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Tip Sheet

crime prevention tips

Crime Prevention Tips

Crime Prevention is the attempt to reduce and deter crime and criminals.  It is applied specifically to efforts made by governments to reduce crime, enforce the law, and maintain criminal justice.

Many people are concerned about the threat of rising crime in their communities.  Fortunately, there are ways to help protect your home, your neighborhood, and yourself from crime.  From simple steps like keeping your doors locked to securing your personal belongings.  There are plenty of things you can do to prevent crime.

Luckily, the crime rate in Pikeville, is moderately low.  By following some of the safety tips listed below, we can keep crime away from our small town.

Businesses – Help Prevent Shoplifting

Shoplifting can cost your business thousands of dollars each year. Shoplifters may be any age, gender, or economic or ethnic background. There is no “typical” shoplifter. They often work in pairs or groups to divert the clerk’s attention while they steal. They often operate when employees are apt to be less alert, e.g., at store opening and closing times, during the lunch and dinner times, and during shift changes. Shoplifters also learn to take advantage of crowded stores during peak hours. Effective prevention begins with an aware and alert staff.

Stopping a Shoplifter: If you suspect that someone may be considering lifting something, approach the person and ask “Can I help you?” or “Can I ring that up for you?” If you suspect that someone has lifted and concealed something, request the assistance of another worker.  Plan a “buddy system” for your own safety and as a witness.  If someone leaves your store without paying for an item, have an employee follow the suspect and get a good description of him or her, and any vehicle used, and call 911 to report the crime.  Do not have your employee attempt to detain the suspect unless he or she has been trained in apprehension and arrest procedures.

Home Security Information

Most criminals who break into homes devote little if any time at the advance planning of any specific break-in.  Their crimes are, for the most part, crimes of opportunity.  They pick what appears to be an easy mark.  If the criminal thinks your home is a greater risk of getting caught or not getting in, they move onto a safer or easier target.  The more you can do to keep your home from looking like an easy target, the safer you are.  There are also many steps that you can take to minimize your loss and improve your chances of recovery if a break-in does occur

The first step in improving overall security is to take a hard look at the security measures already in use in your home. Don’t “welcome” a burglar into your home!

Double-Hung Windows

Double Hung Windows – To secure a double-hing window, drill a downward sloping hole into the top of the bottom window, and through that into the bottom of the top window.  A pin can now be inserted, locking the window shut.  By partly opening the window (less than 4″) and making a second set of holes, the window can then be used for ventilation.  Remember, open windows and doors, even if secured, should never be left unattended while you are gone or asleep.

Exterior and Interior Lighting

It is a known fact, that good lighting is a deterrent to crime.  While any lighting will help reduce your risk of becoming a victim, the proper lights, used correctly will be the most effective deterrent to criminal activity.

Exterior lights are important, especially near doors and in the rear of the house, where intruders do most of their work.  All sides of your home should be protected by security lighting that is located high out of reach, and is vandal resistant.  Lighting in carports and garages is critical.  For garages, an automatic garage opener is the best choice.  Almost every garage door opener made today, has a light that comes on when the opener is activated.  In carports, it is best to either leave a light on, have a light on a timer, or have a light connected to a motion sensor or photo electric cell.  The best light to use on the exterior is a motion detector type of fixture.  The advantage to this type of light, especially in the backyard, is that the light warns the resident that someone is in their yard.  While there is a concern that dogs, cats, or birds will trigger the sensor and cause the lights to come on, if the resident sets the sensitivity of the sensor correctly this will not be a problem.  In the front yard, any type of lighting will be effective, as long as the lighting pattern covers the entire front and sides of the house.  Sensor lighting will be effective, but is more prone to “false alarms” caused by things like people walking down the sidewalk, or children playing.

Interior lights are equally important. When residents go out for an evening, they usually leave on their “burglar beacon”. A burglar beacon is a small light that is left on so they don’t walk into a dark house when they come home.  These are lights like the one above the kitchen sink or stove, the hallway light, or a light in the corner of the living room.  Unfortunately these lights are a signal for the criminal that no one is home.  If you go out for an evening leave a radio and several lights on.  When you go on vacation, put at least two lights, in different parts of the house, and a radio on timers. Regardless of whether you are on vacation, or just gone for the evening, from the outside, your house should look as if someone is home.

House & Garage Doors

Entry doors should be solid core wood (at least 1-3/4″ thick) or metal wrapped. Your door should fit it’s frame tightly, with no more than 1/8″ clearance between the door and the frame. If the gap is too big, replace the door or bolt a sturdy metal strip to the door edge. You will boost your protection, and save energy too.

Most hollow core doors can be easily broken through. If the door is flimsy or weak, or doesn’t fit securely into the frame, it offers little protection, no matter what locks you use. Doors with decorative glass panels or windows are easy marks. It takes only seconds to break the glass and unlock the door. If you do not want to replace such doors, install a break-resistant plastic panel, such as Lexan®, or decorative grille over the glass. Attach the grill with special non-removable screws.

For the best protection, install a wrought iron security door over your front door. Wrought iron doors not only provide an extra level of visible security against a break-in, they also allow you to open your front door to strangers, or leave the front door open for ventilation.

Your garage door should be securely locked at all times (even when you are home). Keeping it locked is just as important as keeping your home locked, especially if the garage is attached to the home. Once inside the garage a burglar can work uninterrupted at getting into the house. Statistics show that approximately 40% of non-forced entry residential crime is through open garage doors.

If you install a “doggie door” be sure it is not a way in for burglars as well as the dog. Do not be complacent by the fact that you have a small dog. Burglars come in all sizes.

Landscaping & Yard Security

A few alterations to your landscaping can be enough to put off intruders. To avoid getting caught, intruders look for property they can get into and out of quickly. Their ideal target is a house surrounded by large hedges and shrubs, which hamper visibility from the street and neighbors houses.

Bushes, Shrubs and Trees: Trim shrubbery and trees so doors and windows are visible to neighbors, and from the street. Trimmed landscaping should not provide concealment for criminals. If you have a second floor, prune trees so they can’t help a thief climb in second floor windows. Place trellises where they can’t be used as ladders to gain entry to the upper floors.

    • Ground plants (shrubbery and bushes) within 4 feet of any sidewalks, driveways, doors or gates, should be maintained at a height of not more than 2 feet.
    • Ground plants between 4 and 8 feet of any sidewalks, driveways, doors, or gates, should be maintained at a height of not more than 4 feet.
    • Ground plants under windows should be maintained at a height that is below the window sill.
    • Trees should be trimmed so that the lower branches are more than 6 feet off the ground.

Place large gauge gravel on the ground near windows. The noise caused by intruders walking on it can become a psychological deterrent. DO not place river rocks or other items near glass windows or doors. You do not want to provide the burglar with his tools!

Plant spiny (thorny) plants along fences and under windows. Such plants will discourage even the most nimble intruder. Protecting with spiny plants is as effective as the use of barbed wire, and a lot more attractive.

Limited or Direct Access to Yards & Storage

Intruders look for no, or few obstacles blocking quick exits. Fences prevent burglars from carrying away large items if the gates are locked. Gates should be locked at all times, even when your are home!

Ladders and tools should be stored in a garage or storage shed, and these areas should be locked.

Landscaping should also be designed to control access to your property.  Proper barriers make the person with criminal intent feel uncomfortable as he or she approaches your home or business.

Locks, Strike Plates & Hinges

The “lock-in-knob” offers you privacy and convenience but it does not offer security from intruders.  In fact, many “lock-in-knob” locks can be opened by using a simple credit card.  You may have privacy, but you don’t have security.

All exterior doors require the use of a deadbolt lock.  When you turn the key the locking mechanism slides a strong metal bolt from the door into the door’s frame.

When you buy a deadbolt lock, make sure:

    • The bolt extends at least 1″ into the front edge of the door
    • The strike plate is attached through the trim to the door frame with screws at least 3″ long
    • It has a rotation case hardened shroud that prevents it from being twisted off with a pair of pliers or other tools.

The two most common types of deadbolts are:

    • Single Cylinder Deadbolts – Have a thumb turn on the interior side. They are convenient to use and may speed up the exit process in the event of fire. If used near a window they can be opened by breaking the window and reaching through. This type of deadbolt lock does not prevent the burglar from taking your property out through the door.
    • Double Cylinder Deadbolts – Utilize keys on both sides. This type of lock should be considered if there is glass window within 40″ of the lock. However, this type of lock does present a potential fire escape hazard. This type of deadbolt lock can delay a burglar that wants to use the door to remove your property from your home.

Keys: As many as half of all burglaries take place without forced entry.  Many times the burglar uses a key.  Be sure your keys don’t fall into the wrong hands.

    • Never carry identification on your key ring holder.
    • Re-key all locks when you move into a new house or apartment.
    • Know who has keys to your home.  Do not give keys to maintenance or delivery people.  If you must leave a key behind, leave it with a trusted neighbor.  Make sure that each member of your family knows where his or her key is located.
    • Never hide a key outside.  Burglars know all the hiding places.
    • Do not hang keys on hooks within plain view inside your home.

Strike Plate: The strike plate is attached to the door frame with screws.  The metal bolt of the deadbolt lock slides into the strike plate to secure the door soundly to the door frame.  A high security strike plate is required to keep the metal bolt from being kicked from the door frame when locked.  A high security strike plate should have at least 4 screws that are a minimum of 3″ long.

Hinges: Hinges are often installed with the same 3/4″ screws as the common strike plates.  Replace these with 2″ to 3″ fully threaded screws so the hinges are anchored to the sub frame.  In some cases the hinges are installed in such a manner that the hinge pins are exposed to the exterior and an intruder may attempt to remove the pins in an effort to gain entry. Hinges can be pinned by installing a partially threaded screw into the frame side of the hinge.  The unthreaded portion of the screw is left exposed and the head of the screw is cut off.  A corresponding hole is drilled into the door and hinge on the opposite side, so when the door is closed the exposed portion of the screw fits in to the door.  This will prevent the door from being lifted out.

Sliding Glass Doors & Windows

People often install sturdy locks on their front doors but leave sliding glass doors and sliding glass windows “wide open” to illegal entry.  Burglars look for both of these because they are easy to open.  Usually, sliding glass doors and windows are more secluded than a front door, making a perfect place for burglars to hide and enter. Two factors must be protected against.

Prying the Lock:  Most sliding glass doors and sliding windows come equipped with a lock that is easily pried open.  A supplemental lock must be installed.  Broomsticks (they should fit snug), “Charlie Bars” and finger operated locks provide some protection.  Key locking devices are much more preferred because they can prevent the burglars from using the door or window to remove stolen property.  There are several types of supplemental locks available.  Keyed locks may be keyed alike with other entry lock sets and deadbolts.  Check with your locksmith or hardware store and select a sturdy type that most suits your home.

Lift Out: Many sliding glass doors and sliding windows can be lifted out of their tracks from the outside.  Two sheet-metal screws placed in the track above the removable part of the door or window can prevent it from being removed.  Adjust the screws so that the doors or window will just clear underneath them.  Drill a hole and insert a nail through the inside frame and part way through the metal door frame.  you can remove the nail but the burglar cannot!

Street Numbers

Street numbers should be easily visible from the street.  Critical time can be saved by emergency responders when the street address for the house is visible from a distance.

On your house:

    • Use numbers made of reflective materials, or black on white, that are 6″ high.
    • Keep numbers new and clean, and replace when necessary.
    • The number should be placed under a light and near the front door or garage entrance.

Your house number should be painted on the curb in front of your driveway.  4″ to 6″ high black numbers on a white background is most effective.  It should be centered at the end of your driveway or just to the house side of your driveway.  If you live along an alley, your house number should be painted (as stated above) on the fence outside your alley gate.

Personal Safety Information

Most criminals who break into homes devote little if any time at the advance planning of any specific break-in.  Their crimes are, for the most part, crimes of opportunity.  They pick what appears to be an easy mark.  If the criminal thinks your home is a greater risk of getting caught or not getting in, they move onto a safer or easier target.  The more you can do to keep your home from looking like an easy target, the safer you are.  There are also many steps that you can take to minimize your loss and improve your chances of recovery if a break-in does occur

The first step in improving overall security is to take a hard look at the security measures already in use in your home. Don’t “welcome” a burglar into your home!

At Home Security

    • Always lock your doors, even if it is daytime and you’re going in and out of the home.
    • Do not allow strangers to enter your home.  Do no open your door unless you can identify the person seeking entry.
    • All windows should be secured with anti-slide devices.
    • Secure sliding glass doors with a lock or bar, or place a piece of wood or broom handle in the track.
    • Move valuables so they cannot be seen from porch windows.
    • Never leave a house key hidden outside your home.
    • Fasten air conditioners units securely to the windowsill or window frame so they can’t be removed from the outside.
    • Arrange for an unlisted telephone number.
    • Do not put your name on the outside of your residence mailbox and do not leave notes on outside doors.
    • Consider a bank safety deposit box or fire-proof safe for valuable documents and items.

Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)

    • Try to use ATMs during daylight hours. If you must go at night, do not go alone.
    • Avoid ATMs that are not well lit or clearly visible from the street.
    • Be aware of people loitering or sitting in cars around ATMs.
    • Prepare your transaction ahead of time. Do not spend much time at the machine.
    • Do not give out your Personal Identification Number (PIN) to anyone! Many thieves will attempt to steal your PIN number by calling you on the phone and claiming they are the police, security officers, or bank officers. Memorize it and do not keep a written copy of it in your wallet.
    • Either keep your ATM receipt or tear it up and throw it away.

Bicycle Safety & Protection

    • Use a bike light when riding a bicycle at night.
    • Wear a helmet at all times when riding a bicycle.
    • Obey all traffic laws; you must stop at intersections; pedestrians have the right of way.
    • Pay attention to your surroundings; warn pedestrians when you are passing them.
    • Take extra care when passing parking lot exits or driving through parking lots.
    • Give proper hand signals when turning or stopping.
    • Before leaving a lane, give a hand signal. Leave the lane only when safe to do so.
    • Secure your bicycle with a heavy duty U-lock or chain. When possible, lock at least your front wheel and frame to a bike rack or other stationary object.
    • Do not park your bicycle in a doorway, on stairs, or blocking any handicapped access. Use a bike rack.
    • Engrave or permanently mark your bicycle with an identifying number.

Cell Phone Protection

    • Carry your phone with you whenever possible and make sure it is in a safe place whenever you leave it behind. If you are leaving your phone in your car, be sure it is hidden from view.
    • Turn off your phone when you are not using it.
    • Request a personal identification number.
    • Use the “lock” feature on your phone.
    • Report a stolen cellular telephone immediately to the cellular telephone carrier and Police.
    • Check your monthly bills carefully, and report unfamiliar calls to your cellular phone company.
    • Do not give out your electronic serial number or even your phone number to strangers, including callers who represent themselves as technicians testing your line.
    • Keep your subscriber agreement, which includes your electronic serial number, in a secure location.

Con Artists

    • If a deal sounds too good to be true; it probably is.
    • Be wary of any get rich quick scheme that wants you to invest money in advance.
    • Never give out your credit card information over the phone unless you made the call.
    • Do not buy on the spur of the moment; take time to research the company or product.
    • If you are approached by a possible con artist or unauthorized solicitor, report the incident immediately to the Police.


    • Never give your password to anyone.
    • Change your password frequently.
    • Do not allow others access to your email account.
    • Monitor your access time; by keeping track of when and how long you were on a computer system, it will be obvious if someone has gained access to your account.
    • Be wary of anonymous “re-mailers”.
    • Do not put personal information or photos on your web page and do not give personal information that can identify where you live to social networking sites.
    • Never leave your computer/laptop unattended.
    • Engrave markings on your computer.
    • Shop online only with companies that you know; check with the Better Business Bureau if unsure.
    • Use a secure browser that will encrypt or scramble purchase information or pay with a money order or check.
    • Update your virus software regularly, or when new versions are available.
    • Do not download files sent to you by strangers or click on hyperlinks from people you don’t know.
    • Make certain that all your personal information is deleted from your computer prior to disposing of it.
    • Monitor your children’s Internet access and consider installing blocking software.

Computer Scams

    • Computer phishing is a crime. Phishers attempt to fraudulently acquire credit card details and other sensitive personal data via bogus emails or pop-up windows. It may look like a legitimate email from a legitimate institution, but beware of unsolicited requests for information.
    • Financial or payment institutions will never request that you send them personal sensitive data via email or pop up windows.
    • If you receive a suspicious looking email from any bank, lending, or payment institution, it is best to delete and not respond. If, by coincidence, you have an account with the entity mentioned in the email, call your legitimate institution using the number on your physical bill or via the telephone book or through telephone information.
    • Do not call the number that may be listed in the bogus email and do not click on any link listed in the bogus email.

Dating Safety

    • Check out a first date or blind date with friends first. Better yet, go with other friends on your first date.
    • Carry money for a taxi or public transportation in case your date is cut short; bring a cell phone also.
    • Trust your instincts about situations to avoid.
    • Be clear and responsible in your communications with others.
    • Be forceful, firm and assertive.
    • If you go out with other friends, don’t get separated; watch out for each other.
    • Do not lose self control or impair your judgment by the use or abuse of alcohol or drugs.
    • “No” means “NO”!!

Online Dating

    • Never give personal information to people that you don’t know (name, home address, phone number, etc.).
    • If you decide to talk to someone on the phone don’t give out your number; call them and use caller ID block.
    • Use a nickname in chat rooms or message boards.
    • Meet chat friends in public places and with other friends; take a cell phone with you.
    • Never go to someone’s room, apartment or house, that you just met.

Describing a Suspect or Vehicle

General Descriptions:

    • Date
    • Time
    • Location
    • Direction of Travel
    • Weapon

Suspect Information:

      • Male/Female
      • Adult/Juvenile/Approximate Age
      • Race
      • Height/Weight
      • Hair Color
      • Eye Color
      • Mustache, beard, sideburns, or other facial hair
      • Tattoos, scars, or other identifying marks
    • Gait, limp, or amputations


    • Hat
    • Glasses
    • Shirt type/color
    • Pants type/color
    • Shoes

Automobile Information:

    • Make/Model
    • Color
    • Year
    • Body style (2-door, 4-door, convertible, truck, etc.)
    • License Plate number
    • Distringuishing features (spoiler, racing stripes, tinting, damage, etc.)

Everyday Living

    • Take a self-defense course. If female, see if a Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) course is offered.
    • Keep emergency numbers near your phone. Better yet; remember them!
    • Lock all doors and windows every time you leave your room/apartment/home, even if you plan to be gone for just a minute.
    • Keep house and car keys on separate rings.
    • Do not lend your keys to service / maintenance people you do not know well.
    • Always ask service / maintenance people to identify themselves before allowing them to enter your room/apartment/home.
    • Get to know your neighbors so you can help each other.
    • Do not keep large sums of money, jewelry, or valuable items in plain view in your room/apartment/home.
    • When out of town, set radios, lights, and televisions on timers.
    • If you are living off campus, leave spare keys with trusted neighbors, not under a doormat or in a flower planter.
    • Try to avoid entering elevators occupied by strangers. If you are waiting for an elevator with a stranger, stand away from the door to avoid being pushed inside.
    • Get off on the next floor if you feel uneasy. Hit the alarm button if you are accosted on an elevator.
    • Please report any broken or malfunctioning locks to the facilities department.

On Foot

    • Avoid dark, vacant, or deserted areas; use well-lit routes.
    • Avoid walking / jogging / running alone, especially at night. Ask a friend to go with you. Call Public Safety to accompany you around campus during evening hours.
    • Dress in clothes and shoes that will not hamper movement.
    • Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Avoid wearing headsets that impair your ability to detect and respond to potentially dangerous situations.
    • Report suspicious activity or noises immediately.
    • Carry a noise making device with you at all times, and use it if you suspect you are in danger. Move to a lit area or building and raise a commotion. Call 911 or activate a blue light emergency phone in the event of an emergency.

If you Sense Trouble

    • Move away from the potential threat if possible; cross the street and increase your pace.
    • Join a group of people nearby.
    • If a threatening situation is imminent and people are close by, yell, scream or do whatever you can to get their attention. Remember, dialing 911 and/or activating a fire alarm are both part of the personal safety system. 911 calls are free from most pay phones, and blue light emergency phones are usually located in many areas on campus and simply require a push of a button to notify emergency services of your situation.
    • If you are facing an armed criminal, you may minimize the risk of injury to yourself if you comply with the criminal’s demands. However, if your life is in immediate danger, use any defense you can to get away.
    • Dial 911 immediately and give a description of the suspect

Getting Around Safely

    • Plan your route in advance and walk/jog/run in familiar places.
    • Go with a known companion, if possible.
    • Carry identification.
    • Don’t wear jewelry or carry cash.
    • Avoid secluded or dimly lighted areas.
    • Avoid going after dark.
    • Always face the traffic.
    • If you’re being followed, cross the street or change directions; keep looking back and get a good description of the person.
    • If you’re still being followed, go to the nearest house or business and call the Police.
    • Wear bright colors to improve your visibility.
    • Change your route and schedule.
    • Avoid bushes where a person could hide.
    • Carry your cell phone, a whistle or shrill alarm to summon help.
    • Do not wear headphones/earphones for an iPod, Walkman, etc.

Using Public Transportation

    • Try to avoid isolated bus or train stops and times when few people are around.
    • Stay away from the curb until bus/train arrives.
    • If possible, sit near the driver and notify him or her of any problems.
    • A crowded bus is a prime target for pick pockets; carry your bags close and carry your wallet in your coat of front pant pocket.
    • If someone is bothering or harassing you, move to another seat location and/or tell the person in a loud voice to “STAY AWAY”.
    • Remain on the buss/train if you are uncomforatble with getting off.

Helping a Crime Victim

    • Don’t blame or judge the victim
    • Let the victim know that you are sorry for what happened.
    • Offer the support of a professional counselor.
    • Tend to the immediate physical or emotional needs of the victim.
    • Do not disturb any crime scenes.
    • Offer to support the victim if they decide to contact the police.
    • Listen to the victim if they are willing to talk about the crime.
    • Help with transportation, babysitting, cooking or other everyday needs.
    • Offer to accompany the victim to the police station, hospital or courts.
    • Tell the victim you will continue to be there for support and follow up with him/her later.

    If You Are Attacked

      • Go with you instincts, but be realistic about your ability to fight off someone; your instinct may be to run, scream, kick, hit or bite.
      • If a weapon is displayed, don’t resist. Give up your property and save your life.
      • Do what you are told and don’t make any sudden moves.
      • Try to remember as many details as possible and alert Police as soon as possible.
      • Your goal should be to escape safety and survive; cooperate if you think that resisting may lead to further harm.
      • Remember every situation is different; you are the only one who can decide the appropriate course of action.
      • Constantly play the “what if” game to think about what you would do in a particular threatening situation. This will help prepare you to respond instinctively when a threat is encountered.
      • After an event, never feel guilty about what you did or did not do.

    Letter & Package Bomb Indicators

    Detecting Suspicious Packages / Letters

    The item does not have to be delivered by a carrier; most bombers set up and deliver the bomb themselves. If delivered by carrier, inspect for lumps, bulges, or protrusions, without applying pressure. If it is delivered by carrier, balance check if lopsided or heavy sided. Handwritten addresses or labels from companies are improper. Check to see if the company exists and if they sent a package or letter.

    Packages wrapped in string are automatically suspicious, as modern packaging materials have eliminated the need for twine or string. Excess postage on small packages or letters indicates that the object was not weighed by the Post Office. No postage or non-canceled postage is suspicious. Any foreign writing, addresses, or postage. Handwritten notes, such as: “To Be Opened in the Privacy of”, “CONFIDENTIAL”, etc. improper spelling of common names, places, or titles, and generic or incorrect titles.

    Check for leaks, stains, or protruding wires, string, tape, etc. If it is hand delivered or dropped off for a friend, or if there is no return address or nonsensical return address. Any letters or packages arriving before or after a phone call from an unknown person asking if the item was received are also suspicious.


      Motor Vehicle Safety

        • Park in well lighted areas, where your vehicle is visible; avoid parking next to vans or trucks.
        • Keep all items out of sight, especially valuables. Remove or place CD players/cases, etc. in the trunk.
        • Service your vehicle regularly to avoid breakdowns.
        • Keep your vehicle locked at all times.
        • Consider “The CLUB” or an alarm system.
        • When leaving your car for service, remove your other keys.
        • Have your key ready when you approach your car.  Before getting in, check inside and under your car to make sure no one is hiding.

        Obscene & Annoying Phone Calls

          • Hang up as soon as you realize the nature of the call. Do not try to find out who the caller is, even if you think it is a friend playing a joke.
          • Use your answering machine to screen calls. You can also record an obscene phone call with the memo feature on some answering machines.
          • If the calls occur frequently, keep a log of exactly when the call was received and what both parties said. Describe the type of voice and note any background noises.
          • Consider changing your phone number and depersonalizing your answering machine message.
          • Consider purchasing a machine that requires an access code before your phone will ring.
          • If the calls continue, contact the Police.When leaving your car for service, remove your other keys.
          • Have your key ready when you approach your car.  Before getting in, check inside and under your car to make sure no one is hiding.

        Parenting & Keeping Kids Safe

        Keeping Kids Safe

          • Teach kids how to use the telephone for emergencies.
          • Help kids memorize important phone numbers.
          • Teach kids to not talk or play with someone they don’t know.
          • Teach kids to not accept a ride or gifts from someone they don’t know.
          • Make sure your kids know where to go for an emergency.
          • Instruct your kids to tell you if anyone touches or speaks to them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.
          • Know where your kids are, who they are with, and when they will be back.
          • Enroll your kids in a first aid or babysitting course.

        Parenting About Alcohol & Drugs

          • Learn about the current alcohol and drugs of choice and talk to your kids. The website is a great resource.
          • Listen; let them share their feelings and experiences.
          • Learn the laws and remind them of the consequences of getting caught.
          • Refer your kids for medical and physiological evaluations as necessary.

        Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft

        In order to protect yourself you man need to destroy private records and statements, destroy credit card statements, solicitations and other documents that contain any private information. Shred this paperwork using a “cross-cut” shredder so thieves can’t find your data when they rummage through your garbage. Also, don’t leave a paper trail; never leave ATM, credit card or gas station receipts behind.

        It is always a good idea to secure your mail, empty your mailbox quickly, lock it or get a P.O. Box so criminals don’t have a chance to steal credit card offers. Never mail outgoing bill payments and checks from an unsecured mailbox, especially at home. They can be stolen from your mailbox and the payee’s name erased with solvents mail them from the post office or another secure location.

        Safeguard Your Social Security Number (SSN)

        Never carry your card with you, or any other card that may have your number, like a health insurance card or school issued ID. Don’t put your number on your checks; your SSN is the primary target for identity thieves because it gives them access to your credit report and bank accounts. There are very few entities that can actually demand your SSN – the Department of Motor Vehicles, for example. Also, SSNs are required for transactions involving taxes, so that means banks, brokerages, employers, and the like also have a legitimate need for your SSN.

        Safeguard Your Computer

        Protect your computer from viruses and spies by using complicated passwords; frequently update antivirus software and spyware. Surf the Web cautiously, shop only at trustworthy websites and be wary of obscure sites or any site you’ve never used before. Know who you’re dealing with, whenever you are contacted, either by phone or email, by individuals identifying themselves as banks, credit card or e-commerce companies and asked for private identity or financial information, do not respond.

        Legitimate companies do not contact you and ask you to provide personal data such as PINs, user names and passwords or bank account information over the phone or Internet. If you think the request is legitimate, contact the company yourself by calling customer service using the number on your account statement or in the telephone book and confirm what you were told before revealing any of your personal data.

        Take your name off marketers’ hit lists. In addition to the national Do Not Call Registry at 888-382-1222 or visit the National Do Not Call website, you also can reduce credit card solicitations for 5 years by contacting an opt-out service run by the three major credit bureaus: 888-5-OPT OUT or online. You’ll need to provide your SSN as an identifier.

        Guard Your Personal Information

        Ask questions whenever anyone asks you for personal data, how will the information be used, why must I provide this data? Ask anyone who does require your SSN, for instance, cell phone providers, what their privacy policy is and whether you can arrange for the organization not to share your information with anyone else.

        Monitor Your Credit Report

        Each year, obtain and thoroughly review your credit report from the three major credit bureaus; Equifax (800-685-1111), Experian (883-397-3742) and TransUnion 800-680-4213 or at Annual Credit Report.com to look for suspicious activity. If you spot something, alert your card company or the creditor immediately.

        Review Your Bank & Credit Card Statements Carefully

        Look for unauthorized charges or withdrawals and report them immediately. Make sure you recognize the merchants, locations and purchases listed before paying the bill. If you don’t need or use department store or bank-issued credit cards, consider closing the accounts.

        Keep track of your billing dates/cycles and follow up with creditors if you don’t receive bills/statements on time. Use random letters and numbers for passwords; don’t use your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, your graduation date, your social security number or any other familiar letters or numbers that can be associated with you as passwords.

        Be Aware of How ID Thieves Can Get Your Information

        They get information from businesses or other institutions by stealing records, bribing employees with access to records, hacking into computers, rummaging through trash, posing as a landlord, employer, or someone else who may have a legal right to the information, stealing credit and debit card numbers as your card is processed by using a special information storage device (“skimming”), stealing wallets and purses containing identification and credit or bank cards, stealing mail, including bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, new checks, or tax information or completing a “change of address form” to divert your mail to another location.

        If Your Identity Is Stolen

        Contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit bureaus. Tell them that you’re an identity theft victim. Request that a “fraud alert” be placed in your file, along with a victim’s statement asking that creditors call you before opening any new accounts or changing your existing accounts.

        Equifax (To Report Fraud): 800-525-6285; PO Box 740241, Atlanta, GA  30374

        Experian (To Report Fraud): 888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); PO Box 9532, Allen, TX  75013

        TransUnion (To Report Fraud): 800-680-7289; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, PO Box 6790, Fullerton, CA  92634

        Contact the creditors for any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Speak with someone in the security / fraud department of each creditor, and follow up with a letter. If your SSN has been used illegally, contact the Social Security Fraud Hotline at 800-269-0271. File a report with Public Safety or the Police in the community where the identity theft took place. Get a copy of the police report in case the bank, credit-card company, or others need proof of the crime

        Keep records of everything involved in your efforts to clear up fraud, including copies of written correspondence and records of telephone calls.

        Road Rage

          • Do not take your eyes off the road.
          • Avoid eye contact with an aggressive driver.
          • Stay cool; don’t react to provocation.
          • Distance yourself from drivers behaving erratically.
          • Do not make obscene gestures.
          • Use your horn sparingly.
          • Keep to the right except to pass; don’t block passing lane.
          • Do not switch lanes without signaling.
          • Avoid blocking the right-hand turn lane.
          • Do not take more than one parking space.
          • If you are not disabled, don’t park in a disabled space.
          • Be careful to not allow your door to hit the car parked next to you.
          • Do not tailgate.
          • Avoid unnecessary use of high beam headlights.
          • Do not become distracted by a cell phone, CD players, GPS system, etc.
          • Do not stop in the road to talk with a pedestrian or other driver.
          • Do not expose neighboring cars or others with loud or inappropriate music.
          • Assume other drivers’ mistakes are not personal.
          • Be polite and courteous, even if the other driver isn’t.
          • Avoid all conflict if possible. If another driver challenges you, take a deep breath and get out of the way.
          • Lower your stress by allow plenty of time for the trip, listening to soothing music, etc.
          • Understand that you can’t control the traffic, only your reaction to it.
          • If you are followed, either drive to the nearest police station or call 911 on your cell phone.
          • Finally, if you are tempted to drive irrationally, ask yourself: “Is it worth being killed? Is it worth going to jail?”.

        Theft Protection

          • When leaving your dorm room, home, or office, lock doors and windows even if you will be gone for “just a minute.”
          • Never leave your purse, wallet, or valuables exposed; store them out of sight. Be especially careful with your credit cards, which are very popular items among thieves because they are usually easy to steal and then use again. Consider obtaining a credit card with your photo imprinted on it.
          • Computers, especially if they are portable, are primary targets of theft. Consider the purchase of a locking security or tracking device.
          • Contact Public Safety to borrow engravers; engrave computers, stereos, and televisions with your driver’s license number (including home state) or department name. Do not engrave on removable serial number plates.
          • Keep a list of all items and serial numbers in a safe place.
          • Never prop open a locked door.

        Walking Around School Campus

          • Familiarize yourself with the layout of the campus. Survey the campus while classes are in session and after dark to see that academic buildings, walkways, facilities, and parking lots are adequately secured and well-lighted.
          • Plan the safest route to your destination; choose well-lighted, busy pathways and streets.
          • Share your class schedule with your parents and trusted friends and give them your telephone numbers.
          • At night, stick to well-lighted areas whenever possible and avoid alleyways or “short cuts” through isolated areas.
          • Travel in groups and avoid going out alone at night.
          • Know where the emergency call boxes are located on campus and learn how to use them.
          • If you are being followed, change direction and go to the nearest business or home; knock on the door, and request that someone call the Police. Note the description of the person following you.
          • Walk near the curb and avoid shrubbery or other places of potential concealment.
          • Tell a friend or roommate where you are going and what time you expect to return.
          • Stay alert to your surroundings and the people around you.
          • Carry your purse close to your body and keep a firm grip on it; carry your wallet in an inside coat pocket or your front pant pocket.
          • Keep your keys and cell phone separate from your purse or backpack.
          • Don’t overload yourself with bags or packages and avoid wearing shoes that restrict your movements.
          • Walk with a confident stride; keep your head up and look around.
          • If a motorist stops and asks for directions, keep your distance from the car.

        When Driving

          • Carry a cell phone.
          • Never let fuel level get below ¼ tank.
          • Drive on well traveled streets and keep your car in gear while it is stopped. Allow at least one car length space between your car and the car in front of you so that you can escape should someone try to get into your car.
          • Always be aware of your surroundings and check your rear view mirror often.
          • Keep doors locked and windows shut and keep valuables out of sight; either covered or in the trunk.
          • If your car breaks down, open the hood and stay inside. If someone stops to help, do not open your window or door, but have him or her call for assistance.
          • If you do not know the location of your destination, ask someone for specific directions before you leave.
          • If you get lost, do not pull over until you find a well-lit public area, and then call the police.
          • If you suspect you are being followed, drive to a well-lit public area and call the police.
          • Always carry an emergency kit in your vehicle with first aid supplies, flares, flashlight, jumper cables, blanket, etc.
          • Never pick up hitchhikers.
          • Beware of people who yell, honk, and point at your car as if something is wrong; if your car breaks down, stay inside and lock the doors. If anyone approaches to help, crack the window and ask them to call the Police. Ask uniformed people to show identification.
          • Beware of people who motion and ask you to stop and lend assistance; if you want to assist someone whose car has broken down, go to the nearest phone or use your cell phone and call the Police.
          • Beware of people who may bump your vehicle from behind; if you think you were bumped intentionally, signal the other person to follow you to the nearest police station.
          • If a person with a weapon confronts you and wants your vehicle, give it up.  No car is worth being injured or losing your life over.

        Workplace Safety

        Safety at Work

          • If you’re working late, let someone know where you are and how long you expect to be; or better yet, plan in advance to have a co-worker stay with you.
          • Keep your purse or wallet locked in a drawer or filing cabinet at all times.
          • Politely ask strangers who they are visiting and offer to help find the person; if you are suspicious of the person contact Public Safety or the Police.
          • Check the identification of any maintenance or repair personnel.
          • Keep emergency phone numbers posted near your phone.
          • Know your office emergency evacuation plan.
          • If possible, employees should wear IDs.
          • Be cautious if using restrooms, elevators or stairwells that are isolated or poorly lit; or go with a friend.
          • Keep money, check books, or other valuable items out of sight.
          • Report any suspicious, threatening or alarming behavior of others to your supervisor or Public Safety/Police immediately.

        Office Equipment

          • Record the serial numbers, brand names and descriptions of property or valuables that are kept in your office. Keep a duplicate copy of this information and a photo of the item at another location. It can be used later to recover stolen property.
          • Insure that all university property is properly engraved; for personal items, engrave your driver’s license number and home state on the item.
          • Ask strangers in your office to identify themselves.

        Active Shooter (Workplace Violence)

        If you are involved in a situation where someone has entered the area and started shooting, the following are a list of actions that are recommended:

          • If possible exit the building/area immediately, but only if it can be done safely.
          • Notify anyone you may encounter to exit the building immediately.
          • Notify Police.
          • Give the following information:
              • Your name
              • Your phone number
              • Location of the incident (be as specific as possible)
              • Number of shooters
              • Identification of shooter
              • Number of persons who may be involved
              • Your location

        If exiting the building/area is not possible, the following actions are recommended:

          • Go to the nearest room or office.
          • Close and lock the door.
          • If unable to lock the door, use a wedge device or heavy furniture to block the door; a belt or other objects may be able to wedge the door shut.
          • Cover the door windows.
          • Depending upon the shooters location, exit out the window quietly and quickly.
          • Stay low, move away from the door, keep quiet and act as if no one is in the room.
          • DO not answer the door.
          • Notify the Public Safety or Police.
          • Provide information as needed.
          • Wait for the Police to assist your exit from the building.

        Follow all instructions by Police Officers.  The police may not know if the shooter is hiding among you, therefore the police may search you and your belongings and/or do other things for everyone’s safety.

        If you are trapped with the shooter, you need to decide whether to:

          • Stay still and play dead
          • Run for an exit in a zigzagging pattern, or
          • Attack the shooter



        Sexual Assault Prevention

        Sexual assault is a crime of violence, not sexual passion.  It is menat to degrade, humiliate, and control.  The attacker can be a stranger or someone known and trusted.  It can happen to anyone, at any time, at any place.  The trauma of being assaulted is a shock from which many victims never fully recover.

        No matter which form it takes, sexual assault is as much a problem today as it has been throughout history.  While those most at risk are people between the ages of 10 and 29, it can happen to anyone at any age.

        There is no portrait of a “typical” rapist.  They, like their victims, are all ages and come from all racial and social backgrounds.  They can be college students, married, doctors, teachers, or unemployed transients.  Most are not crazy or deranged men looking for sex. In fact, the majority of offenders are highly intelligent, married men with families and have ready access to consensual sex; but they rape to control, dominate and humiliate the victim.

        The information below provides suggestions on how to avoid dangerous situations, ways to resist if threatened or attacked, and how to cope with an attack. The information is by no means complete. There are numerous community organizations that provide prevention programs and post-incident counseling to citizens and victims.

        Myths & Facts About Sexual Assault

        MYTH: Sexual assault is a crime of passion and lust.

        Sexual assault is a crime of violence. Assailants seek to dominate, humiliate and punish their victims.

        You cannot be assaulted against your will.

        Assailants overpower their victim with the threat of violence or with actual violence. In cases of acquaintance rape or incest, an assailant often uses the victim’s trust in assailant to isolate the victim.

        A person who has really been assaulted will be hysterical.

        Survivors exhibit a spectrum of emotional responses to the assault: calm, hysteria, laughter, guilt, anger, apathy, shock. Each survivor copes with the trauma of the assault in a different way.

        Sexual assault is an impulsive act.

        75% of all assaults are planned in advance. When 3 or more assailants are involved, 90% are planned. If 2 assailants are involved, 83%. With one assailant, 58% are planned.

        Assailants are usually crazed psychopaths who do not know their victims.

        As many as 80% of all assaults involve either a known acquaintance, or someone the victim has had contact with, but does not know personally.

        Gang rape is rare.

        In 43% of all reported cases, more that one assailant was involved.

        Many women claim they have been sexually assaulted because they want revenge upon the man they accuse.

        Only 4-6% of sexual assault cases are based on false accusations. This percentage of unsubstantiated cases is the same as with many other reported crimes.

        Persons who dress or act in a sexy way are asking to be sexually assaulted.

        Many convicted sexual assault assailants are unable to remember what their victims looked like or were wearing.

        All women secretly want to be raped.

        While women and men may fantasize about being overpowered during sexual relations it is usually with a person of their choosing, who they trust. They are in control of the fantasy. No one wants the physical and emotional pain caused by a sexual assault.

        Only young, pretty women are assaulted.

        There is no such thing as a “typical victim.” Both men and women are assaulted by both male and female assailants. Victims have ranged in age from newborns to 100 years old.

        It is impossible to sexually assault a man.

        Men fall victim for the same reasons as women: they are overwhelmed by threats or acts of physical and emotional violence. Also, most sexual assaults that involve a male victim are gang assaults, by other males.

        If you do not struggle or use physical force to resist you have not been sexually assaulted.

        If you are forced to have sex without your consent, you have been assaulted whether or not a struggle was involved.

        How to Reduce Your Risk of Becoming a Sexual Assault Victim

        While statistics say that most sexual assaults are premediated, in some instances it is a “crime of opportunity,” such as a date rape.  The victim and suspect, for whatever reason, are at the same place at the same time.  Whether the assault is one of opportunity or premeditation, there are simple precautions a person can follow to reduce, avoid, and even eliminate their chances of becoming a victim.

        There are three locations where a person should be especially alert: While Driving, At Home and While Walking.

        While Driving:

          • Keep your car in good working order and the gas tank at least half full.
          • Park in well-lighted areas and lock the doors, even if you’ll only be gone a short time.
          • Before returning to your car look around the parking lot for suspicious persons.
          • When you return to your car have your key ready and check the front and rear seats and floor before getting in.
          • Drive with all the doors locked.
          • Never pick up hitchhikers.
          • If you have a flat tire, drive on it until you reach a safe well-lighted, and well-traveled area.
          • If your car breaks down, put the hood up, lock the doors, and put on the flashers. Use flares if you have them and tie a white cloth to the antenna. If someone stops to help, don’t get out of the car, but roll down the window slightly and ask the person to call the police or a tow service for you.
          • If you see another motorist in trouble, don’t stop. Help by going to a telephone and calling the police for assistance.
          • Exercise extra caution when using underground and enclosed parking garages. Try not to go alone.
          • If you are being followed, don’t drive home.  Go to the nearest police or fire station and honk your horn.  Or drive to an open gas station or other business where you can safely call the police.  Don’t leave your car unless you are certain you can get inside the building safely.  Try to obtain the license plate number and description of the car following you.

        At Home:

          • Make sure all windows and doors in your home can be locked securely, particularly sliding glass doors. Use the locks. Keep entrances well-lighted.
          • Install a peephole in the door and use it.
          • Check the identification of any sales or service person before letting him in.
          • Don’t let any stranger into your home when you’re alone-no matter what the reason or how dire the emergency is supposed to be. Offer to make an emergency phone call while they wait outside.
          • Never give the impression that you are at home alone if strangers telephone or come to the door.
          • Get to know your neighbors – someone you can turn to if you’re worried.
          • If you live in an apartment, avoid being in the laundry room or garage by yourself, especially at night.
          • If you come home alone and find a door or window open or signs of forced entry, don’t go in. Go to the nearest phone and call the police.W

        While Walking:

        • Be alert to your surroundings and the people around you. Keep your head up and look alert.
        • Stay in well-lighted areas
        • Walk confidently at a steady pace on the side of the street facing traffic.
        • Walk close to the curb. Avoid doorways, bushes, and alleys.
        • Wear clothes and shoes that give you freedom of movement. If you wear high heels at work, carry them with you and wear athletic shoes to work. You can change when you get there.
        • Don’t walk alone at night if possible. If you have to, be alert.
        • Be careful when people stop you for directions.  Always reply from a distance, and never get too close to the car.  If you are in trouble, attract help any way you can.  Yell something other people will understand, “Help”, “Police”, “Fire!”

          If You Are Attacked

          Keep your head. Stay as calm as possible, think rationally and evaluate your resources and options. It may be more advisable to submit (this does not mean you consent) than resist and risk severe injury or death. Everyone has different strengths and abilities. You will have to make this decision based on the circumstances. But, don’t resist if the attacker has a weapon. Keep assessing the situation as it is happening. If one strategy doesn’t work, try another. Possible options in addition to non-resistance are negotiating, stalling for time, distracting the assailant and fleeing to a safe place, verbal assertiveness, screaming to attract attention and physical resistance. If you think fighting back / struggling may discourage the attack, remember you have to hurt the rapist bad enough to create the time you need to escape. Consider scratching with your fingernails, biting, poking in the eyes, kicking in the knee or groin, hitting on the nose, or jabbing the eyes or throat. Weapons such as guns, knives, and chemical sprays can easily be turned against you unless you are trained, and are not afraid to use them. You must be prepared to possibly kill the attacker. If you are determined to carry some type of weapon, a chemical spray (such as pepper spray) is your best choice. It’s non-lethal if used against you. Remember, you already have weapons with you, your keys, pens, pencils, etc. You also have your most important weapon, your brain. You may be able to turn the attacker off with bizarre behavior such as throwing up, urinating, or defecating.




          Surviving a Sexual Assault

          Fear, guilt, and embarrassment may make it difficult to report the crime and tell those closest to you. After a severe emotional trauma, one needs the understanding and support of family and friends to help get through this difficult time. It is important to realize however, that loved ones do not always know what to say or do to help. Well-meaning advice or criticism about what happened is obviously painful. Keep in mind that their reactions can be the result of their own reluctance to accept the reality of everyone’s vulnerability to crime. They can only do their best. It sometimes helps if you can let them know what you need.

          A traumatic event like this leaves emotions raw and leaves people feeling vulnerable. It is normal to experience dramatic mood swings, to cry easily, to be irritable, or become upset over small things. You may have a startled response if you see someone who looks similar to your assailant or when you see something that reminds you of the crime. It is helpful to get counseling in order to deal with these feelings and to learn about the normal steps victims tend to go through after an assault.

          Victims tend to go through several stages when coping with a sexual assault. General denial comes first, followed by a realization phase and then anger.

          The Denial Stage:

          Initially, there may be denial with the victim shutting others out and avoiding the subject.  This is often an attempt to believe that the assault did not happen.  Disbelief can be protection from the overwhelming feelings associated with the trauma.

          The Realization Stage:

          Denial is often followed by a realization phase where feelings begin to come out. Victims often lack trust in others. Fear of future assaults may cause you to isolate yourself. The most destructive feeling at this stage is a tendency to blame yourself for the assault. Don’t blame yourself.

          The Anger Stage:

          Victims usually move next to a stage of anger. This is healthy when your feelings are directed toward your assailant. Sometimes your anger may be misdirected towards those around you. Let them know that you are not angry with them, but rather with what happened to you. The anger can cleanse because it indicates you are beginning to integrate the event into your life and move on without guilt.

          Looking Ahead:

          Finally, you can begin to look ahead. You accept that it was terrible, but you realize it is over.


              • Report the crime and cooperate with the police. Taking positive action against the assailant will help resolve your trauma. You will also be helping your community.
              • It is your personal decision who else should be told about what happened. You have a right to privacy and only those you wish to tell need know about the incident.
              • Express your feelings and needs to those who care. Be clear about what you want them to do or not do.
              • It is very normal for feelings of fear to linger and these are often difficult to overcome. Do whatever you need to do to be safe. Talk to a counselor about ways to feel safe.
              • Return to your normal routine as soon as possible. Everyday routine will help you regain a feeling of control in your life.

          Reactions of Others:

          Your family and friends will also have mixed feelings and confusion over the crime. They may be uncomfortable around you because they may be afraid of making things worse. Common feelings are anger at the assailant, and frustration at not being able to direct that anger at the assailant. Marital relationships can become strained. The victim often feels uncomfortable resuming sexual relations following an assault. Most spouses or partners of the victim can accept these feelings intellectually, but still feel rejected or blamed in some way. Encourage your spouse or partner and other family members to seek help if they are having a hard time adjusting.

          The Police Investigation:

          If an arrest was not made immediately, a detective will be assigned to investigate the case. You will probably be questioned several times in an effort to get as much information as possible about your assailant and the crime. Report any new information on the case to the detective assigned. You may be asked to help with an artist’s drawing, take a polygraph or view a lineup. These are investigative tools. Without positive identification of the suspect, prosecution is not possible.

          Going To Court:

          If the suspect is arrested, the suspect may be released from jail on bond or on their own promise to return to court. The judge will order him not to see you or talk to you. You should report any contact by the suspect or by anyone claiming to be the suspect’s attorney to the police and county attorney immediately. Your interests will be represented by the county attorney’s office shortly after an arrest is made and charges are filed.

          You may be subpoenaed to testify at a preliminary hearing about what happened. During this hearing, the judge listens to the facts to decide if there is “Probable Cause” for the case to go forward to superior court. This hearing is not to determine guilt or innocence, and there is no jury. The court process can take many months. This is normal so try not to be frustrated by the delays. Your victim assistance caseworker is available to give you the information and emotional support necessary to achieve a successful prosecution. Your input and participation will be important at various times to ensure a just outcome.

          National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673