Survey Your Home
Look at your home through a burglar’s eyes. Does it look like an easy target? Are there obvious security weaknesses?
- Shrubbery should not obscure doors and windows. Trim the growth so that a burglar cannot work undetected.
- At night leave a few lights burning outside your home. Lights over doorways and garages and strategically placed floodlights will make your home less inviting to a burglar.
- Windows and doors should be security locked. Inadequate locks should be replaced or supplemented.
- Make your home look occupied at all times.
Common sense is all that is needed to identify most security weaknesses around your home. To supplement your survey, and for more complicated security problems, contact Canton Police Department at 573-288-4412 for a free home security survey. At your request an officer will survey your home and provide security recommendations.
Install Better Locks
Many homes are equipped with spring-latch door locks. Most spring-latch door locks can be pried open easily by even the most inept burglar. Crime prevention experts recommend dead bolt locks, to provide the security needed for exterior doors. The bolt on the lock should extend at least one inch into the door frame to provide adequate security. Other good security locks, such as a pry-resistant rim lock are available.
Additionally, when you move into a new home, or if you lose your house keys, contact a locksmith to re-key or change out the locks. The changes can be done quickly and fairly inexpensively. It also makes the old or lost keys useless. But most importantly, don’t forget to lock up. Even the best locks provide nor protection if left unlocked. Securely lock your home even if you plan to be away for only a few minutes.
Secure Doors and Windows
Wooden exterior doors have either solid or hollow core construction. Solid core doors provide the greatest security. They are able to withstand attacks by burglars, and are best suited for installation of good locks.
If an exterior door contains a glass panel or is within (48) inches of a window, you should install a double-cylinder dead bolt lock which requires a key to unlock it from either side of the door. This lock will prevent a burglar from reaching inside to unlock the door after breaking the glass.
Doors which swing open to the outside have exposed hinges in easy reach of burglars. These doors can be secured by the “hinge pinning” technique:
- Remove opposing screws from both sides of each hinge plate;
- Insert a pin into the hole on the door frame, leaving one inch protrusion;
- Drill out the opposing hole to fit pin when the door is closed.
Open garage doors attract burglars. Make a habit of keeping garage doors closed and locked. An open garage door, with no car in sight, is a clear invitation to a burglar; Especially if the garage is used to store such items as bicycles, power mowers, garden tools, and other easily stolen property.
Sliding glass doors are particularly vulnerable to attacks by burglars. The “pinning” technique mentioned above will prevent the lock from being forced or the door from being lifted from the track. Key operated pins or grips are a preferred method of securing sliding glass doors.
- With door closed, drill hole (angle downward) through top and bottom corns of inner frame, partially into outer frame
- Insert pin or nail
Windows are another common entry point for burglars. Double hung windows can be easily and inexpensively secured by using the “pinning” technique.
- With windows closed, drill hole (angle downward) through top corns of inner frame, partially into outer frame.
- Insert pin or nail
Good security for windows is provided by a key operated window lock, especially when used as auxiliaries to conventional window locks.
Remember, an open or unlocked window or door invites burglars.
Give Your Home an Occupied Look
Most burglars are looking for unoccupied homes. If your home looks occupied, the burglar will usually look for other, more inviting sites.
- When away from home, leave a radio playing
- Always leave a few inner lights burning at night. Automatic timers can be used to vary the on/off pattern of interior lights while you are away.
- When leaving for an extended period, such as during a vacation, you should take several additional precautions;
- Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your home
- Stop newspaper deliveries]Ask your neighbor to pick up your mail
- If necessary, arrange for lawn care
- Notify your local law enforcement agency that you plan to be away. Most agencies will schedule periodic checks of your home once having been alerted of your absence and of the need for extra attention. House watch is available at the Canton Police Department – call and ask for details.
Use Common Sense
Common sense will help keep the burglar away. Beware of the common methods which burglars use to gain entry, and make sure your entire family understands what to do in certain situations.
Warn family members to be cautious about giving out information over the telephone. Burglars sometimes call ahead to learn if anyone is home, who is home, or when residents are expected to return.
- Do not indiscriminately open your home to strangers. A wide angle door viewer or peep hole installed in the front t door will allow you to see who is outside without opening the door. Ask for positive identification from repairmen or solicitors who claim to have business in your home (a peddlers license is required in the City of Canton to sell merchandise/products). If you are suspicious about the caller, telephone his officer for verification.
- When you admit a repairman or salesman, do not leave him alone for even a few minutes. Don’t let a stranger inside your home to use the phone, make the call for him.
- Don’t leave notes outside your home announcing your absence. Don’t leave your keys hidden outside your home.
- Don’t leave your house keys with your vehicle keys when you leave your vehicle at a parking lot.
- Don’t attach your name or license number to your house keys. Lost or stolen house keys which contain such information can be easily traced to your front door.
- Never keep large sums of cash or easily stolen valuables, such as jewelry, unprotected in your home. Keep valuables you don’t often use in a safe deposit box.
Mark Your Property for Identification
Engrave your valuables with your drivers license number or some other significant number of identification such as your initials. Marked property can be easily traced and identified as yours. Marked property is a proven burglary deterrent because it is difficult for a burglar to dispose of for resale. If a burglar is caught with marked property, it is solid evidence of possession of stolen goods.
Avoid being followed home
- Frequently check your rearview mirror to see if you are being followed. If you are being followed, do not drive home. Instead drive to the nearest policy station, fire station or other place of safety.
- If you believe you are being followed but are unsure, make three consecutive turns left hand or right hand turns. If you are still being followed, do not drive home.\
- Remember it is important to know where you are so police officers can respond if needed. Know your direction of travel
- If you have a cellular phone, call 9-1-1. Try to get a good description of the vehicle that is following you including the vehicleâ€™s make, color and license plate number if possible.
- Do not try and be a hero. Don’t take action that would jeopardize your own safety.
Avoid being a victim
Identity Theft is the fastest growing crime of the 21st century. By using a victim identity, the perpetrator is able to deflect suspicion and identification from him. The identity thief will use the victim’s name, address, telephone number, drive license number, social security number, bank account number, bank routing number, credit card number, and other forms of identification. The information is used to open fraudulent bank accounts, create counterfeit checks and credit card accounts, and obtain fraudulent loans… all under the unsuspecting victim. The victim is generally unaware of the scam until the collection letters and phone calls begin to arrive.
Here are some actions to be taken which will reduce the likelihood of your being victimized:
- Thoroughly destroy all personal records before discarding them. A shredder is economical and effective. Canceled checks, credit card invoices, bank statements, credit reports, or many other personal papers are a wealth of information for the potential thief.
- Protect your ATM card, account number, and pin. Thoroughly destroy all printed information that contains your account number or ATM card number. Be aware of individuals near you when using your ATM card. This is a favorite method of obtaining your account and PIN . . . just by observing you are you enter the information on the keypad.
- Protect your Credit Cards. Store your credit card securely. Never leave them lying around . . even at home. Only carry a card when you plan to use it. Keep the card in your view on every transaction and be sure it is returned to you. Ask for and destroy carbons used for manual transaction records. Avoid giving your credit card number to anyone by telephone or on the internet unless you are thoroughly familiar with the business.
- Protect your Checks. Treat your personal checks just like you would your cash. Never leave them lying around. Store them securely. Order replacement checks through your financial institution. If you order checks by mail, make sure you receive them in a timely manner and that your order is complete. Criminals will gladly take half of your check order right out of the mail. Be sure each box of checks is a complete box. Confirm order and shipping information with vendor. Never discard cancelled checks which are intact. You are providing the check artist with everything he needs, including your signature.
- Check your credit record. Order and review a copy of your credit records at least twice annually. Examine the businesses that have requested your information. If you haven’t purchased, applied for credit, or applied for employment with a listed business, there may be a problem. Exam outstanding credit balances. Look for credit accounts or credit cards that you did not apply for.
- Report unauthorized actions, lost or stolen cards or checks, or other suspicious circumstances to your financial institution, credit card company, and local police IMMEDIATELY. Delayed reporting works in the favor of the criminal and increases your potential loss. Work with your financial institution to provide as much information as possible to law enforcement. Copy bills, invoices, letters, notices, or other documents pertaining to fraudulent accounts and provide them to local law enforcement.
If you are suspicious, ask your local police. If you feel that you may have been victimized, or if you suspect that there may be fraudulent activity involving your identity, contact your local law enforcement agency for advice and information.
There are hundreds of ways to lose money to a scam artist. Most successful scams are founded upon the victims own greed. The promise of something for nothing or the promise of a fantastic deal is often the come-on. Remember . . . you don’t get something for nothing. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Strangers rarely offer to split found cash or share their lottery winnings.
What to do if you lose your purse or wallet
Cancel your credit cards immediately, but the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know who to call. Keep them where you can find them easily (do not keep in wallet or purse). Contact your bank if your ATM card or checkbook was also stolen along with your purse or wallet. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was stolen, this proves to credit providers your were diligent, and is the first step in an investigation.
The most important step you can do to protect yourself is this: Most people don’t even know about al this. Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and social security number. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.
The numbers are:
- Equifax 1-800-525-6285
- Experian (Formerly TRW) 1-800-301-7195
- Trans Union 1-800-680-7289
- Social Security Administration also has a fraud line 1-800-269-0271.
Internet Tips for Parents
- Parents should consider purchasing filtering software to protect their children from inappropriate material on the Internet.
- Parents should discuss Internet safety, rules, and guidelines. Parents should make sure their children know to never meet anyone they have met over the Internet without their permission.
- Most importantly, parents should always supervise their children while on-line. Home computers should be located in a family room so parents can watch for any type of harmful material.