Crime Prevention In The Home
Crime Prevention In Public Places
Protecting Your Home While On Vacation
Crime Prevention At Work
Keeping Your Children Safe
Q: Where can I obtain crime prevention information?
A: The Bellevue Police Department is committed to the philosophy of ”community policing"; that is by working together with the citizens of Bellevue, the police can solve crime-related problems and prevent crime. The department stresses community involvement in crime prevention and works hard to educate citizens on what they can do to prevent crime.
To accomplish this, the Bellevue Police Department provides many brochures and pamphlets on crime prevention, free of cost, to the community. These documents can be obtained at the Bellevue Police Department's main station, or at the Bellevue Police Department Community Policing Unit sub-station in the lower level of the Southroads Mall.
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CRIME PREVENTION IN THE HOME
- Invest in solid doors and good quality locks on doors and windows. This includes on all sliding glass doors as well. Make it not only difficult but also time consuming for a burglar to gain entry. Move exterior door hinges to the interior or install non-removable hinge pins.
- Whenever you go outside, lock the door and take the key with you, even if you are just stepping next door or out mowing the back yard.
- Don't hide a spare key under the door mat or under a flower pot. Thieves know all the good hiding places.
- Be sure your garage door can be secured. Do not leave it open when you are away; an empty garage broadcasts your absence.
- Always double check doors at night and lock all windows.
- Have deadbolts installed on all doors. Keep doors and windows locked.
- Install a wide-angle peep-hole on your door and look before opening the door.
- Never open the door to strangers.
- When moving into a house or apartment, change or re-key all locks.
- If door keys have been lost, change locks or re-key immediately.
- When you aren't home, use a timer set to turn interior lights on and off at varying intervals as though your home was still occupied.
- Invest in a good security system along with motion sensor lights installed out of reach.
- Be sure the exterior of your home is well lit at night.
- If a stranger asks to use your phone, get the information and place the call for him. Do not allow any stranger into your home.
- Keep blinds or drapes closed to discourage "Peeping Toms." Do not hang lingerie outdoors.
- Instruct children never to answer a doorbell or a knock at the door.
- If you hear a prowler inside your house, get out of the house, if possible, through a back door or window. Avoid any confrontation with the prowler.
- Do not leave clubs or night spots with strangers or invite them to your apartment or home.
- When dealing with visitors, repair persons, or delivery persons remember this: Most service company employees carry identification cards. Examine the identification carefully. If such a person does not have an ID, get their names and phone the company they claim to represent before letting them in.
- Never open your door to anyone you do not know. Always verify by telephone that these persons work for the company they say they represent and have been sent for the reason stated.
Other General Home Safety Tips:
- Don't keep large amounts of cash or really valuable jewelry around the house. Consider a safe deposit box.
- Plant thorny bushes under all windows. Trim back any trees or shrubs near doors and windows to eliminate hiding places for would-be thieves.
- Don't leave ladders outside. Keep any tools that could be used to break in your home safely locked away in a garage or shed.
- Don't put valuables where they can be seen from the window, especially items that can be easily carried.
- Engrave all valuables such as stereos, microwaves, video cameras, with your driver's license number. Videotape the contents of your home. Keep the video and the list of all valuables in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box.
- Use your initials rather than your first name in the phone book and in your mailbox.
- Make sure your answering machine message does not indicate that you are alone.
- Put curtains or blinds on all windows and keep them closed at night.
- Avoid giving your house keys to anyone other than family members or trusted friends.
- Know the neighbors you can trust in an emergency.
- When returning home, have your keys ready and enter the house as quickly as possible.
- If you sense that something is not right, do not go into your home or apartment. Call the police.
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CRIME PREVENTION IN PUBLIC PLACES
- Keep your doors locked and windows rolled up at all times.
- When you go out, be sure to let someone know your destination, route and expected time of return.
- Keep your car properly maintained.
- Use busy, well lit streets when possible.
- Be sure you have enough gas to get to your location.
- When stopped at a light, leave enough room between you and the car in front that you could make an escape and leave your car in gear when you have to stop at intersections.
- If you wish to help a stranded motorist, do not stop. Instead, go to the nearest telephone and call for help.
- If you think you are being followed by another car, do not go home. Drive to the nearest police or fire station, open gasoline station, or other well lit place. Do not get out of your car; rather, use your horn to summon help.
- If your car breaks down in an isolated area, turn on the emergency blinkers, raise your hood, get back in your car as quickly as possible, then lock your doors and keep the windows rolled up. If someone stops, ask that they send help. Do not get out of your vehicle or accept rides from anyone.
- If someone tries to force their way into your car, blow your horn.
- Stay alert and attuned to things going on around you. Do not leave your car if you observe any suspicious persons in the area.
- Have your car key ready before you approach your car so you do not make yourself vulnerable while searching for the right key.
- When you reach home, leave your car lights on until you open the garage. Have your house key ready before you get out of the car.
- Be suspicious of anyone approaching the car with fliers, asking for change or directions. Be ready to leave carefully, even if it means running a red light or stop sign.
- While driving, if struck from behind or in any suspicious way, stay in your vehicle with the doors locked and windows closed until the police arrive. Activate your vehicle's emergency flashers.
- If you're very suspicious, get the other vehicle's license number and drive to the nearest police station or a well-lighted area with lots of people.
- Obtain and use a cellular phone to call for help. In Nebraska, dialing 9-1-1 anywhere in the state from a cellular phone will connect you with the nearest law enforcement agency.
Parking Lot Safety:
- If you must leave a key with a parking attendant, leave only your vehicle's ignition key. Do not leave anything attached to it with your name and address.
- When you park your car, close the windows, lock the doors and take the key with you.
- Install and use anti-theft devices, whether an alarm or a protective device like a club or a collar. Be sure to activate the device every time you leave your vehicle.
- Park only in well-lighted areas near other vehicles. Put radar detectors and cellular telephones out of sight and keep valuables out of sight, preferably locked away in the trunk.
- Don't hide a spare key in a magnetic key box; thieves know all the hiding places.
- At home, if possible, put your car away in a locked garage, or at least parked in the driveway.
- Be sure your house, garage and driveway are well lit.
- If you have two cars and one of them is easy to break into, then park it in your driveway so it's blocked by the other car.
- When you park your car, turn the front wheels to the left or right and put the emergency brake on. This locks the wheels, making it difficult for a thief to tow your car.
- Don't park next to a van's sliding door.
- Change from high heels to low flats or even sneakers when leaving work. They are better to run in.
- At night, leave your office or building in the company of others. Don't leave alone after dark. If possible, have someone from your building security escort you, or call for police assistance.
- Approach your vehicle with your keys already in your hand.
- Look around your vehicle for any suspicious activity. If you see someone loitering around your vehicle, walk past until they leave.
- Do a quick scan of your vehicle's interior before unlocking the door. Be sure to look in the back seat.
- Keep your doors locked and your windows shut.
- Be suspicious of anyone approaching your vehicle, whether passing out leaflets or asking for donations. Always leave the car windows up.
- Avoid walking or running alone at night. Instead go walking or jogging with a friend.
- Walk only on busy, well lit streets and vary your daily routine.
- Don't use headphones while walking, driving or jogging.
- Try not to overload yourself with packages.
- Avoid the use of short cuts.
- Carry a whistle.
- Do not walk too closely to the inside of a sidewalk, near bushes, alley entrances, driveways or entrances to private places and don't walk through dark parking lots, parks or other dark places.
- If someone in a vehicle stops and asks for directions, answer from a distance. Do not walk over to them, but make them speak louder. Do not approach the vehicle.
- If you think someone is following you, do not go home; go instead to a neighbor's house, open business or other well lighted place where there should be people to help you.
- Do not display cash openly, especially when leaving an ATM.
- If a car approaches and the driver bothers you, walk in the opposite direction.
- If you arrive home by taxi or with a friend, ask them to wait until you are inside your home.
While Using Public Elevators:
- Stand near the control panel.
- Familiarize yourself with the emergency buttons of the elevator.
- Look inside the elevator to be certain no one is hiding inside before getting on.
- Get off if someone suspicious enters.
- If you are worried about someone who is waiting for the elevator with you, pretend you forgot something, and do not get on it.
- Do not enter an elevator if there is a person on it whom you are suspicious of. Wait for the next elevator.
- If you are attacked, push the alarm and as many floor buttons as possible.
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CRIME PREVENTION WHILE YOU ARE ON VACATION
- Contact the police department and have your home put on a vacation watch. Its easy and FREE.
- Strive to make your home look as lived-in as possible while you're away.
- Don't broadcast your plans but do let your neighbors and local law enforcement know.
- Give a spare key to your neighbors and give them an emergency telephone number to reach you.
- Arrange to have your mail and newspapers either stopped or picked up daily.
- Have someone mow your yard or rake the leaves so your house looks lived-in.
- Use automatic timers to turn on a radio and lights at different intervals to hide the fact you aren't home.
- Turn down the ringer on the telephone. An unanswered telephone is a dead give-away.
- Be sure you don't announce your absence on your answering machine message.
- Leave your blinds like you normally would if you were home. Only close them all the way if that is what you would normally do.
- Be sure to close and lock the garage as well as any storage sheds, gates, etc.
- Engrave all your valuables with your driver's license number. If possible videotape the contents of your home. Be sure to keep the video and the list of valuables in a safety deposit box.
- Ask your neighbor to occasionally park in your driveway. If you are leaving a vehicle parked outside, have the neighbor move it periodically so it looks as though you are home.
- Be sure someone knows your itinerary and your estimated time of arrival and return.
- If you get lost while traveling, ask directions of local law enforcement, not complete strangers.
- Be sure your vehicle is in good working condition and that you have taken enough money. Do not carry large amounts of cash, use credit cards and travelers' checks.
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General Internet Safety:
- Don't reply to ANY unsolicited emails. Even unsubscribing will alert the senders that your email address is being used.
- Use your messaging software's filtering tools to reject mail from your frequent spammers' email addresses or with certain words (sex, for example) in the subject line.
- Find out if your ISP has a spam blocking service. If not, sign up for a third party spam blocking service such as Brightmail (www.brightmail.com).
- Contact the large directory services such as Bigfoot, Infospace, Switchboard, Yahoo People Search, and whowhere, to tell them you don't want to be listed.
- Encrypt and digitally sign all your sensitive email messages. If your messaging software doesn't support robust encryption, download PGP Freeware encryption software (http://web.mit.edu/network/pgp.html) and use that.
- Use WinZip (www.winzip.com) software to compress and password protect your attachments.
- To avoid cookies sent via email, use email client software, such as Eudora Pro, that lets you shut off its automatic Web Browser rendering engine.
- Don't read email on a machine that doesn't belong to you or someone you trust. If you use a browser to read email on someone else's machine, use the browser's Clear History tool when you finish to prevent subsequent users from getting into your mailbox.
- Don't send sensitive personal messages on your work machine.
- Keep your antivirus software updated at all times.
Safe Web Browsing:
- Upgrade your Web browser to 128-bit encryption.
- Read Web site privacy policies carefully and make sure you understand them. Look on your favorite Web sites for privacy seals of approval from BBBOnline, TRUSTe, ePublicEye, or CPA WebTrust.
- If you're reluctant to provide certain information on an online form, don't.
- Set up a special free email account with Yahoo, Hotmail, or other free services and supply those addresses when you fill out forms.
- Before you give your credit card number to any commerce site, make absolutely sure it's secure. Look for a closed padlock icon at the bottom of the screen or https in the URL.
- Delete all the cookies in your cookie directory (generally c:\windows\cookies) frequently.
- Disable cookies in your browser (an extreme measure) or set your browser to alert you to cookies, or to accept only cookies that return to their original server or, better yet, install cookie management software (such as Webroot Software's WindowWasher or The Limit Software's CookieCrusher) to control which cookies your PC will accept.
- Use an anonymous browser such as Anonymizer to hide your identity and filter cookies.
- If a Web site gives you the option to opt out of tracking, take it.
- If you have a fast and constant DSL or cable connection, get some personal firewall software, such as Symantec's Norton Personal FireWall or Network ICE's BlackICE Defender, and install it, FAST!
- Turn off file and printer sharing in Windows if you're not using it. Intruders will have an easier time accessing your files if this is activated.
- Elect not to accept news or updates from Web sites you visit.
- Fake your return address when you use chat or newsgroups.
- Turn off your Instant Messaging software when you're not using it.
- Set your Instant Messaging software to allow only people you trust (in your buddy list, for example) to access you.
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CRIME PREVENTION AT WORK
- Install lighting at the front and back as well as near any side doors of your business. Try to eliminate as many shadows as possible.
- Use only solid core doors. Be sure the door frames cannot easily be jimmied.
- Use deadbolts and be sure to change the locks every time an employee with access to them leaves.
- Install burglar-resistant glass or use wire mesh or iron bars over all glass.
- Arrange merchandise so that a passerby can see into the store. Keep your expensive merchandise away from the windows, toward the center of the store.
- Keep front windows free from posters, etc., which can prevent a burglar inside from being seen by a passerby.
- Install and use a drop safe. Limit the amount of cash in the register and post signs indicating that a drop safe is used and register only has limited cash.
- Check ventilation system to ensure it cannot be used to gain entry.
- Offer to walk other employees out after dark or after closing hours.
- Keep all rear doors secure during business hours, and especially before opening and closing the business.
- Provide secure lockers for employees. Have employees lock their valuables in these lockers or in a secure desk drawer. Do not let employees leave valuables in a place where anyone can get to them.
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- Don't keep large amounts of cash at home or in your possession. Establish a checking account. Most banks offer low-cost, economy checking for those who don't need to write a large number of checks.
- Protect your deposit slips and checkbook. Never give anyone a deposit slip or bank check. Your deposit slip contains your account number and should never be used as a way to give someone your address and phone number. Never tell anyone your account number other than for legitimate business reasons. Your account number could allow someone access to your account.
- Protect your bank statements. Either keep them or destroy them. Don't put them in the trash where someone might retrieve them later.
- Never give out information about your bank account by telephone. Your bank will not call by phone to ask for information of this kind.
- Exercise caution when going to and from your bank lobby. Stay alert and don't loiter. Don't openly carry cash or checks. Keep them concealed in your purse or pocket. Be cautious of strangers.
- If you are victimized near your bank or on bank property, report it to the bank as well as to the police.
- Have Social Security checks and other regularly recurring checks deposited directly into your bank account. Most banks are able to accept Social Security checks directly from the Social Security Administration. Check with your bank to determine what kinds of checks it will accept by direct deposit.
- Check with your employer about having your payroll check deposited directly in your bank.
- Use a safe deposit box to store valuable items such as jewelry and important documents like the title to your car. This provides protection against damage from fires and floods as well as from theft. The cost of a safe deposit box is usually only a few dollars a month.
Automatic Teller Machine and Night Deposit Safety:
- Protect the Personal Identification Number you use with your ATM. Don't write it on your card. Stand directly in front of the ATM when you enter your number so no one can look over your shoulder.
- Try to have another person accompany you when using your ATM or night deposit.
- Be ready to conduct your transaction before you approach the ATM or night deposit. Conduct your business quickly and don't loiter in the vicinity.
- At night, use an ATM or night deposit that is well lit.
- Be observant when you use your ATM or night deposit. Be cautious of anyone who is loitering around your ATM or night deposit. Don't stop to talk to strangers. Leave quickly if you are approached while using your ATM or night deposit.
- Put away your money as soon as you withdraw it from the ATM. Don't stand by the ATM and count your money. Don't openly carry money to your ATM or night deposit. Keep it concealed until you are ready to make the deposit.
- Always take your receipt from the ATM. Do not leave it in the machine or lying on the ground nearby. The receipt shows your account number.
If Your Checkbook is Lost or Stolen:
- Call your bank immediately if your checkbook is lost or stolen.
- Have your account number written down and stored in a safe place.
- Be prepared to give your bank the account number, the check number and amount of the last check you wrote, and to whom it was written.
- Your bank will then tell you what procedures to follow in order to protect your account.
- Don't delay re-ordering a missing checkbook.
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SAFETY TIPS FOR CHILDREN
- Teach them to never talk to strangers.
- Teach them never to ride their bikes alone; always ride with a buddy and always wear their helmet.
- Teach them to never play in the street.
- Teach them to always look both ways and watch for cars before entering or crossing the street.
- Establish neighborhood boundaries in which they may play.
- Teach them to never open the door to a stranger when home alone.
- Teach them that, when answering the telephone, never give out any personal information or let the person who calls know if they are alone.
- Teach them to be sure to let their parents know exactly where they will be and for how long, and to always call and let them know if they decide to go somewhere else.
- If they should see a gun, teach them to stop, don't touch, call an adult.
- Teach them to never get into a car with someone they don't know.
- If they feel threatened, teach them to run away as fast as they can.
- Develop a secret password that must be used if someone unfamiliar is to pick them up from school or play.
- If they come home and something about their house doesn't look right, teach them to go immediately to a neighbor's for help.
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