Security Tips


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 are located.
  • 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 while driving.
  • 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 return.
  • Be especially alert when using enclosed parking garages. Don't walk into an area if you feel uncomfortable.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers. NEVER. And, don't hitch rides yourself.


  • 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 your business.
  • 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 and leave.
  • 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 off.
  • 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.


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 emergencies


  • 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 alone.
  • to refuse rides or gifts from anyone, unless it's someone both you and your child know and trust.
  • to tell a trusted adult immediately if anyone, no matter who, touches them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.


  • 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 will return.
  • 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.


  • 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 they're alone.
  • 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" bolt.
  • Use the locks you have. Always lock up your home when you go out, even if it's "only for a few minutes."
  • 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.


  • 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 emergency.
  • Put automatic timers on at least two lights [and possibly a radio] to help you home look and sound lived-in.
  • 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 crime.
  • 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 neighbors.


  • 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.


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 common sense.
  • 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 you trust.
  • Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!


  • 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 complaint.



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