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Crime Prevention Tips
There are a number of things you can do to help keep yourself and your family safer and lessen the chances of a crime being committed against you.
Staying safe at MSU
Making sure their students will be living on a safe campus is one of the biggest concerns of parents when sending their offspring to college. In addition to the resources already in place at MSU, Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor of MSU Police said there are many proactive measures students can take to remain safe and healthy while attending college.
Such tips include walking in well-lit areas, not walking alone, utilizing the Night Owl service from the Capital Area Transportation Authority, signing up for the MSU Emergency Text Messaging service and locking doors to their residences. And of course, “Anytime you see things suspicious or out of place, call 911 immediately,” McGlothian-Taylor said. “Too often, people wait.”
Apartment Crime Prevention Tips
Check out your Apartment. Does your...
Entry door have a deadbolt lock and peephole?
Sliding glass door have a wooden rod in the track so it can't be opened and pins in the overhead frame so it can't be lifted out?
Landlord or building manager tightly control all keys?
Check out your Building...
Is there some kind of control over who enters and leaves the building?
Are walkways, entrances, parking areas, elevators, hallways, stairs, laundry rooms and storage areas well-lighted 24 hours a day?
Are fire stairs locked from the stairwell side above the ground floor so that you can exit but no one can enter?
Are things well-maintained? Are burnt-out lights fixed promptly, shrubs trimmed, trash and snow removed?
Check out your Neighbors...
Get to know your neighbors. Join or organize an Apartment Watch Group so neighbors can look out and help each other.
If you live in a large building or complex, think about a tenant patrol that watches for crime around the building, provides escort services for the elderly and handicapped, and monitors comings and goings in the lobby.
Work with landlords to sponsor social events for tenants.
Look beyond problems to root causes...does your building need a better playground, a social evening for teens, a tenant association, new landscaping? Work with the landlord for changes that will make everyone proud of where they live.
Use common sense; plan your route to avoid lonely areas such as parks, parking lots and garages and alleyways; stick to well lit areas.
Men carry wallets in your front pants pocket - hip pockets and inside vest pockets are the first places a pickpocket looks.
Women carry billfold or coin purse in inside pocket of your coat. Carry your purse like a football under your arm by turning it upside down and keeping your fingers on the clasp or zipper. Don't put purse straps over your shoulder or around your neck. A quick swish of a knife or razor can loose the purse.
Carry minimal possessions; overloading yourself interferes with your vision and makes you appear more vulnerable.
Get into the habit of paying close attention to your surroundings, and avoid "automatic pilot".
Walk with purpose, project an assertive or businesslike image.
Look ahead and anticipate potentially dangerous situations. If you see trouble, do you have a plan? Would you be willing to cross the street? Duck into a store or business that's open.
If a car follows you or beckons you while you are walking, do not approach the car; instead, turn and quickly walk the other direction.
If someone is following you on foot, cross the street and change direction.
Watch your body space; don't let people get too close; even if they appear to have a reason, like asking for time, change, etc.
Consider low profile shoes and clothing, especially when walking, waiting for the bus, etc.
When entering a facility; movie theater, concert hall, hotel, sporting event, (any place where there are a lot of people), always scope out the Emergency Exits. Law requires that these exits be illuminated and clearly marked with EXIT signs. The first thing you do when entering a crowded bar or concert should be to find the exits. Be prepared to exit swiftly and without panic should a crisis happen. Also be prepared to find these exits should the lights go out or you need to be low to the ground. Fire, Smoke and too many people trying to go the in same direction often can kill. By scoping out the exits early you will be prepared if need be.
Use schedules to minimize time waiting at bus stops.
Sit near the front of the bus, if possible.
Keep possessions in lap.
Pay attention to surroundings. If feeling bored or threatened, tell the driver.
Avoid sleeping, cleaning out purse or pockets, balancing checkbook, etc. If you read, look up periodically.
Have keys in hand as you leave the building.
Parked cars provide good hiding places (inside and out). Be alert as you approach your car.
Back off if you see anyone loitering near your car.
Enter your car quickly and lock the door immediately.
If followed or bothered, drive to a public place, store or business and honk your horn to attract attention.
If parking in a paid lot, have money ready before getting out of locked car.
Consider car pooling, not just at work but for leisure time activities as well, particularly when parking is at a premium.
Make it a habit to leave car locked and empty of possessions, even parking meter change.
It is rare for men and children to be abducted during carjacking, but it is very common for women to be taken away. If you are taken in a car crime, there is only one solution-cause the car to crash as soon as possible to avoid even worse crimes being committed at a remote site.
Don't wait until you are traveling at high speeds. Crash the car in your driveway...the shopping mall parking lot...in front of the store.
If you are not the driver, force him to crash. Don't grab the steering wheel - gouge his eyes. Not sure you can do this? Remember what's at stake at the second crime scene. You could do it to save your child-do it to save yourself. If you are fearful that gouging his eyes or causing a crash will prompt him to shoot you, remember that someone who would shoot a victim in a public spot would shoot in a remote spot. Don't risk it later, when there will be no one to help.
Example: When a woman was carjacked in Atlanta , she tried to calm the man down with words. Instead he forced her onto a highway while becoming increasingly violent. When he threatened to kill her, the woman realized her only option was to crash the car. She slowed to 40 mph and plowed into an exit sign and a tr ee. Her seat belt saved her from serious injury. The assailant, who was on parole, was injured in the crash and fled, but he was caught soon afterward.
Women need to be particularly aware of their surroundings when about to get into their cars. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good looking, well educated man, who always played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and asked "for help" into his vehicle, or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.
Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle and the passenger side. If a male is alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall or to work and get a guard to walk you back. It is better to be safe than sorry.
If you are parked next to a big van, you can enter your car through the passenger door. Most women are pulled into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
Once safely in your car, immediately lock the doors and leave.
Drive with your windows closed and your doors locked.
Park in populated and well lit areas.
Don't take unfamiliar shortcuts.
If trapped in traffic, flash lights to get attention.
When approaching an intersection, leave enough room to be able to pull out and get away from the car in front of you.
If actually confronted, don't resist. Get out of the car promptly and head in opposite direction.
Keep home driveway well lit. Check surroundings before getting in or out of the car. Check inside and under the car before getting in.
When renting a car, ask for one without rental stickers.
Keep plenty of gas in the tank and try to avoid using self-service gas stations at night.
Consider buying a car phone.
If bumped from behind and you feel suspicious, don't get out of the car. Motion the other driver to follow you and then go to the nearest well-lit public place where you feel safe, such as a fire station or police station.
Above all, remain calm. Take careful note of all physical aspects of the robber, the vehicle and the direction of flight.
Two of the best methods for reducing workplace homicides are using brighter exterior lighting and ensuring that employees do not work alone at night.
To increase the safety of our buildings we can use stronger steel, concrete and glass. Use thicker layers of fireproofing insulation.
Or it can involve simpler, less expensive fixes, such as temporary barriers to keep vehicles farther away form the building. New office seating arrangements moving people away from the exterior moving them toward more-sheltered spaces. Use better safety glass, super strong plastics to reinforce doors.
Update and review your emergency response plans.
Have more Guards posted, install new surveillance cameras inside and outside the20building. Use stricter procedures for monitoring visitors and deliveries and controlling access to the building.
Better marked exit lights and emergency lighting in stairwells will help people in the event of an emergency. Install safety kits containing flashlights, hard hats, and breathing masks, these can be positioned inside offices along with fire extinguishers.
If you don't have procedures in case of emergency or another incident, establish some, and discuss them with all employees so that everyone knows what to do, and who to report to.
Non-employees should not be allowed to go past the reception area without notice to co-workers by phone or intercom. Guests/clients should wait up front for their escort. After business is concluded, the person should be escorted out. If you encounter an unfamiliar unescorted person in the office area, ask them, "May I help you?" or "Can I help you find someone?". Do not merely point out the direction of their destination, accompany them to the destination. If it is an intruder, they will give you a quick answer and walk away from you, or, head for an elevator or the nearest exit. Do not try to restrain the individual. Write down the suspect descriptions and follow office procedures. Thefts should be reported to the police as soon as possible.
Purses, briefcases, etc. should be kept out of sight when possible, locked away in a desk or closet. Some of the items taken in recent thefts have been under a desk, in plain sight, or in a jacket hanging on the back of a door or over a chair. If your wallet or purse is stolen, contact your bank and credit card companies immediately and call and report the theft to the police.
When leaving work for the day or weekend, if possible, lock your desk. Do not invite thieves by leaving valuable, personal property on top of your desk or work area. Thieves usually go for what's in plain sight.
Do not leave checks, petty cash or stamps in plain sight, within easy reach or in an unlocked desk drawer.
Doors should be locked if your area is unoccupied. If your office has more than one entrance, one door should be used by everyone to enter or exit. This should eliminate doors being propped open or intruders coming in undetected.
Leave cash registers empty and open after hours to deter burglars.
Make sure all exterior doors have adequate locking mechanisms or install a secondary lock, i.e. deadbolt locks.
Leave an interior light on all night.
Check interior for possible access to the roof and secure all ladders and garbage dumpsters.
Use exterior lighting to increase the visibility in parking lots and entrances.
Move valuable merchandise away from the door or windows to prevent smash and grab thefts.
Install a safe or strong security cabinet to store valuable documents or keys used in your business.
Install an enunciator on entrances to alert you that a customer has entered.
Don't tag your keys with the name of your business. Change locks if keys are lost or not returned by a former employee.
Don't open the door until you are fully ready to do business, and don't count receipts until you lock up.
Never resist an armed robber.
Call 9-1-1 for all medical, fire and police emergencies, and anytime you believe there is a need to send police, fire or medical personnel to the scene.
Crime on the Street
People think they will come up with the right response when confronted by a criminal. But that doesn't happen in real life. Panic sets in, and most people react emotionally, not rationally. Unless you have made survival decisions ahead of time, odds are you will be paralyzed with fear and unable to respond in a way that will help you. Important: Think about yourself as a crime victim. Visualize how you should react.
Best response: Be the most willing, compliant victim the robber has had all day. Give him/her everything immediately-your wallet, watch, car keys, etc. Then immediately bolt and run. If you can't run because you're concerned or restrained-scream, yell, make as much noise as possible. Screaming attracts attention and helps block out everything else and focuses you on what must be done. Don't plead or beg.
Important: Most crimes start in public or semi-public places. While you may be injured if you run or resist, it's better to be injured in a public place than in an isolated area that is hard to see from the public areas. The worst crimes occur when the victim is moved to a second location.
If a predator has a gun and you are not under his physical control, ALWAYS RUN!. The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times. And even then, it most likely will not be a vital organ.
The most dangerous crime situation is the armed home intruder. The rate of serious injury from armed intrusions is 35%, compared with 10% for armed robbery on the street. Be sure of whom you let in...
During a real-life home intrusion, it is rare for parents to be able to save their children because parents are the first to be attacked. The best chance for children to survive is to know how to escape on their own-and get help. Strategy: Practice a family escape-and-survive drill. This could include using rope or ladder to climb from a window. The aim is to teach your children how to escape and get help. Walk the family through every room in the home, even the bathrooms without windows and walk-in closets. You want to teach not to make the mistake of going to a room from which escape is impossible. You also want to establish an escape path from every room where escape is possible. Next, train the children in what to do when they do escape. Establish which neighbors the children should run to.
Important: Don't assume your kids are too young for escape-and-survive lessons. You can teach children as young as four or five without traumatizing them. Deal with it matter-of-factly, and be prepared to answer their many questions.
Don't count on a 15 minute session to drive home the lesson. Getting children to leave their home and their parents - even to get help - is tough. Actively rehearsing the escape-and-survival plan gives children the psychological permission to leave and get help.
Make your home look like someone is there, many burglars think that your home is vacant only to find out that you are there and they panic.
How Not to Have a Fire in Your Home
Never remove a flaming object from an oven or stove top. The fire will be much harder to contain, especially if you get burned and drop the pan. Better: for stove-top fires, immediately turn off the heat and cover with a lid. Keep lids handy at all times. Do not use water to extinguish an electrical or oil fire or the fire will flare up. For oven fires, turn off the oven and keep the door shut. The fire will die out by itself. Or use a dry chemical extinguisher to put it out.
Plenty of intelligent people start fires each year. Risk-reducing strategies...Replace all extension cords after two or three years. Most cords are not made for long term use. Inspect them annually. Never put a cord under rugs. Traffic will wear away the cord's insulation. Never use an extension cord for a machine that draws more power than the cord is rated for.
Take special care with appliances. Many people forget to unplug small appliances such as toasters, irons, and coffee makers. When they are left plugged in, a child or pet can turn them on and cause trouble. Plug refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines and other heavy duty appliances directly into wall sockets.
Don't leave candles unattended. Put them in proper holders and keep then away from drafts, especially open windows.
Remember, Smoke Detectors Save Lives. You cannot have too many detectors installed in your home. They cost around $10.00 for a battery operated detector.
80% of US fire deaths occur in the home? But more than half the people in a recent survey thought the home was the location with the greatest fire safety. Other findings: Men are more likely than women to feel very confident about their personal fire safety - but each year, nearly twice as many men than women die in fires. Most US fires happen in kitchens. Problem: Only one-third of the people surveyed knew the safest way to handle a pan fire on the stove - smother it with a lid...and turn off the burner. Also a good idea is to have the proper kitchen Fire Extinguisher handy.
Secure Your Home's Exterior
Trim Hedges and shrubs. Don't give an intruder an easy place to hide and not be seen by neighbors or passers by.
Install motion-sensitive lights in front and at the rear of your home. These are fairly inexpensive and offer a great deterrent to anyone coming too close to your property. Most bad guys would probably leave and look for an easier target... Remember, bad guys do not want to get caught, they will pick the easiest target.
Upgrade other exterior lights so that the parking areas, exterior windows and doors are well lit.
Clearly mark the street address on the front of the home but refrain from posting your name on the home or mailbox.
Burglar-proof sliding glass doors by placing a rod in the track so the door can't be forced open. This is an easy fix, you can use an old broom handle or go to a lumber yard and buy a 1" x 1" and have it cut to length. This should cost you all of $5.00 or so.
Secure exterior doors. Good locks and dead bolts are essential. Never leave doors unlocked. Some people are too lazy to lock their doors. Include locks on side doors or entry door to a garage.
More than 1/4 of all burglaries are committed through open or unsecured doors and windows.
Install a wide-angle viewer (as opposed to peepholes) for exterior doors. You will get a better view of who is knocking. Remember, many burglars just knock on the front door, say their car broke down and need to use your phone.
Place blinking red LED lights in one or more windows. Sold at Radio Shack for a few dollars, these create the impression that the house has a high-tech security system.
Use a Burglar Alarm Signs, install one in your front garden. Place alarm company stickers in your front and back windows. These are available through Empire or other security companies. Even if it is false advertising, it could help to deter an intruder.
Secure Your Home's Interior
Secure interior doors as well as the exterior. The door from the garage to the house and master bedroom should have a strong hinge and long throw dead bolt. Lock these doors before you leave the house.
Get a dog with a big bark. Even non dog lovers agree that these animals will scare off most unwanted guests...
If you want to own a gun, you may want to make it a shot gun. They are not as easy to hurt yourself with because the barrel is so long. Professional security folks will recommend pistols. If you choose a pistol, be prepared to learn how to use it, take lessons. Please find or create a good safe hiding place for it. Nothing could be worse than to have an accident with a device you purchased for protection. Use your head, don't tell kids you have one. Make sure that they can not get to it if they snoop around your bedroom or safe room. Keep the ammunition in a separate area.
Create a 'safe room' inside the home. In many cases the safe room is fashioned from a closet or other room within the home and will be protected by a door meeting the exterior door standards. The purpose of the safe room is to protect persons and physical assets if criminals or severe weather strikes. The Federal Emergency Management Agency publishes and provides free detailed specifications for constructing a safe room.
Don't become a target
Never give your home address to strangers.
Lower your profile. If you look like the most affluent person in you neighborhood, your house is most likely to be targeted.
Avoid tip-offs that you are out of town. Newspapers collecting in your drive way. Mail box overflowing. Grass not cut. No lights on, etc.
Use Timers for lights. Another inexpensive item that works wonders, even a dummy can install them and make=2 0them work. About $5 each. Have them come on at dusk and off at 3am or so. These are also good as night lights, for late entry or emergency exiting. Lighting your way in and out is essential to a safe home.
Leave a radio on and tuned to a talk station.
Emails and Online Safety
If you're not flying anywhere, be on the lookout for any ticket messages from airlines, including major ones like JetBlue, Frontier Airlines, and US Airways. E-mails are going out saying that your credit card has been used to purchase a ticket contained in an attached Zip file. If you open it the file, it downloads malware that can be used to steal your personal information. Should you receive an e-mail like this, delete it immediately and contact authorities if you receive it or have already opened it.
Dangerous Emails - Wall Street Woes
While there haven't been any confirmed cases yet, the creators of Certified Mail issued a warning that spammers will most likely try to use the current economic crisis for phishing (a.k.a., online scamming) purposes. Just as with the hurricanes, the security experts at Certified Mail believe criminals will capitalize on fear and the high profile nature of the story, so be warned.
Gas Scam - Cheaper Gas
Once again, scammers are going for what's in the news and people's innate desire to save some bucks by highlighting gas prices in spam e-mails. Either they're offering gas cards with locked in rates around $2.50 a gallon or they're hawking gizmos that increase your mileage. Just don't believe it.
Don't trust people you've never met in person
You've exchanged e-mails with someone about meeting for a date or doing some kind of transaction and you start to trust them. You still have no idea who they are.
If you're buying something from Craigslist, then meet in person and always insist on paying with cash, since credit cards can easily be hacked. For eBay, check over the seller's info and ratings. If you're meeting for a date or a casual encounter, then meet in a public place before you end up getting robbed or stuffed in their freezer.