Some simple rules to keep you safe...
- Stay alert and tuned in to your
surroundings, wherever you are. Don't be taken by surprise. Be
aware and be prepared.
- Stand tall and walk confidently.
Don't show fear. Don't look like a victim.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel
uncomfortable in a place or situation, leave right away and get
help if necessary.
- Choose busy streets and avoid
going through vacant lots, alleys or other deserted areas. At
night, walk in well-lighted areas whenever possible.
- Try not to walk or jog alone. Take
a friend or neighbor along for company.
- Get to know the neighborhoods and
neighbors where you live and work. Find out what stores and
restaurants are open late and where the police and fire stations
- Carry your purse close to your
body and keep a firm grip on it. Avoid pickpockets by carrying
your wallet in an inside coat pocket or front-trouser pocket.
- Always lock your car and take the
keys, even if you'll be gone only a short time.
- Keep your car in good running
condition, and keep the tank at least a quarter full; lock doors
- If your car breaks down, raise the
hood and place emergency reflectors or flares. Then stay in the
locked car. When someone stops to help, don't get out. Ask him or
her, through a closed or cracked window, to telephone the police
to come and help.
- If you're coming or going after
dark, park in a well-lit area that will still be well-lit when you
- Be especially alert when using
enclosed parking garages. Don't walk into an area if you feel
- Never pick up hitchhikers. NEVER.
And, don't hitch rides yourself.
USING AN ATM MACHINE...
- Try to plan your visits to
automatic teller machines during the day, rather than after dark.
- Choose an ATM location that is in
a busy, public place. Avoid making withdrawals in isolated areas.
- If at all possible, take along a
friend who can watch the surroundings while you are transacting
- Pre-plan you transaction
carefully, and don't spend too much time at the machine.
- When you make a withdrawal,
quickly place the money in your purse or wallet, and leave as soon
as you finish your transaction.
- Watch out for suspicious-looking
people waiting around the ATM--they may not really be customers.
If someone offers to let you go ahead of them, decline politely
- When visiting a drive-thru ATM,
keep your doors locked and be prepared to drive away quickly. If
anyone approaches your car on foot, roll up your window and drive
- If you have not finished your
transaction, and you are approached by a suspicious character,
press the CANCEL button, receive your card and leave quickly.
KEEPING KIDS SAFE
A great thing about kids is their
natural trust in people, especially in adults. It's sometimes hard
for parents to teach children to balance this trust with caution.
But kids today need to know common-sense rules that can help keep
them safe--and build the self-confidence they need to handle
SURE YOUR KIDS KNOW...
- how to dial "911" or "0" in
emergencies, and how to use a public phone. Help them practice
making emergency phone calls. Be sure emergency numbers--sheriff's
office, police, fire, poison control, and emergency medical--are
by ALL phones.
- their full name, address and phone
number [including the area code], plus your work phone number. If
you have a cellular phone and/or beeper, teach your children these
numbers as well.
- how to walk confidently and stay
alert to what's going on around them.
- to walk and play with friends, not
- to refuse rides or gifts from
anyone, unless it's someone both you and your child know and
- to tell a trusted adult
immediately if anyone, no matter who, touches them in a way that
makes them feel uncomfortable.
SAFEGUARD YOUR CHILDREN...
- Learn about warning signs that
your child might be involved with drugs or gangs--learn how you
can help steer your child away from them.
- Spend time listening to your
children or just being with them. Help them find positive, fun
activities in which they can take part.
- Always know--and know about--your
child's activities. Know where your child is, and when he or she
- Be sure you and your child are
clear on your rules and expectations for activities. Make
absolutely clear what is OK and what is not.
ALONE--KIDS SHOULD KNOW...
- what steps you want them to follow
when they get home; such as phoning you from work or a neighbor or
grandparent who is at home.
- not to let strangers--adults or
children--into the home for any reason.
- not to tell telephone callers that
- that door and window locks must
always be used. Be sure your children know how to work them.
- not to go into the home if a door
is ajar or a window is broken, but to go to a neighbor's home and
call the police.
- your rules about acceptable
activities when you are not at home. Be very clear.
If you're locked out of your home,
can you still get in? ...through an unlocked window in the back, or
by using an extra key hidden under a flowerpot or up on a ledge?
Remember, if you can break in, so can a burglar!
A small investment of time and
money can make your home more secure and can reduce your chances
of being a victim of burglary, assault or vandalism.
Get to know your neighbors. Watchful
neighbors who look out for you, as well as themselves, area
front-line defense against crime.
- Make sure all doors to the outside
are metal or solid 1-3/4" hardwood.
- Make sure all doors to the outside
have good, sturdy locks--deadbolt locks with a minimum of 1-1/2"
- Use the locks you have. Always
lock up your home when you go out, even if it's "only for a few
- Secure sliding glass doors with
commercially available bars or locks, or put a wooden dowel or
broomstick in the door track.
- Make sure your windows, especially
at ground level, have good locks--and use them!
- Make sure all porches and other
possible entrances are well lighted.
- Trim any bushes or trees that hide
doors or windows. Keep ladders, tools, toys and recreational
equipment inside when you're not using them.
- Don't hide your house keys under
the door mat or in a flower pot. It's much wiser to give an extra
key to a trusted neighbor.
- Keep written records of all
furniture, jewelry and electronic products. If possible, keep
these records in a safety deposit box, fireproof safe or other
secure place. Take pictures or a video, and keep purchase
information and serial numbers if available. These help law
enforcement officials track recovered items.
- Make sure that entrances, parking
areas, hallways, stairways, laundry rooms and other common areas
are well lighted. Report burned-out bulbs or other problems to the
manager or rental agent.
- Make sure fire stairs are locked
from the stairwell side, with an emergency exit at ground level.
- Laundry rooms and storage areas
should always be kept locked unless a resident is actually inside.
YOU GO AWAY...
- Ask a trusted neighbor to collect
your mail and newspapers, and offer to return the favor.
- Leave word about when you're
leaving, when you'll return, and how you can be reached in an
- Put automatic timers on at least
two lights [and possibly a radio] to help you home look and sound
- Alert your local police that
you'll be away. Many jurisdictions will keep an eye on your
property while you're away.
- Look for ways to settle arguments
and disagreements without violence. Remember: if you resort to
violence to settle disputes, a child may well follow your example.
Be a good role model.
- Use good manners to help ease
tensions that can lead to violence. Teach kids that showing
respect for themselves and for the needs of others can prevent
- Report crimes and suspicious
activities to police; agree to testify when necessary. If you want
to live in a safe community, stand up for what you believe in.
- Don't support illegal activities,
like buying stolen property of using illegal drugs. It's the wrong
message to send to a child, and it involves you in criminal
activity. It also encourages more crime that hurts you and your
HELPING VICTIMS OF CRIME
- Don't blame the victim or tell him
or her not to be upset, angry or afraid. Be a comfort, and do what
you can to ease the situation.
- If the victim hasn't told the
police, offer to help with a report.
- Offer to help the victim repair
damage from a crime--replace a windowpane, install a new lock,
replace important papers--or help with day-to-day needs like
transportation, baby-sitting and cooking.
- Be willing to just sit and listen
to the victim talk about the crime. It can help some victims to
talk, although others will not want to do so. Don't try to make a
victim talk if he or she doesn't want to.
- Ask your local police about
victims' counseling and support groups in the area, and encourage
the victim to take part.
- Ask what you can do to help in the
future, and make it a point to get back in touch.
AVOIDING FRAUDS AND SCAMS
DON'T GET STUNG!
Con artists are not always easy to spot. Smart, extremely
persuasive and aggressive, they invade your home through the
telephone and the mail, advertise in reputable newspapers and
magazines, and come to your door. Most people think they're too
smart to fall for a scam. But con artists rob all kinds of
people--from investment counselors and doctors to teenagers and
elderly widows--of billions every year. It's up to you to say no.
Use common sense and learn about old and new scams.
- Don't let greed overcome your
- Be wary of...
* high-pressure sales,
* demands for "cash only,"
* pressure for quick decisions,
* secret deals,
* no-risk, high-yield investments.
- Get a second opinion from someone
- Remember: if it sounds too good to
be true, it probably is!
DIALING FOR YOUR DOLLARS...
- If a caller asks for your credit
card number to verify a free vacation or other gift, hang up. Your
number may be used to charge purchases by phone.
- Make sure you know the charges
before calling a 900 number. Most 800 numbers are free--900
numbers are not.
- Be very suspicious if you receive
a collect call from someone who says he's a law-enforcement
officer with emergency information about a family member,
requesting your phone card number to charge the call. Other
variations of this scam include a telephone company investigator
checking a system failure, or an FCC official investigating a