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National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC)

Crime Prevention Tips

Home Safety

  • Make sure you have sturdy, metal or solid wood doors at all entries into your home and that sliding glass and similar doors are properly secured.
  • Install and use well-made deadbolt locks (1.5 inch throw or greater) on all exterior doors.
  • Make sure all exterior doors have wide-angle viewers that can be used by everyone in the house. Install two viewers at different heights if necessary.
  • Trim shrubs and trees that might give criminals a place to hide or climb to second stories.
  • Make sure entry door areas are well lighted so you can tell who's there. Motion detector lights, floodlights, or similar lighting can help brighten up the property so crooks can't hide.
  • Make sure everyone - adults, teens, and younger children - knows house rules for answering the telephone and the door.

Child Safety

  • Listen to what children tell you about their lives - friends, school, worries, and fears.
  • Make sure you know your child's friends and the friends' parents
  • Before your children go to another home, ask the adults there whether they have guns or alcohol and if so whether these are securely and safely stored.
  • Check out the neighborhood with your child. Find out whether he or she feels safe or unsafe. Work with neighbors to address problems such as unsafe "shortcuts," dangerous intersections, areas where shrubbery needs trimming back, and a lack of safe places to seek help.
  • Urge kids to play in groups, which are far less susceptible to an approach by strangers.
  • Set up clear rules for play after school, on weekends, and during summer and holiday times. Review them regularly with your child.
  • Be a caring adult and a role model. Let kids know that they can tell you anything and that you will listen.

Neighborhood Safety

  • Start or strengthen a Neighborhood Watch. Almost every local police or sheriff's department in the nation can help you.
  • Find out whether your area has community policing. Work with officers who are assigned to help your neighborhood reduce problems that cause crime.
  • Help those who need a hand making their homes more secure, such as seniors, people living alone, or persons with disabilities. Trim shrubs, install wide-angle viewers, help pick up litter, put in deadbolt locks.

School Safety

  • Tell your child that anything that makes him or her uncomfortable or suspicious should be reported immediately to you and to school officials.
  • Make sure your child travels in groups to and from school; kids in groups are generally safer.
  • Encourage your child's school to provide anger management and conflict resolution training and to consider enlisting students as mediators for their peers - even elementary-age children have done it well.
  • Ask about the safety plan for your child's school. How are local police involved? How are students and parents involved? What emergencies plans are in place?
  • Check out the routes your child takes when walking or biking to school - whatever your child's age. Check out school bus or regular bus stop areas if your child uses them. Look for hazardous shortcuts that might tempt kids or take them out of public view. Agree on safe walking and biking areas.

Vacation Safety

  • Make sure your home is secure - all deadbolts locked, lights left on timers, deliveries canceled or being collected by a trusted neighbor who has your travel schedule. Have a neighbor park their car in your driveway.
  • Take only the credit and other cards that you will absolutely need. Carry traveler's checks instead of cash. Record information on these cards and any valuable equipment that you take with you. Take a copy of this information with you and leave a copy with a friend or family member.
  • Study up in advance on your vacation destination. Know where you want to go and how you want to get there. Ask hotel personnel about the safety of areas off the regular tourist path.
  • Don't leave valuables in full view in the car - your own or a rental. Leave them in the trunk or, better still, in your room safe or hotel safe.
  • Set up rules for each day's outings on where and how you'll link up if you become separated.
  • Don't leave rooms unlocked in your lodgings. Insist that everyone carries his or her key when outside the room.

Senior Safety

  • Be alert when out and about. Go with friends or family, not alone.
  • Carry your purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
  • Don't carry credit cards you don't need or large amounts of cash.
  • Use direct deposit for Social Security and other regular checks.
  • Keep car doors locked, whether you are a passenger or a driver. Be particularly alert in parking lots and garages. Park near an entrance.
  • Sit close to the driver or near the exit while riding the bus, train, or subway.
  • If someone or something makes you uneasy, trust your instincts and leave.
  • Install good locks on doors and windows and use them. Don't hide keys in mailboxes and planters or under doormats. Leave an extra set of keys with a neighbor or friend.
  • Ask for photo ID from service or delivery people before letting them in the door. If you are still uneasy, call the company to verify.
  • Be sure your street address number is large, clear of obstruction, and well lighted so police and other emergency personnel can find your home quickly.
  • Consider a home alarm system that provides emergency monitoring for burglary, fire, and medical emergencies.
  • Don't fall for anything that sounds too good to be true-a free vacation; sweepstakes prizes; cures for cancer and arthritis; a low-risk, high-yield investment scheme.
  • Never give your credit card, phone card, Social Security, or bank account number to anyone over the phone. It's illegal for telemarketers to ask for these numbers to verify a prize or gift.
  • Don't let anyone rush you into signing anything-an insurance policy, a sales agreement, a contract. Read it carefully and have someone you trust check it over.
  • Beware of individuals claiming to represent companies, consumer organizations, or government agencies that offer to recover lost money from fraudulent telemarketers for a fee.
  • If you're suspicious, check it out with the police, the Better Business Bureau, or a local consumer protection office. You can also call the National Consumers League Fraud Information Center at 800-876-7060.
Updated April 21, 2015

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