Crime Prevention Tips

Safety & Crime Prevention Tips

Is your home a target for crime? Most criminals select their targets, and making your residence safe starts outside the home before you become a target. Burglars only attempt break-ins of your home when they believe there is a good chance that they will not be caught. The key to crime prevention is making your home as uninviting to criminals as possible.

Spring and summer means spending time in our yards. The tendency is to leave our garage door open much of the time as we go about our yard maintenance duties. It just takes a thief a few moments to jump from a vehicle and retrieve our golf clubs or other expensive items we store in the garage while we are inside refreshing our glass of iced tea.

Roanoke is unique in many ways; however, this crime affects all communities in the metroplex. Every season we caution our citizens to keep the garage door closed, even when at home. In addition to this tip we have provided a list of others.

Home Safety

  • Install and use well-made deadbolt locks (1.5 inch throw or greater) on all exterior doors.
  • Make sure all exterior doors have wide-angle viewers that can be used by everyone in the house. Install 2 viewers at different heights if necessary.
  • Make sure entry door areas are well lighted so you can tell who's there. Motion detector lights, floodlights, or similar lighting can help brighten up the property, so crooks can't hide.
  • Trim shrubs and trees that might give criminals a place to hide or climb to second stories.
  • Make sure you have sturdy, metal or solid wood doors at all entries into your home and that sliding glass and similar doors are properly secured.
  • Make sure everyone - adults, teens, and younger children - knows the house rules for answering the telephone and the door.

Child Safety

  • Before your children go to another home, ask the adults there whether they have guns or alcohol, and if so, whether these are securely and safely stored.
  • Check out the neighborhood with your child. Find out whether he or she feels safe or unsafe.
  • Make sure you know your child's friends and the friends' parents.
  • Review the safety rules with your child. Be a caring adult and a role model. Let kids know that they can tell you anything and that you will listen.
  • Set up clear rules for play after school, on weekends, and during summer and holiday times.
  • Urge kids to play in groups, which are far less susceptible to an approach by strangers.
  • Work with neighbors to address problems such as unsafe shortcuts, dangerous intersections, areas where shrubbery needs trimming back, and a lack of safe places to seek help.

Vacation Safety

  • Don't leave rooms unlocked in your lodgings. Insist that everyone carries his or her key when outside the room.
  • Don't leave valuables in full view in the car - your own or a rental. Leave them in the trunk; better still, in your room safe or hotel safe.
  • Make sure your home is secure - all deadbolts locked, lights left on timers, deliveries canceled or being collected by a trusted neighbor who has your travel schedule. Have a neighbor park their car in your driveway.
  • Notify the Police Department and complete a Vacation House Watch form.
  • Set up rules for each day's outings on where and how you'll link up if you become separated.
  • Study up in advance on your vacation destination. Know where you want to go and how you want to get there. Ask hotel personnel about the safety of areas off the regular tourist path.
  • Take only the credit cards that you will absolutely need. Carry traveler's checks instead of cash. Record information on these cards and any valuable equipment that you take with you. Take a copy of this information with you, and leave a copy with a friend or family member.

Senior Safety

  • Ask for photo ID from service or delivery people before letting them in the door. If you are still uneasy, call the company to verify.
  • Be alert when out and about. Go with friends or family, not alone.
  • Be sure your street address number is large, clear of obstruction, and well lighted, so police and other emergency personnel can find your home quickly.
  • Beware of individuals claiming to represent companies, consumer organizations, or government agencies that offer to recover lost money from fraudulent telemarketers for a fee.
  • Carry your purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
  • Consider a home alarm system that provides emergency monitoring for burglary, fire, and medical emergencies.
  • Don't carry credit cards you don't need or large amounts of cash.
  • Don't fall for anything that sounds too good to be true:
    • A free vacation
    • Cures for cancer and arthritis
    • High-yield investment schemes
    • Sweepstakes prizes
  • Don't let anyone rush you into signing anything - an insurance policy, a sales agreement, a contract. Read it carefully and have someone you trust check it over.
  • If someone or something makes you uneasy, trust your instincts and leave.
  • If you're suspicious, check it out with the police, the Better Business Bureau, or a local consumer protection office. You can also call the National Consumers League Fraud Information Center at 800-876-7060.
  • Install good locks on doors and windows and use them. Don't hide keys in mailboxes, planters, or under doormats. Leave an extra set of keys with a neighbor or friend.
  • Keep car doors locked, whether you are a passenger or a driver. Be particularly alert in parking lots and garages. Park near an entrance.
  • Never give your credit card, phone card, Social Security or bank account number to anyone over the phone. It's illegal for telemarketers to ask for these numbers to verify a prize or gift.
  • Sit close to the driver while riding the bus, train, or subway.
  • Use direct deposit for Social Security and other regular checks.

Summer Safety Tips

During the summer we all, especially children, spend much time outdoors. We must be more careful when driving through residential areas, being mindful that children can dart out from behind parked cars at any moment. We must also remember that the Texas heat can turn the inside of a vehicle into a deadly oven in just a few minutes, so we should never leave children or pets unattended in a vehicle. Young children love to hide from their friends and will often crawl into an open trunk and then pull it closed trapping themselves inside. After a trip to the grocery or home improvement store, be sure not to leave an open car trunk unattended.

Unfortunately, summertime also brings an increase in thefts and burglaries. The best deterrent to this type of crime is to remove the opportunity. A favorite among criminals is an open and unattended garage. Most of us store some very expensive tools and sporting equipment like golf clubs in our garage, and thieves like to cruise through residential neighborhoods looking for these opportunities. It takes a thief less than thirty seconds to enter your open garage and avail themselves to your belongings. Please don't become a victim; keep your garage door closed.

Recognizing a Roanoke Police Officer

All Roanoke Police Officers carry an official photo ID with them at all times when on duty. If you ever have any question as to the legitimacy of the person presenting himself as a Roanoke Police Officer, please request to see the ID card. 

Additional Resources

Community Safety Guide