Personal Safety

Many crimes are easy to avoid by taking personal responsibility and making decisions that make you less of a target.  These crime prevention tips should be practiced in your home, at work, or traveling. 

Personal Safety

Parking Your Vehicle

  • Lock your doors...even at home..even in your own garage...even if you're only going to be gone a few minutes. It doesn't matter where you are or how long you will be there.
  • Never leave valuables in your vehicle. This includes cell phones, MP3 players, purses, radios, GPS units, garage door openers, cameras, chargers and other accessories, clothes, bags, paperwork, etc.
  • Avoid parking next to trucks, SUVs, vehicles with tinted windows, or anything that can serve as a shield for thieves. The more open space and light you have, the better.    

Shopping

  • Shop during daylight hours and park in a well-lit area.
  • Dress comfortably. Expensive clothing or jewelry may draw attention to other valuables in your car or home.
  • Avoid carrying a purse or wallet. If you do, zip/button purses, carry wallets in a front pocket, and never carry a social security card or other personal information.
  • Secure everything you carry. This is often hard to do if carrying several bags. Be certain they remain in clear view and protected.
  • If making a trip to your vehicle to unload shopping bags, do not just drop them off and return to shopping. Get in your vehicle and drive around to another side of the shopping center - make it appear you are leaving. Otherwise, you are showing people that you have left valuables inside.
  • Be aware of everything around you at all times; do not let your guard down.
  • If going somewhere with children, point out where to go if they need assistance or get lost.

 

Online Shopping

  • Shop with companies you know; anyone can design an online shop. If you aren't familiar with the merchant, ask for a paper catalog and/or research the company.
  • Pay attention to a company's return and refund policy before making purchases.
  • Keep passwords private-never give your password to anyone and avoid using a birthday or portion of your social security number.
  • Use a secure browser. This is the software used to navigate the Internet. Browsers should comply with all industry security standards. These standards encrypt or scramble information you send over the Internet.
  • Pay by credit card. If you do, your transaction is protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act. This law gives you the right to dispute charges under certain circumstances and temporarily withhold payment while the creditor investigates them.
  • Keep personal information private unless you know who is collecting it, why it's being collected, and how it will be used.
  • When possible, mail packages and have packages mailed to a place where they will not be lying around for someone to take. Have them picked up at post office or require that someone signs for it.

Paying for Items

  • Avoid carrying a lot of cash.
  • Keep your credit card safe. Keep the card face-down or covered, and if using an ATM card then shield yourself when entering the PIN.
  • If a receipt shows your entire credit card number, then mark out all but the last couple of numbers.
  • Do not leave receipts lying around or throw them away in a public trash can. Take it with you. Shred unneeded receipts and bills.
  • Do not provide personal information or money on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you initiated contact or are certain who you are communicating with. If someone is impatient, rude, or disappointed that don't give them money, there's probably a good reason. If in doubt, then trust your gut. A legitimate company will understand.
  • Never put mail in an unlocked mailbox.  

Workplace

  • Keep your purse, wallet, keys, and other valuables with you or locked in a safe place at all times.
  • Check the identity of strangers in your office. If anyone makes you uncomfortable, inform security or management immediately.
  • Don't stay late if you'll be alone in the office. Create a buddy system for walking to parking lots or public transportation after hours, or ask a security guard to escort you.
  • Report broken or flickering lights, dimly lit corridors, broken windows, and doors that don't lock properly.
  • Report signs of potential violence of a fellow employee to the appropriate person. Immediately report incidents of sexual harassment.

Leaving Home

  • Leave a light, radio, and/or television on in your house, or set them to a timer - make it appear someone is home.
  • Inform trusted neighbors when you will be out of town. Find out whether your neighborhood or apartment complex has a Neighborhood Watch program and find out how it may assist you when leaving town.
  • Ask neighbors to watch your home, shovel sidewalks, pick up newspapers, collect mail, and park in the driveway from time to time - not doing these things are signs nobody is home.
  • Lock all doors and windows, even if they aren't on the first floor.
  • Hide and secure personal information.
  • Don't leave mail in your mailbox for an extended period. If leaving town, have your mail held until you return.
  • If flying, do not include your address on luggage tags. This information informs people where you live and that you won't be there.   

Always!!

  • Report crimes or suspicious activity immediately by calling 911 from the location of the occurrence. Do not drive home first as you may be leaving the jurisdiction of the local police department that needs to respond.
  • Have as many details as possible.
  • Keep a record of credit card and bank account numbers and contact information for each.
  • Keep a record of all transactions.
  • Keep serial numbers of electronic devices.
  • If you believe your credit card or bank information has been taken, call the company and cancel your cards immediately.
  • Regularly check your credit reports (free once a year!) from Equifax at 800-525-6285, Experian at 888-397-3742, and TransUnion at 800-680-7289.