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DECA Safety Tips

DeKalb County North Precinct - Safety Updates
-by Officer Charles Delk (email him) (see his picture from the DECA picnic)


February, 2003



Identity Theft Information
Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

National Crime Prevention Council Web Site
This site has great information on preventing crime and how to build safer, stronger DECA communities.  


Be Prepared:

  • Have a plan for possible storm conditions by knowing where you will be safest.
  • Have supplies on hand- your own "Portable Disaster Kit".
  • Listen to you local radio and television stations for National Weather Advisories.
  • Cooperate with your neighbors

What to do:

  • Remain inside during the storm unless otherwise directed.
  • For long-term conditions- fill containers, washing machine, sinks, and bathtubs with water.
    (you will need 2 qts. per person per day just for drinking)
  • Shut off any propane gas tanks
  • Unplug TV, disconnect TV cable
  • Bring Pets inside
  • In your home, go to the most secure, protected area, away from windows and doors.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross offer nationwide educational services.  For more information, write to FEMA, ask for the brochure: "Are you Ready?" H-34, Item #8-0908, PO Box 70274, Washington, DC 20024

Personal Safety Tips:

How To Safeguard Your 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.

How to Protect Yourself While Walking at Night

  • Avoid walking or running alone at night. Instead go walking or jogging with a friend.
  • Don't use headphones while walking, driving or jogging.
  • Always walk in well-lighted areas.
  • Avoid the use of short cuts.
  • After dark, keep away from large bushes or doorways where someone could be lurking.
  • Always stay near the curb.
  • If someone in a vehicle stops and asks for directions, answer from a distance. Do not approach the vehicle.
  • If followed, go immediately to an area with lights and people. If needed, turn around and walk in the opposite direction, your follower will also have to reverse directions.
  • Do not display cash openly, especially when leaving an ATM.
How To Protect Yourself While Using An Automated Teller Machine (ATM)
  • Try to avoid using an ATM by yourself. Either take someone with you or only use an ATM when others are around.
  • If possible, avoid using an ATM after dark. If you must, choose one that is well lighted and does not have tall bushes nearby.
  • When you arrive at an ATM, look around. If you see anything that makes you uncomfortable or anyone who looks suspicious, do not stop. Either use an ATM at a different location or come back later. Notify the authorities.
  • Have your access card and any other documents you need ready when you approach an ATM. While you are fumbling with a wallet or purse, you are easy game for a thief.
  • If someone else is using the ATM when you arrive, avoid standing right behind them. Give them enough space to conduct their transaction in privacy.
  • Even while using the ATM, stay alert to your surroundings. Look up and around every few seconds while transacting your business.
  • Protect your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Do not enter your PIN if anyone else can see the screen. Shield your PIN from onlookers by using your body.
  • When your transaction is finished, be sure you have your card and your receipt, then leave immediately. Avoid counting or otherwise displaying large amounts of cash.
  • As you leave, keep a look out. Be alert for anything or anyone who appears suspicious. If you think you are being followed, go to an area with a lot of people and call the police.
How to Prevent a Carjacking
  • Keep doors locked and windows shut.
  • Don't stop to assist a disabled motorist. Instead contact a service station or police.
  • When stopped at a light, leave enough room between you and the car in front that you could make an escape.
  • 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.
  • If you think you are being followed, drive immediately to an area with lots of lights and people. If possible, drive to the nearest law enforcement office.
  • Obtain and use a cellular phone to call for help.

How To Protect Yourself While Shopping

  • Avoid shopping alone. Try to shop with a friend or relative.
  • Park your vehicle in a well-lighted area. Put radar detectors and cellular telephones out of sight.
  • Know your surroundings. Keep an eye on the people in front of as well as behind you.
  • Carry your purse close to your body. Don't swing it loosely. Don't flash large amounts of cash.
  • Walk with confidence. Avoid talking to strangers.
  • Approach your vehicle with your keys already in your hand.
  • Try not to carry too many packages. Place all packages out of sight in your vehicle, preferably in the trunk.
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your windows shut.
  • If you see anything suspicious or if something just doesn't feel right, leave immediately and contact security or the police.

How to Protect Yourself in a Parking Garage

  • 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.
  • 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.
How to Prevent a Home Burglary:
  • 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.
  • 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 put valuables where they can be seen from the window, especially items that can be easily carried.
  • Be sure your garage door can be secured. Do not leave it open when you are away; an empty garage broadcasts your absence.
  • 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.
  • Don't keep large amounts of cash or really valuable jewelry around the house.
  • If someone comes to your door asking to use the telephone, make the call yourself. Don't invite them in.
  • Don't hide a spare key under the door mat or under a flower pot. Thieves know all the good hiding places.
  • Plant thorny bushes under all windows. Trim back any trees or shrubs near doors and windows to eliminate hiding places for would-be thieves.
  • Invest in a good security system along with motion sensor lights installed out of reach
  • 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.
  • Get a barking dog or "beware of dog" signs. If you own a dog and go out of town, have someone come in and care for your dog in your home.
  • Always double check doors at night and lock all windows.
  • Engrave all valuables such as stereos, microwaves, videocameras, with your driver's license number. (Engraving tools are usually available through your local law enforcement agency.) 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.

How to Safeguard Your Home

  • Do not list your first name in the telephone book. Instead use initials.
  • Make sure your answering machine message does not indicate that you are alone.
  • Have deadbolts installed on all doors. Keep doors and windows locked.
  • Install a peep-hole on your door and look before opening the door.
  • Never open the door to strangers.
  • Keep blinds or drapes closed to discourage "Peeping Toms." Do not hang lingerie outdoors.
  • Verify the identity of any repairmen. Use the telephone number listed in the phone book, not on their identification.
  • If someone comes to your door asking to use the telephone, make the call yourself. Don't invite them in.
  • Don't hide a spare key under the door mat or under a flower pot. Thieves know all the good hiding places.
  • Plant thorny bushes under all windows. Invest in motion sensor lights and a good security system.
  • Get a barking dog or "beware of dog" signs.
  • Always double check doors at night and lock all windows.
  • Be sure your garage door can be secured. Do not leave it open when you are away; an empty garage broadcasts your absence.

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