Many crimes are committed simply because the opportunity presents itself to the criminal. Don't be a victim of opportunity! Following a few, simple crime prevention safety tips will minimize criminal opportunities, thus making your life much safer and more enjoyable.
On the Street
In Your Car
On public transportation
In a building
In Your Home or Apartment
- Have lights at all entrances.
- Have a wide-angle viewer on all exterior doors.
- Do not use your full name on your mailbox, in the telephone directory, or on your answering machine.
- Do not leave a schedule of your times away from home; for example, do not list the dates you will be on vacation on your answering machine.
- Do not allow your mail and newspaper deliveries to accumulate while you are away. Ask a neighbor to collect them for you.
- Know which of your neighbors you can trust and depend upon in case of an emergency.
- Check who is at the door before opening it, and do not open the door to an unexpected visitor.
- Do not hide extra keys in easily accessible places. Criminals will find them.
- Ask for Photo Identification of all repair persons. If you are suspicious, call to verify employment.
- Never give personal information to telephone solicitors.
- Do not let strangers into your home or apartment to use the telephone. Offer to make the call for them.
- Use Security bars for added security on exterior sliding doors.
On the street
- Never use your cell phone while walking.
- Never hitchhike!! It's not worth the risk!
- Be very careful when using outside ATM's at night or in unfamiliar surroundings. Use ATM's located in enclosed areas where available.
- When walking, walk in the middle of the sidewalk and walk facing oncoming traffic.
- Try not to carry too many packages or other items at one time. Keep your hands as free as possible.
- Do not wear music headphones while walking or jogging as this eliminates hearing as a defensive mechanism.
- Do not read while walking or standing on a sidewalk.
- A good suggestion is for men to carry a second wallet containing a few dollar bills and old, expired credit cards, which are normally destroyed or discarded. If confronted at knife or gunpoint, give the suspect the second wallet and concentrate on a good physical description to help police in the investigation and arrest of the perpetrator.
- Avoid being on the street alone if you are upset or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- If you carry a purse, carry it close to your body, preferable in front. Carry no more money or credit cards than you absolutely need.
In your car
- Keep your car in good working order and the gas tank at lease half full.
- When you approach your parked vehicle, visually check the area around, under, and inside the vehicle for any suspicious persons or activity. If you observe anything suspicious, walk to where there are other people and call the police.
- Always park in visible, well-lighted areas.
- Have your keys ready when approaching your vehicle to reduce the time needed to enter. Keys can also be used as a good self-defense weapon.
- Drive with all the doors and windows locked! If unlocked, a criminal can easily run to your car from the sidewalk, open the door, and get in.
- Any valuables in your car should be placed in the trunk or otherwise kept out of sight.
- Exercise extra caution when using underground and enclosed parking garages.
- When stopped at traffic lights or in traffic, allow space between you and the vehicle in front of you so that you can drive away if necessary.
- If someone approaches your vehicle and attempts to enter, blow your horn to attract attention and drive away.
- Do not pick up hitchhikers!
- Do not open your window if someone approaches your vehicle to ask for directions, the time, etc. Keep your doors locked!
- Never leave your house keys attached to your car keys.
- Do not stop for a stranded motorist, instead, use your cell phone, or go to the nearest telephone booth and call the police for assistance.
- If you have a flat tire, drive on it until you reach a safe, well-lighted and well-traveled area.
- If your vehicle becomes so disabled and help is not immediately available, raise the hood of the vehicle, (if you can do so safely), and then stay in the vehicle with the doors locked and the windows locked. Activate your hazard or parking lights. If someone stops to assist you, ask them through the closed window to call the police.
- Criminals sometimes stage a motor vehicle accident known as a "Bump & Rob". The motorist is robbed when they exit their vehicle. If you are involved in a minor accident under suspicious circumstances, stay in your vehicle with the doors locked and the windows up and await the police. If you believe you are in possible danger, write down the license plate number of the other vehicle involved in the accident and drive to a safe location and report the accident to the police immediately.
- If you are being followed, don't drive home. Go to the nearest police or fire station and honk your horn, or drive to an open gas station or other business where you can safely call the police. Don't leave your car unless you are certain you can get inside the building safety.
- Carry the following in your car: a flashlight, fix-a-flat, maps, comfortable warm clothing, a portable fire extinguisher, first aid kit, empty gas can, and a cellular phone.
- If you are driving somewhere you are not familiar with, plan your route and check a map before you start.
- If you have car trouble and are in need of a tow service, check the tow trucks business license and/or drivers ID and certification to ensure that it is a reputable company. It is wise to contact the tow company prior to the rendering of any services. In California, the Automobile Club of America (AAA) can provide you with a list of reputable companies and service centers. Oftentimes, your auto insurance company can contact a tow company for you.
On public transportation
- Be aware of overheard conversations. Don't tell anyone on a bus or subway where you are going.
- Stay awake and alert.
- Have exact change ready.
- Sit as close to the driver as possible.
- If you sense someone is following you when you get off, walk toward other people or to an open business.
In a building
- Avoid isolated corridors or hallways.
- Be extra careful in stairwells and isolated or poorly-lighted rooms.
- Avoid entering an elevator that is occupied by only one person (who is a stranger.)
- In an elevator, stand near the controls and locate the emergency button.
- If you are assaulted in an elevator, hit the emergency or alarm button and press as many floors as possible.