Refuse to Be a Victim
Prevention Tips to Keep You and Your Family Safe
*WARNING: One window in every bedroom on the ground and second floor should be left available as a fire exit, particularly to children and guests in your home. At night, the bedroom windows may often be the quickest and safest means of getting out. Always leave the key in the double cylinder lock when asleep or at home for quick exit in case of emergency.
Secure all windows and install a deadbolt lock on your apartment door as well a wide-angle viewer (peephole) for proper security. NEVER depend on a chain lock. Use your peephole to “interview” strangers at your door. Ask all salesmen, solicitors, information seekers, etc., to produce valid credentials such as a driver’s license and/or employee I.D. Any stranger who does not cooperate should be reported to the police as a potential threat. Use the intercom system wisely if available. If you do not know the person or persons who rang your bell, do not “buzz” the door for them to enter your building.Cooperate with all other tenants in keeping the outer main doors locked. Do not permit strangers to enter the building as you are leaving or entering. The main entrance front door is a critical area for security. There must be a building policy in force that requires all nonresidents to be screened outside the main entrance door by the tenant who is being visited to prevent unauthorized access.Avoid using the laundromat in your apartment complex by yourself, especially at nighttime. Team up with a neighbor. If you are a woman living alone, do not place your full name on the identification slot or in the telephone directory. Use first and middle initials. Example: “M.C. Smith” rather than “Mary Smith”. Be especially careful in carport areas. Lock your car. When entering or leaving, look around and be sure no one is lurking in the area. If you do see someone loitering (that doesn’t belong) leave immediately and notify the manager or call the police.If there is a storage compartment in the carport, don’t place valuable items in them and expect that they will be secure. A good quality padlock should be used with a well secured hasp. Don’t leave notes for the paper-boy or building manager advertising your absence. Have deliveries picked up by a friend or neighbor while on vacation. Use a timer for lamp or radio to give your apartment an occupied sound or look.Develop a buddy system or apartment alert system with your neighbors in the apartment house to help protect each other’s property. A well organized and active tenant association would be most helpful. Notify the building manager if you leave for an extended vacation and whether you will have a house sitter or someone caring for your apartment. Observe elevator interior before entering. Wait until the next elevator if you are uncertain of any occupant. Females riding alone should always stand near the control panel. If accosted, press all buttons including the alarm. If a suspicious person enters the elevator, exit before the door closes. Also, before exiting from the elevator, observe the corridor for suspicious activity.A key cylinder should be changed within the lock if keys are lost and they clearly identify the location of your building or apartment. This should also be done if the apartment was formerly occupied and you are the new tenant. If you do see someone in your apartment complex that you do not recognize or who may be acting unusual, call the manager or police IMMEDIATELY. So many burglaries could be prevented if more people would report suspicious happenings. When you see a stranger carrying items out of a neighbor’s apartment, PLEASE CALL. Don’t feel like you are being a nuisance, the police will welcome your alertness.
Many times, burglars will use the guise of looking for a “friend” or posing as a salesman. The posting and enforcement of “No Soliciting” signs can greatly reduce the number of unauthorized individuals that wander through a complex. Unauthorized foot traffic in common areas can also be discouraged by use of gates with spring closures. Security lighting is an important aspect in the prevention of theft and assault on both interior and exterior portions of the building carport, stairwell, laundry room, alley, recreation room, and patio lighting should be on a timer system and the bulbs should be of adequate wattage to provide the desired effect. Burnt-out bulbs should be replaced promptly. How long has it been since the locks have been re-keyed? This is a rather inexpensive process and one that should be done after an apartment has been vacated twice. Ask your tenants to refrain from having extra keys made without notifying you and NEVER lend out the master key.
PERSONAL PROTECTION: Most of us have been the victim of either a burglary or theft and have felt the emotional and financial effects of such property crime. Violent crimes such as murder, rape, assault and robbery have a much greater impact on our lifestyle. Our inherent fear of a violent confrontation causes most of us to make everyday decisions based on our personal safety. “Is this a safe Neighborhood?” or “Is it safe to take a walk at night” are frequent questions that reflect a concern that controls our behavior. How can we minimize our fear of violent crime? What steps can be taken to actually reduce our vulnerability to crime such as street robbery? The following will shed some light on these questions.
PEDESTRIANS: Plan so that you are most visible to other people. This means that if you must walk alone, choose open, well lighted and well-traveled areas. Crooks don’t like to strike where eyewitnesses can provide the police with a detailed account. Leave your purse at home if possible. If you must carry one, hold it firmly, close to your body. Purse snatchers prefer to grab from behind. If you walk or jog, especially at night, consider getting a dog that can accompany you on a leash. Criminal offenders relate that a dog is one of the most effective crime deterrents.If you work late hours, arrange to leave at the same time as a co-worker. Try to avoid parking far away from your worksite. Be aware of your surroundings at all times by making eye contact with passersby and glancing occasionally behind you. This type of “body language” will make you less attractive to a prospective mugger. If you sense that you are being followed, change direction or cross the street. If the person persists, run to the nearest place where you’ll find people.DON’T allow a stranger to follow you to your doorstep. Go to a public place where you can call the police whenever you feel threatened. When fleeing from danger alert others as well as the person posing a threat. Yell “Fire…Fire…Fire!” or activate an alarm device such as an aerosol shriek alarm. This device is a hand held noisemaker that, when carried, may dissuade a crook from choosing you in the first place.
DRIVERS: Avoid fumbling for your keys; have them in your hand as you approach your car. Always check the back seat for uninvited guests before getting inside. Keep enough gas in the tank so you won’t get stranded. Keep all doors locked and windows rolled up most of the way. Stay on well-traveled, well-lighted roads. If you are being followed by another car, drive into an open gas station, stay in your car, and ask the attendant to call the police. Better yet, drive straight to the nearest police station for assistance. Park only in well-lighted areas at night. Check for strangers who might be “casing” the area before you exit your car. Honk your horn and drive away if such a person advances toward you.If you are “rear-ended” by another vehicle, motion for the driver to follow you to a public place. “Bump and rob” artists stage such accidents to lure unsuspecting drivers out of their cars to rob them of their wallet or purse. If a driver won’t follow you, obtain as thorough a description as you can and report the incident to the police.If your car breaks down, seek a phone or call box only if safe to do so. Place a “Call Police” banner in your rear window and raise the hood. If a “good Samaritan” approaches, crack a window and ask them to call the police or your tow company.
AT HOME: Check for signs of forced entry such as broken glass, a torn screen or pry marks before venturing inside. Make it a habit to leave a few dollars out in the open near your entry way. Back out quietly if you see the money is gone. NEVER feel reluctant to call the police if you sense a possibility of an intruder inside. Screen all strangers knocking at your door. Interview them through a one-way peephole while your door is locked. Anyone who refuses to present his or her employee I.D. upon request should be reported to the police.Properly secure all openings at nighttime. “Cat burglars” are deterred when the only means of gaining entry would require breaking glass or smashing a door. Don’t assume that upper floor windows are too high for a burglar’s reach.
IF YOU ARE A VICTIM… Some confrontations are unavoidable. When you consider that 4 out of 10 violent crime victimizations by strangers involve an armed offender, it’s vital that you be prepared to minimize your risk of injury. Be willing to give up your valuables. A purse, wallet or jewelry is not worth fighting for when facing someone wielding a weapon. Carry only as much cash as you need. If confronted, try to stay calm. An assailant will be less likely to attack you if you appear controlled and self-confident. Try to mentally note your assailant’s appearance without staring.Use physical self- defense techniques only as a last resort to protect yourself when attacked. Go to the phone and dial 9-1-1 as soon as possible. Let the police operator take charge and instruct you. Remember, your quick actions in notifying the police will increase their chance of apprehending the suspect and preventing future victims.Victim/Witness Assistance: Being the victim of a violent crime can have lasting emotional effects. If you are a victim, don’t suppress your feelings of anger or frustration. If you are the friend or relative of a victim, lend your emotional support by being available to listen.
Steps to Escaping the Violence
GET TO A SAFE PLACE!
It’s a crime to threaten or hit another person. If you are the victim of domestic violence, you have the right to protect yourself and to expect help from others.
Don’t stay in your home. Doing nothing solves nothing. Go to a friend, neighbor, or relative.
Temporary shelter is available for battered persons and their children. The important thing is to get to a safe place as quickly as possible!
CALL THE POLICE!
If you are in a battering relationship, you cannot control the situation, therefore it is important to report any assault or battery to the police department by calling 9-1-1 immediately.
The sooner you report a battering the better. By allowing others to become involved you are helping yourself, and helping the batterer.
If there is enough evidence against your assailant, an arrest will be made. There will be an arraignment before a judge and bail will be set.
If bond is posted, the batterer will be released until a pre-trial hearing is held. It is common for victims to fear for their safety during this time. You are a witness in the case, and tampering with a witness is a crime. If you are harassed or threatened by anyone regarding the case, report it to the police and ask that action be taken.
DON’T BELIEVE… “I’ll NEVER HIT AGAIN”
Criminal prosecution and/or civil action (divorce or separation) are options for any battered person. Often the batterer is unable to admit there is a problem. Counseling is only helpful if both partners want help and are motivated to work together. If the abuse is habitual or extremely violent, the batterer may need long term therapy.
CONSIDER YOUR FUTURE SAFETY
If the batterer refuses to seek help, it is unlikely the beatings will stop. Statistics show the beatings will become more and more severe. Protect yourself.
LOOK FOR HELP!
You’re not alone.
If you are planning to set up a separate residence, do some planning in advance and locate resources to support you in the first few weeks. Check with private social service agencies, churches or the battered women’s shelters.
Don’t be ashamed to ask for help!
Every year unsuspecting citizens are swindled out of their savings by con artists; smooth talking, often convincing criminals who seek by various schemes to separate honest people from their money.While these criminals prey primarily on the elderly, every one of us is susceptible; men and women, the successful and the unemployed, working people and the retired. You could be approached by a con artist almost anywhere, out-side a bank or savings and loan, at a bus stop, at a Senior Citizens meeting, while you’re shopping, or at your home.While approaches may vary, and the con artist may appear perfectly normal and friendly, there inevitably comes a time when you will be asked to withdraw money from your savings. The reason for this may seem logical; to show your “good faith”…to help in the investigation of a “dishonest employee.” BE ON YOUR GUARD. If you do turn over money to one of these people, even for a moment, you will never see it again.The following are three common “bunco” schemes:THE EXAMINER SCHEME – If a stranger tells you that he or she is an examiner or investigator and asks you to help catch a dishonest employee, BEWARE. If you seem interested, the con artist will say he or she will re-deposit your money in such a way that the “dishonest” teller will be caught red-handed. The phony examiner will pick up your money and give you a fake receipt, never to be seen or heard from again A simple preventative measure would be to call and check with your financial institution before doing anything. Banks never involve their account holders in investigations.THE PIGEON DROP SCHEME – If a stranger or strangers tell you they have found some money, and try to convince you that it was ill gotten by the loser (maybe a gambler) and can be kept, BEWARE. You will be told you may share the find if you withdraw money from your savings to show “good faith” and responsibility. You may think you have your money in view, but the envelope or bag will be quickly switched. Only on going back to re-deposit your money do you discover you have only pieces of blank paper.THE AUTOMOBILE AND HOME REPAIR SCHEME – Vagabond thieves frequently do auto body repair work to earn extra money. They will drive around town looking for dented vehicles and, after locating one and its owner, they inform the owner that they can make the repairs cheaply. After the work is done the thieves may then say the job was complicated and charge an exorbitant fee. Vagabond thieves also use various introductory statements to induce home owners to allow them to repair or tar roofs, or resurface driveways.HOW TO AVOID BECOMING A VICTIM
First, some Carjacking facts:
Safety Tips: BE AWARE. This is very important! Giving the appearance of not paying attention and not being alert is what suspects look for in a victim.Look around and get a BIG PICTURE of your surroundings.At times you may want to be a little suspicious of a person or persons, ask yourself why is this person where they are? Some victims have seen the suspect but the victim thought the person looked “innocent,” “he was just standing around,” etc.Keep your house keys and car keys on separate key chains.When going to your car have your keys out and ready; look around for anyone “hanging” around your car or your path to your car.Don’t hesitate to run back to where you came from to get help.LOOK AROUND one last time just before exiting your car. When you pull into a parking area look around for anyone “hanging” around, or someone who seems to “pace” their walk to arrive at your parking place as you are exiting your car. If you see someone like this move to another parking area or leave the area.If you do not see anyone around then park your car, and try to avoid parking next to large vehicles such as vans.BUT, by the time you are ready to exit your car several seconds have passed – there could now be someone in the area – SO, TAKE ONE LAST LOOK AROUND before exiting your car, keeping your car keys handy in case you need to get back in quickly.By keeping your keys in your hand you can quickly get back into your car if someone suddenly appears and approaches you….GET BACK IN THE CAR – HONK THE HORN – START THE CAR – AND START THE CAR MOVING OUT OF THERE!In a minor “fender bender” type accident, if the location is secluded, instead of getting out immediately, you may want to drive to an open business, Police Station, Fire Station, etc. for your safety. Motion the other driver to follow you; you do not want to give the other driver the idea you are running away from an accident, even though the other driver caused the accident.Keep your car doors locked and windows rolled up.Keep packages, purse, etc. on the floor rather than on the seat where they are easier to see.Keep your car in good working order and with plenty of gas.If you have car trouble keep your doors locked and windows up. If someone stops to help stay in the car and ask them to call the police or a service station which you have the phone number to and are aware the station stays open 24 hours.
Thousands of children are reported missing every year in America. Some children will be found and returned home. Some will not.Child abduction is a tragedy that devastates parents and touches all of us. These tips tell you how to keep your children safer.
WHAT TO DO:
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN:
EMERGENCY NUMBERS Fill out the following form and post it where it is easily accessible for your children.Explain to them what each number is for.