Crime can happen any day to any one regardless of where they live, what they do for a living, or who they are. Although people live under the threat of crime every day, there are steps that one can take to help prevent them from being as easy target. Being aware and prepared can help many avoid the various dangers presented by criminals seeking easy targets. The following crime prevention tips can help individuals and families take control of their lives and households to help make them less of a target for criminal activity.
Child Safety and Security
- Know where your child or children are at all times and who they are with. If a child needs to be left alone, make sure they are with a trusted adult.
- Never let a child go into a restroom alone in a public place. Always stay with children when in a public area.
- If a child doesn’t want to be around a certain adult make sure to find out why. The adult may be acting in inappropriate manner.
- Talk with children when they begin to use a computer on their own or get their own mobile device about Internet safety. Discuss how they should not reveal personal information to anyone on the Internet, and if they ever come across anything that makes them uncomfortable, they should tell an adult immediately.
- When moving to a new neighborhood, show your child which places to go, such as a neighbor’s house, if they need help. Show them places you want them to stay away from and others areas, like safe walking routes to school, that are acceptable places from them to go.
- Teach children about bullying and cyber bullying. Let them know that this is wrong and how to report it to a parent or a teacher.
- To avoid viruses and other malware, install security updates as needed, and run a virus and spyware scan often. Do not download anything from unknown sources.
- Do not give out personal information and credit card information to a site that is not fully trust-worthy. Never respond to e-mails asking for any personal information or passwords, no matter how believable it may sound.
- Use strong passwords that are not common words and have numbers and symbols mixed in with the letters.
- Only provide your social security number to an employer, a financial institution, such as a bank, or a government agency. Do not carry a social security card in a wallet in everyday circumstances.
- Always lock up blank checks in a very secure place.
- Shread important documents with personal and banking information before disposing of them.
- Do not carry any more than necessary in a wallet. Never write down a PIN number and carry it with a debit card.
- Keep copies of important documents such as a social security card, passport, driver’s license, and credit cards.
Home Security and Safety
- Use physical protection measures on a home by installing deadbolts on all doors, locking devices on windows and solid glass doors, and a fence in the yard.
- Trim trees surrounding the house so that burglars do not have easy access to the roof.
- Consider installing an alarm system in the home. Get references for alarm companies from friends or neighbors, and get estimates from a few before deciding on installation.
- Follow strict security procedures in the home, such as locking all doors and windows when leaving, even if it’s just for a short time.
- Learn to recognize who belongs in the neighborhood. Report suspicious activity to the police.
- Consider getting a dog as a pet. They can be a great alarm system when someone approaches the house and can scare away strangers.
- Provide visibility around the house by leaving lights on after dark or having motion detector lights around the property. This ensures that there are no dark areas around the house in which a person could hide.
- Always lock doors even if someone is home. Unlocked doors are the easiest way for a criminal to enter a household.
- Never let anyone know that there is one person alone in a house at any time. Do not tell people at the door this information. Also, do not post this information on social networking sites.
Preventing Fraud and Identity Theft
- Be aware of telemarketing fraud. People will say they are anyone from a policeman to disadvantaged individuals. Always be suspicious of anyone asking for money or offering mysterious prize money.
- Never give out any numbers, social security number, credit card numbers, and checking account numbers, over the phone to unknown persons.
- Delete any suspicious e-mails. Do not believe e-mails asking to wire funds or cash checks over the Internet. Suspicious e-mails include chain letters involving money, credit repair schemes, prize notification that ask for money or checking account information first, and work-at-home proposals.
- Do not use a debit card to shop online especially if the website does not look one hundred percent official. If the source in unreliable, the bank account connected to the debit card can be drained and overdraft charges can be fined. With a credit card, a billing error can be reported, and charges can be dropped.
- Learn about phishing and other Internet schemes that people use to try to steal money and other personal information online.
- Get informed about social networking security. Many spammers make fake profiles and take advantage of the large amount of personal information that others freely reveal. Be suspicious of people asking for money or even more personal information through these websites.
Vacation Safety and Security
- Never share vacation plans on social networking sites.
- Use timers for lights, television, and radio to make the house appear as if it is currently occupied.
- Have the postal office hold mail, or have a neighbor pick up mail and newspapers.
- Let a friend or relative know specific details of the vacation plans. Letting them know exact times and phone numbers of hotels and other emergency numbers will assure that someone knows when and where the vacationing individual or family will be at all times.
- Use travelers checks while on vacation and carry little cash.
- Leave expensive items such as jewelry or nice apparel at home. If it is necessary to bring valuables, check hotels or cruise lines ahead of time to see if safes are available.
- If traveling out of the country, look up phone numbers to the U.S. Embassy ahead of time in case an emergency situation arises.
- Try to park in well lit, open areas, and in view of security camera. The more populated and secure the area, the less likely a robbery will occur.
- Never leave valuable items out in the open in a vehicle. Either remove them from the car or place inside the glove box or under seats where others cannot see them.
- While driving, keep doors and windows locked to prevent a carjacking. Also, always lock car doors when leaving a vehicle.
- When walking back to a parked car, look underneath vehicle and in back seat after entering a car to make sure no one is under or in the car.
- Do not leave helmet or riding equipment with a motorcycle after parking it.
- Cover a motorcycle when unattended. Many thieves look to steal certain models and will be unwilling to risk setting off an alarm when lifting the cover.
- Chain and lock bicycles to a secure unmovable item when leaving it unattended.