Crime Prevention Tips
The Garland County Sheriff’s Office believes teamwork is the key to effectively reducing crime. Everyone must commit themselves to addressing public safety issues and crime prevention measures. These crime prevention tips can help citizens develop skills in the areas of home security, marking and securing valuables, and making their homes less of a target for criminals.
Holiday Crime Prevention
When the holiday season arrives, don’t let the spirit of giving lull you into giving burglars, robbers and thieves a better chance to do their dirty work. Crooks love the holidays as much as everyone else, especially because it is an opportune time for crime.
Here are some tips from the Garland County Sheriff’s Office on how to celebrate safely this holiday season:
If you are home:
- Keep doors and windows locked.
- Consider how much of your residence you are exposing to people passing by on the street when you have your curtains open (displaying seasonal ornaments, etc.)
If you are out for the evening:
- Turn on lights and a radio or TV so it looks like someone’s home.
- Be extra cautious about locking doors and window when you leave, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
- Don’t display gifts where they can be seen from outside.
If you are traveling:
- Get an automatic timer for your lights.
- Ask a neighbor to watch your home, and park in the driveway from time to time.
- Don’t forget to have mail and newspaper delivery stopped. If it piles up, it is a sure sign you are gone.
If you are shopping:
- Stay alert and be aware of what’s going on around you.
- Park in a well-lighted space, and be sure to close the windows and lock the car.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; pay with a check or credit card whenever possible.
(Note: Remember to get your credit card(s) back from the salesclerks at the end of your transaction).
- Deter purse-snatchers. Don’t overburden yourself with packages. Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by straps. Do not leave your purse unattended in a shopping cart (even while you turn your back to look at an item on a shelf, etc.).
- Shopping with kids? Teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated.
Protect Your Vehicle:
- LOCK – TAKE – HIDE
- LOCK your vehicle
- TAKE your belongings out of the vehicle. Do not leave anything in plain view (ex. Purses, wallets, GPS systems, sunglasses, CD’s holiday gifts, spare change, etc).
- HIDE your belongings inside your vehicle (in trunk, console, glove box, etc).
- Help prevent your vehicle from being stolen by always locking your car and using anti-theft devices. And never leave your vehicle running while you run inside your home or a store – even if for only a minute or two.
If a Stranger Comes to the Door
Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts, and it’s not uncommon for people to try to take advantage of others’ generosity during the holidays by going door-to-door for charitable donations when there is not charity involved. Ask for identification, and find out how the funds will be used. If you are not satisfied, do not give. Help a charitable organization you know and like instead.
After the Holiday Season / After the Gifts are Opened
Burglars know that many households have new, and oftentimes expensive, items in their homes following the December holidays – especially items such as new computers and peripherals, stereo components, televisions, cameras and other electronic equipment. In too many cases, residents make it easy for burglars to figure out which homes to target by putting boxes that identify their new gifts in plain view with their other garbage.
Avoid becoming an easy target for post-holiday burglars by not leaving boxes for new electronics and other items in the alley or other garbage pick-up locations for several days at a time. Instead, break down any boxes you are throwing out, put them in garbage bags and place them inside a trash/recycle can.
Think about keeping broken-down boxes inside – in a garage, for example – until the evening before your regular garbage pick-up. Some burglars actually look inside garbage cans for evidence of holiday gifts.
And, of course, if you see someone suspicious, call the Garland County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number, 501-622-3660. If you see a burglary in progress, call 911.
Take a Holiday Inventory
The holidays are a good time to update – or create – your home inventory. Take photos or make videos of items, and list descriptions and serial numbers (or owner applied numbers). If your home is burglarized, having a detailed inventory can help identify stolen items and make insurance claims easier to file.
Make sure things like TVs, DVD players, stereo equipment, cameras, cell phones, sports equipment, jewelry, silver, computers, home office equipment, and power tools are on the list.
Be sure to keep this list in a safe location that can be readily accessed in the event you need to report any of these items lost/stolen to the sheriff’s office.
DON’T DEPEND ONLY UPON AN ALARM TO PROTECT YOU…BE SURE TO USE THE PROPER LOCKING DEVICES. AN ALARM DOES NOT PHYSICALLY KEEP A BURGLAR OUT OF YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS.
There are many types of alarms on the market. Secure the services of a reputable alarm company. They will advise you of the best system to protect your home. Space detection methods (motion detectors) are excellent. Physical contact methods are fair, but tend to send false alarms.
Any alarm system should include:
- A battery failsafe back-up
- Smoke-sensing capability
- Read-out ability to check working of system
- Horn sounding device installed in attic through vent
- In addition to the alarm sounding at the residence, your system should transmit a signal to the alarm company; this will insure notification of law enforcement
Take the list above with you when you shop for an alarm
WHILE ON VACATION, BE SURE TO LOCK YOUR HOME BEFORE YOU LEAVE AND LET A TRUSTED NEIGHBOR HAVE A KEY AND EMERGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION.
Always keep garage door closed and locked. Intruders may seek entrance through the garage, burglarize the garage or even use tools stored in your garage to break into your home. Keep tools in a locked location. The single lock on the garage door is not enough to keep intruders from prying up the opposite side and crawling in.
Secure your garage door by:
- Adding another bolt and padlock to the opposite side
- Installing a pair of cane bolts to the inside (these operate from the inside only)
- Add a top center hasp – any person of average height can operate this device
- Cover garage windows so burglars cannot see whether or not the garage is empty
- Display your house number on your garage door or backyard fence; this will help law enforcement locate your house quickly when responding to a call
- Secure attic openings in attached carports or garages by installing a case-hardened halp and padlock.