You can protect your home by
reinforcing the glass in the windows and by making windows more
difficult to open.
Fire Safety Alert!
Windows can provide a fast exit in a fire or other emergency. When
you secure your windows against burglary, be sure to plan for good
emergency escape routes. Your local fire department can afTer
Normal window pane glass is about l/8 inch thick and easily
broken. You should consider replacing this glass with pane glass,
which is thicker and stronger, or tempered glass, which is stronger
and will not cut someone who breaks it. The following glasses and
plastics are arranged in descending order ofbreak resistance.
tlighest Resistance (Unbreakable)
+ Polycarbonate plastic vinyl-bonded
laminated glass, Yz inch thick or more
+ Acrylic plastic sheets, at least 3/8 inch thick
Medium Resistance (Vandal-Resistant)
+ Wired glass, V4 inch thick
+ Laminated glass, l/8 inch thick
+ Acrylic plastic, 1/8 inch thick, depending on specific chemical
Medium Resistance (Break-Resistant)
+ Pia te glass, V4 inch thick
+ , Conventional float or sheet window glass, more than V4 inch
Tempered plate glass, at least l/8 inch thick
Shatter-Resistant Window Film
\\. 1
You can also secure a window by placing transparent polyester film
on the inside glass. The film holds the glass together if the window
is broken. Film is especially useful for sidelights and windows that
could offer access to inside doorknobs and catches.
Heavy Duty Screens
Heavy duty security screens with a minimum of 3/4 inch times
number 9 wire mesh ccm protect vulnerable areas. If possible, install
the mesh on the inside of the window. If you must install the mesh
on the outside, use one-way screws or a 3-inch lag bolt to make
removal more difficult.
r"c>r· heovy duty screens,
use ot Ieos I :y, inch lin,es #9 mesh.
'!r inch
Ornamental Grillwork
Grillwork can protect windows that are vulnerable, but they are not
recommended if you are using these areas as a fire exit. Check your
local fire· codes before installing grillwork.
There are 'several ways to secure a double-hung window. The
simplest method is to place a snugly-fitting 3/4-inch dowel on both
sides of the window, above the bottom frame.
A second option is to drill a hole through the sliding portion of the
window halfway into the stationary portion. Then, place a strong
nail into the hole. You can place another hole about four inches
above the first so that you can open the window for ventilation but
still leave it secure.
A final option to install keyed or twist locks above the sliding
portion of the window. If you use keyed locks, keep a key nearby in
case you need an emergency exit.
If the window slides on an inside track, place a snugly-fitting metal
rod or wooden dowel in the bottom track to keep the window from
being forced open. Charlie Bars serve the same function (please see
page 9). The rod or dowel should be a 1/2-inch diameter; if the
span is over three feet, use a 3/4-inch diameter rod.
Some windows can be secured with a pin in the bottom track.
Close your window and drill at a downward angle through the
inner frame and halfway into the outer frame. The hole should be
slightly larger than a nail. Slide a pin or nail into the hole. You
should riot do this with insulated windows.
Many sliding windows have considerable space between t:he
window and the top of the track. This allows the window to be
removed easily, making repair simple. Unfortunately, it also
makes a burglar's task much easier. Keep your windows in
their tracks by installing screws or spacers in the upper track of
the windows.
or Spacers
Drill ho!..=:s,
ihen ploo.1
noil~i·or screws
nt on1:! of
. ;thnsl': ~;pols.
Push-out windows provide ample opportunity for a small person to
enter your horne. To secure them, drill a hole through the locking
portion of the handle and into the frame. A pin can then be inserted
to stop the opening action. A screw offers a more permanent
solution, but can also pose a fire safety hazard.
Although louvered windows may be very attractive, the panels are
easy to remove and they cannot be properly secured. The best
option is to replace louvered windows.
Washington State Burglar
.and Fire Alarm Association
Your. Local Better Business Bureau
Your Local Chamber of Commerce
Washington State Attorney
General Consumer Protection
Your Local Sheriff/Police
Crime Prevention Unit
Selecting an ala rrn system or alarm system corn pany can be a
daunting task. Although your local Sheriff or Police Department
cannot recommend a specific company, we can offer a few tips to
guide you in making a decision.
Consult several reputable alarm system companies. You
should get competitive quotes and information about what
services are offered. Obtain written proposals and estimates that
include the company's recommendations and all associated cost
factors, inc! uding permits or inspections if required.
Ask the company representatives several questions, including
the following.
+ Are they and the installers licensed and bonded?
+ Do they subcontract or use company installers?
+ Do they carry insurance to cover damage done to your
property during installation?
+ Does the system have a battery backup? If so, how is the
battery recharged, and how often does it need replacing?
+ What is the written guarantee on parts and labor and the
length of the warranty?
+ Are there service charges after installation?
+ What is the policy on false alarm billings?
+ What is the policy on cancelling alarm services? Is there a
minimum contract term?
+ Who owns the system?
+ Can you get an unrnonitored system at the same price?
·Conduct research at your local library to learn about hardwired and non-wired systems, as well as the types of sensors
that are available. Keep in mind that most systems can be
bypasse;d by cutting the phone lines. Consider wireless backups
and "cloning" to another close phone line in case your line is
cut by burglars. Ask about "panic" alarms and where the siren
or noisemaker will be installed. You may want to consider
portable key pads.
Decid~. if you need a local alarm or monitored system. Local
alarm.· s activate a bell, siren and/or strobe light outside your
home or business. Monitored systems have a contract with your
alarm company to monitor your alarm system 24 hours a day
via your telephone line. They will call police or fire services if
your system is activated. Ask what their response process and
response time will be.
Make sure your alarm system and any planned installation
is in compliance with local ordinances. Most jurisdictions
now have or plan to have ordinances that govern the number
of false alarms you may have before fines are assessed. You are
responsible for all false alarms and compliance with ordinances
and the permitting process. When your alarm is installed, insist
that the alarm company teach you to correctly operate the
system, including panic codes.
Consider. having fire and smoke sensing systems integrated
into your alarm system (they are required in all new homes).
They will not only cut your losses in case of a fire but also may
cut your insurance cos~.
Be sure your system alarms for a short period of time and
then shuts clown. The alarm should then rearm itselffor the
next intruder or attempted intrusion.
Contact prior and/or current users of the alarm company and
ask opinion.
Prominently display the decals
supplied by your alarm company
on your doors and windows to
deter criminals.
Be sure your alarm system has a
reliable battery back up. You
should test batteries at least every
six months, replacing them if
necessary. To remind yourself, test
your alarm system when you test
your smoke detectors.
Be sure you update your security
company at least annually with
your information, addresses of
respondents, phone numbers and
vacation plans.
To reduce the chances ofburglary while you are on vacation, you
should complete the home security upgrades noted in this book.
Repairs on locks, doors, and lighting, as well as the personal
property inventory and Operation ID should all be done before
you leave.
In addition, you should take the following steps. Photocopy this
page and use it as your vacation checklist.
If you have any questions
about your home security or
security on your trip, call your local
Sheriff or Police Department
Crime Prevention Officer.
NotifY responsible neighbors or relatives of your itinerary and
contact numbers. Ask your Block Watch Captain to coordinate
house checks. Choose a trusted friend or neighbor to be your
representative while you are gone.
Notify your local Sheriff/Police Department or storefront and
alarm company about your schedule and leave your local
representative's numbers as well as your away contact numbers.
Arrange to have the Post Office stop delivering your mail until
you return, or arrange for it to be picked up regularly by your
Cancel all normal deliveries such as milk and newspapers, or
arrange for your representative pick them up.
l; q.j!
5. Ask your representative to help you make your home look
occupied. He or she should mow your lawn or shovel your
walk, collect any brochures or information left on your door or
in the yard, and open and close your drapes.
Do not leave any easily stolen objects such as power mowers,
garden hoses, lawn chairs, and bicycles in your yard.
Hide all valuable or irreplaceable items, (e.g., jewelry, computers, firearms, important papers, or checkbooks) in a safe place
such as a safety deposit box or home safe. You could also leave
them with a trusted friend or relative (check your insurance
coverage). Make sure your horne inventory is up to elate and
keep copies in separate safe locations.
Unplug your garage door opener so that your garage doors are
secure. Consider placing a padlock through the track for extra
Consider moving your motor vehicle(s) to a different location
until you return, or have your representative move them
regularly to make it appear as if you are home.
10. Avoid publicity about your trip until you return.
ou can do a lot to prevent a vehicle theft. Have you read how easy it is for a car thief to enter a locked
vehicle? The truth is that in many cases, the keys were left in the ignition. You need to remove the
opportunity for a crime to take place.
lock Your Car
Lock all doors and windows to avoid being a target.
Don't leave Your Car Running
Leaving your car running and unoccupied may seem convenient,
especially to warm the car in winter, but it's an invitation to a thief
Install Anti-Theft Devices
Installing an anti-theft device such as a locking device for your
steering wheel or ignition cut device tells a potential thief that you
<1re protecting your vehicle. A car alarm is a deterrent and will
detect any attempt at an intrusion and help protect the car's contents.
Remove Valuables
Remove all items of value or place them in the trunk of your
vehicle. Cell phones, briefcases, loose change, and tape or CD
players 'are obvious targets for criminals.
Be Smart When You Park
Parkir/a:safe, well-lit area where it would be difficult for someone
to t~unp~r;vvith your vehicle. At home, use your garage or park as
close to,your residence as possible, preferably off the street.
Prote~t Your Registration
Keep 'your vehicle registration in a secure location in the car. Keep
your title at home or in a safe deposit box.
Protect Yourself in Your Car
Nevh pick up a hitchhiker, it's just not safe. Remember to keep
yo'u'l·. d~ors locked at all times. If someone approaches your car, do
n'otr'open the door or window; if possible, drive away.
Auto Theft and larceny
Police refer to auto theft as motor
vehicle theft. If a person takes your
car without your permission, it is
considered motor vehicle theft. That
person may be punished by up to
five years in prison.
If someone enters your vehicle and
steals the contents (e.g., a tape deck
or wallet), police refer to the case as
a Larceny TFA (taken from auto).
Who Steals Cars?
Car thieves are often amateurs,
under the age of20, who will take a
car for the thrill of joy riding.
Professionals who steal cars may sell
them with a phony registration or
dismantle them in a "chop shop"
and sell the parts.
What Cars are Stolen?
Any type of vehicle can be a target
for thieves.
' '•·
A bicycle can be stolen from just about any place, but simple
precautions can deter would-be bike thieves.
Practice good Block Watch techniques by:quickly calling the police
whenyou observe any suspicious
activities in your community. The
police want to know when you see a
stranger ot an unusual vehicle. Your
call may prevent a crime from
happening in your community.
Start by Locking Your Bicycle
Most bikes that are stolen were not locked. Always lock your bike
securely, whether you're gone for a few minutes or a few nours.
Use a "U-lock," which secures both wheels and the frame to a
stationary object such as a post, tree or a bike rack. For extra
security, add a chain or cable with a good case-hardened padlock.
l<eep Good Identification Records
Record the serial number of your bike and keep it, along with your
sales receipt and a picture of your bike, in a safe place at home.
Mark your bike with an engraver to deter thieves. Engraving also
helps police to identify a bike and return it to the rightful owner.
You can find more information about engraving on page 7.
Finally, ask your local schools about bicycle registration programs.
Report a theft to the police as soon as you can.
Remember to always wear your helmet.
It's the law.
ncidents of viole1:ce ~an occur anywhere at anytir~~- '11-ust your instinct that something may be wrong,
and use these gllldelmes to reduce your vulnerability. Remember though, whether or not you choose to
use the options, no one has the right to harm you.
+ Keep car doors locked and windows closed at all times.
+ If you have car trouble, raise the hood and stay in the vehicle. If
someone offers assistance, either roll the window down just
enough to talk to them or write them a note. Ask them to stop at
a phone and call the police.
+ Do not stop to help a stranger in a stalled vehicle. Go to a safe
place and report the stalled vehicle to police.
+ Don't pick up hitchhikers.
+ If someone tries to break into your car while you are in it, honk
the horn in short and long bursts and try to drive away.
+ Keep your car maintained. Your gas
tank should always be at least half
+ lpa;l~ ir1 well-lit areas that are close to your destination.
+ If security staff are available to walk
you to your car, don't be embarrassed to ask for an escort. Most
major malls offer this type of
+ Always have your keys ready to unlock the car door and enter
+ Check inside your car before getting
+ If you are being followed, don't go horne. Drive to the nearest
police or fire station or an open gas station - any place with
. people around.
yri,thoJt delay. You can appear vulnerable if you look for your
key~:'k~.'. you approach your car.
+ c;,atrya small light on your key chain to see the car or house
. ~lo01~ lock easier.
+ If you leave your keys with a
parking attendant or at a service
station, leave only the car (not your
house) key. If possible, leave a
"valet" key (one that doesn't work
on the trunk), and put your valuables in the trunk. Take your
garage door opener, registration,
and insurance card with you.
+ Purchase or lease a cellular phone.
Keep it charged or buy a cigarette
lighter adapter for power and
+ Know you!' neighbors and learn
who. can be called for assistance.
+ Use o~ly' first initials and last names
on mailboxes and in phone books.
+ Change the locks when you move
into a new residence.
+ Don't hide spare keys outside. If
you choose to do so, don't put
them near the door. Make the
hiding spot as obscure as possible,
and don't tell anyone where it is.
+ Check identification when repair
people, salespeople, utility workers,
or others. come to the door. Don't
hesitate to call and check them out
or refuse entrance if something feels
wrong or if they cannot provide
proof oftheir identity.
+ If you let someone in and have
second thoughts, be assertive. Tell
them to leave or leave yourself.
Pretend you are not alone.
+ Instructchildren and babysitters not
to give out information about who
is horne, who is out, or how long
the situation will last.
+ Don't leave notes on your door for
other.s m allow solicitor's material
to remain: on your doorknob since
they advertise your absence.
+ If you st;spect your horne has been
broken i'nto, don't go in; go someplace else and call 911.
+ Always lock doors when doing yard
workot: otherwise spending time in
the yard. Keep your keys with you
at 'aU tivnes,. If you have a portable
phorie, t~ke it with you.
+ Stay on populated, well-lit streets. Avoid shrubbery, dark areas
near buildings, and other places an attacker may hirle. Avoid
shortcuts through alleys, vacant lots, and other deserted places.
+ Look around as you walk and be aware of your surroundings.
Make it difficult for anyone to take you by surprise. Walk confidently at: a steady pace, and make eye contact.
+ Avoid secluded or deserted areas and businesses.
+ Carry something that can make a loud noise that can scare off
possible attackers.
+ On public transportation, sit near the driver.
+ If you have taken a ride in a cab or from a friend, ask the driver
to wait and watch until you are safely inside your destination.
+ Be cautious about revealing cash or credit cards.
+ Try to limit the number of items you carry.
+ If you carry a handbag, hold it close to your body with fastener
closed and turned toward your body so a thief can't grab it and
cause injury or knock you clown. "Fanny packs" keep your
personal items close to you while keeping your hands free. Be
aware of where the zipper is and keep a close eye on it.
+ Don't wear headphones. They block your ability to hear someone approach you.
+ Trust your instincts, and don't hesitate to remove yourself from
the situation. Be willing to make a scene or create a disturbance
if necessary. Crimes such as rape are usually not committed by
strangers, but by people who know their victims. Your safety
may depend on a quick and decisive reaction.
ersonal security means more than just protecting your physical being; it also means protecting your
identity. Criminals can steal your identity by taking personal, confidential information from your mail,
from your wallet, even your computer. They may overhear you giving information to someone else on
. th<;: phone. Your best protection is prevention.
Identification Numbers (PIN) are used for credit cards,
ATM cards, long distance calling cards, and other services.
Your PIN should be memorized, secured and not given to
anyone, not even family members or bank employees. The
fewer people who have access to your PIN, the better.
Never write your PIN on ATM or long distance calling cards.
Don't write your PIN on a piece of paper and place it in your
Follow these steps to make it harder
for thieves to steal your mail.
+ Never send cash or coins in the
mail. Use checks or money orders.
+ Don't leave mail in your mailbox.
• Have your local post office hold
your mail while you are on vacation or absent from your home.
+ If you do not receive valuable mail
For pc;:rsonal safety, remove the cash as soon as the ATM
rc;l,ease,s it. Put the cash in your pocket and wait until you are in
a .secu!~e location before counting it.
Neve1~ use an ATM in an isolated area or where people are
you are expecting, contact the
issuing agency immediately.
+ Notify your post office and others if
you change your address.
lbi,tering. Avoid ATMs that have poor lighting around them.
;Me've!·leave the receipt at the site. Dishonest people can use
· ;~you'r receipt to get your account number.
Corisider buying o shredder
;for all docurnenls with
.persorwl inforrnolion.
If you deposit money in an
ATM, be sure the envelope
fully drops into the machine.
Never give the money to a
person who promises to
make the deposit for you.
• Always put your mail in a Postal
Service mail collection box or mail
slot at your local post office, or
hand your mail to your letter
carrier. Never place your outgoing
mail in an unprotected mailbox, or
into a collection box after the last
scheduled pick up.
If you believe your mail has been
stolen, report it immediately to your
local Sheriff's Office precinct or
storefront, or the Police Department.
+ give your credit card account number to
mak,e a ·purchase or reservation that you have
initi:.ned.: Never give personal information over a
cellul~1; phone.
+ Watch: your credit card after giving it to store
clerks tb protect against extra imprints being
all carbons after you make a purchase
(do not discard them in the
trash can at the purchase
counte:r). Keep charge slips
in a safe place.
Save all receipts, and compare them to your
monthly statement. Report any discrepancies
Keep a master list in a secure place at home with
all account numbers and phone numbers for
reporting stolen or lost cards. Keep another copy
in a safe deposit box.
lost or Stolen Cards
+ Always report lost or stolen cards to the issuing
company immediately. This limits any unauthorized use of your card and permits the company
to issue a new card. Please note that protections
on credit cards may not apply to debit cards.
Read your cardholder agreement.
Increasing):y, we rely on computers to store and send
confidenti~1l, personal information. Like a home,
computers need to be secured against intruders.
Passwords are your first line of defense against
potential· computer intruders. The worst passwords to
use are the ones that are obvious: your first name,
spouse's twme, maiden name, pets, children's name,
even street; addresses. The best passwords mix
numbers, FJUnctuation, and upper and lowercase
letters. A password that is not found in the dictionary
is even better. Programs exist that will try every word
in the dictionary in an effort to crack your security.
Few people should have access to your codes and
passwords. Protect your passwords by changing them
regularly apd memorizing them: never write them
down! Ne~er store passwords on your computer or at
a web site; anyone who uses your machine will have
access to if!formation that is password protected.
Did You Really Erase That File?
Files that are deleted or erased by the user can be
resurrected or recreated. Many law enforcement
officials use this knowledge to fight crime; someone
else could use it to commit crimes.
Do a complete "Security Erase" on your computer
before you sell it or donate it. If you don't know how
to do this, ask someone who does or have a shop do
it for you.
Be Wary on the Internet
When you use computer, internet, or on-line services, be cautious about providing personal information. Be sure you know exactly what information
about you can be accessed by other users. Finally,
talk to your children and warn
them never to give personal
information to anyone on the
Encryption: A Second Line of Defense
Encryption software "scrambles" files so they are
unreadable to anyone who does not have the encryption key. Use encryption software to store important
person~!, financial, and security files on your computer.
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