CRIME WATCH GROUPS AND NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATIONS
Crime watch groups and Neighborhood Associations are a group of neighbors working together along with law enforcement agencies and local organizations in a community-wide effort to reduce residential crime and address other issues in their respective neighborhoods.
Getting to know your neighbors and becoming familiar with your neighbors’ habits and vehicles allows you to know when something is suspicious or out of the ordinary. Crime watch does not mean being a vigilante. Participants do not confront suspects or take any personal risks at all!
Always report any suspicious activities and crime to 911.
Interested in forming a neighborhood crime watch in your community?
CRIME PREVENTION AND SAFETY TIPS
- Use an ATM in a well-lit, well-travelled location.
- Prepare any transaction paperwork before you get to the ATM.
- Be aware of who is around. If something doesn’t feel right, cancel the transaction. Do it later or somewhere else.
- If you get cash, put it away immediately. Do not count it at the ATM.
- At night, try to have a companion with you.
- When using a drive-up ATM, make sure your doors and other windows are locked.
- When leaving an ATM make sure you are not being followed. If in a car, drive to a police station or well-lighted open business. Flash your light, sound your horn to get attention.
- ATM Fraud: Call the National Fraud Information Center at 1-800-876-7060 and file a local police report
COLLEGE STUDENTS RESIDENCE HALL/OFF-CAMPUS RESIDENCE
- Keep all doors and window locked at all times.
- Do not open your house/apartment to anyone unless you can identify the person seeking entrance.
- Do not leave large amounts of cash in your room/apartment.
- Report suspicious persons or activities around your room/apartment building to Campus Safety and Security or your local Police Department.
An identity thief takes your personal information and uses it without your knowledge. The thief may run up debts or even commit crimes in your name. The following tips can help you lower your risk of becoming a victim.
- Do not give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you initiated the contact.
- Secure your social security number. Do not carry your social security card in your wallet or write your number on your checks. Only give out your social security number (SSN) when necessary.
- Protect your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Do not enter your PIN if anyone 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, and then leave immediately. Never throw receipts in a public trash container.
- 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.
- Use firewall software to protect computer information. Keep virus and spyware software programs updated.
- Create passwords for accounts using a variety of letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Shred receipts, credit offers, account statements, and expired cards, to prevent “dumpster divers” from getting your personal information.
INTERNET AND ONLINE SAFETY
- Do NOT give your personal information unless you are absolutely sure it is safe.
- Avoid giving your full name, address, phone number, etc. unless it is a secure site.
- For forum or discussion sites that require a name to register, try to use a nickname or alias.
- Never shop using an unsecured network such as those in coffee shops and other retail locations.
- Secure sites have addresses that start with “https”. “
Online Safety For Parents
- Keep the computer in a common area of your home so you can keep an eye out for safety.
- Make an agreement about computer use, such as:
- Sites they are allowed to visit
- Amount of time they can be online
- Basic safety rules
- Consider requiring that smartphones not be allowed in bedrooms.
- Agree on the consequences for breaking the agreement.
There are several steps you can take to make your home a difficult target for criminals. Here are just a few samples of small things that make a big difference.
- Do not hide keys in mailboxes, planters, or under doormats.
- ALWAYS lock your doors and windows. Doors should be made from strong wood or metal and should be locked with a deadbolt. Install guards on windows that prevent them from being raised more than a few inches.
- Set up an alarm system.
- Illuminate the perimeter of the house.
- Do not go into your home if you notice a screen slit, a window broken, a change in lighting or a door ajar. Call the police.
- Try “casing” your own home, at night and during the day. Attempt to gain access to your home when the doors and windows are locked and “secure.” Make sure you have some identification on you in case your neighbors call the police.
- Leave a light on (perhaps on a timer) when you go away, even for the evening. Leave a television or radio on as well.
- Install motion sensor lights outside your home and out of reach so burglars cannot unscrew the light. Also, buy variable light timers to activate lights in your home.
- NEVER prop open the door or let someone in behind you if you live in an apartment building. If the building has a main entryway, make sure that security is enforced at the main door. Report residents who do this to your landlord.
- Be vigilant. If you suspect suspicious activity around your home, your neighbors’ homes, or in your neighborhood, please report it to the police immediately by calling 401-272-3121 or 911.
- Document serial numbers of all electronics and take pictures of all valuables. Keep this in a safe place to provide to the police in the event you are burglarized.
RIDESHARE AND PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SAFETY
Rideshare (Lyft, Uber, etc.)
- Request your ride inside
- Minimize the time that you are standing outside by yourself with your phone in your hand. Instead, wait inside until the app shows that your driver has arrived.
- Check Your Ride
- Every time you take a trip with Uber, please make sure you are getting into the right car with the right driver by matching the license plate, car make and model, and driver photo with what is provided in your app.
- Have the driver confirm your name.
- Be a back-seat rider.
- Whenever possible, sit in the back seat, especially if you are riding alone.
- Share your trip details with loved ones.
- Follow your intuition
- Trust your instincts and use your best judgment when riding with Uber. If you ever feel that you are in an urgent situation, you can call 911 by using the emergency button located in your app.
Public Transportation Safety
- Be aware and alert.
- Avoid isolated transit stops.
- Have your bus pass or money ready before you board.
- During off-hours, ride as near to the operator as possible.
- If someone bothers you, change seats. Try to inform the driver.
- Keep belongings in front of you, close to your body with both hands.
- Be alert to pick pockets.
- Avoid traveling alone at night.
- Confine walking to well-lit, regular traveled areas and pathways. Avoid shortcuts and keep away from shrubbery, bushes, alleyways, or any other areas where an assailant might be lurking.
- Avoid athletic fields/parks at night.
- Never carry large amounts of cash
- Never carry a wallet in your rear pants pocket
- Carry a whistle or similar type of noisemaker. In the event of an emergency, the sound may scare off a would-be attacker.
- Take special care when jogging or biking. Vary your route, go with a friend, and avoid isolated areas.
- Do NOT wear headphones or listen to music. These can distract you from being aware of your surroundings and who may be approaching you.
- Keep purses and packages tucked securely between your arms and body. Do not overload yourself with packages and bags – it is distracting and it can make you look defenseless.
- Carry only what you need. Do not carry a large amount of cash or numerous credit cards and avoid wearing flashy and excessive amounts of jewelry.
- If your vehicle breaks down, you can signal for assistance by raising the hood and by tying a white handkerchief to the radio antenna or door handle. Stay inside your vehicle with the windows closed and the doors locked. If a roadside samaritan stops, roll down your window just enough to talk and ask that he/she call the police. If the person appears to be a threat, sound the horn and flash your lights.
- When parking at night, choose well-lit areas. Before getting out of your vehicle, check for people loitering.
- When walking to your vehicle or residence, have your keys ready in hand.
- When being dropped off by taxi or private vehicle, ask the driver to wait until you get inside.
- When getting out of a car, take a look around to make sure that you are not being followed.
- Do not pick up hitchhikers.
- Report auto theft immediately to police and include the make, model, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and plate number.
To you, a cell phone is a form of communication but to thieves, it is an opportunity to make easy money. As the price of cell phones increases, it is important you do everything you can to prevent the opportunity for people to steal them.
- Ensure that your cell phone is password-protected.
- Do not walk in public talking on your phone, texting or even openly carrying the device.
- If you must be on the phone, be aware of your surroundings and of other people nearby.
- Do not wear earbuds while on the street. In particular, white iPhone or iPad earbuds suggest you are carrying an Apple product, which may target you as a potential high-value victim.
- Do not allow strangers to “borrow” your phone or any other electronic devices.
- Report a stolen cellular telephone immediately to the cellular telephone carrier and Police.
- Pickpockets usually work in teams of two or more people. They take their time, stalk their victims, and strike when the victims are most vulnerable. They may drop something in front of you or cause a loud commotion near you in order to distract you. Once you are distracted another pickpocket will then steal your valuables and will walk away. If you are jostled, bumped, or crowded by anyone, consider that a pickpocket may be in action.
- If you are meeting someone you do not know, do it in a public place.
- Take a friend or family member along with you. If you not have someone to go with you, let a friend or family member know where you are going.
- Meet in a well-lighted and crowded public location (not in your vehicle), like the parking lot of a grocery store or at the mall.
- If buying an item from an online posting, take a good look at the photo, description, and condition of the item. The photo should show the actual item for sale, not a catalog photo.
- Use the sites’ reviews to help you decide about reputable sellers.
- If you feel you are in danger, call 911 immediately, and if a crime has been committed, contact the police department.
Package Theft Prevention
- Doorstep delivery is often a crime of opportunity. Thieves can be following a delivery truck or be someone who sees a package delivered.
- Before you ship, choose the right service for your needs.
- Ship the package to a location where you know someone will be available to receive it. Consider selecting the “signature required” option.
- Send any FedEx package directly to a FedEx Office location near you or choose from several delivery options. You can have it held for pickup at one of the stations. You can go to www.fedex.com to find the nearest location or call 1-800-GO-FEDEX. FedEx has a number of stations at retail stores such as Walgreens for package pickup with identification and signature required
- UPS has stores that a package can be routed to and has several options for delivery choices. Their information is www.UPS.com or 1-800-PICK-UPS.
- The United States Postal Service has a number of ways to track and secure safe delivery for your packages. You have options on how you want the package delivered as well as tracking and insuring the package. Many of their tips are similar to UPS and FedEx. More info: http://www.usps.com
- Amazon also has lock boxes at various locations. Check your shipping options before you click “buy”.
Filing mail theft and lost package claims with your shipper:
- US Postal Inspection Service
- If you used another carrier, check with that carrier.
Theft From A Motor Vehicle
Theft from a motor vehicle is one of the most frequent crimes committed. Following these helpful tips will increase your protection from future occurrences.
- Don’t leave valuables in plain view; GPS systems, Cell phones, iPods, laptops, shopping bags, backpacks, or money.
- Always lock your car.
- When parking at night, choose well-lit areas. Before getting out of your vehicle, check for people loitering.
- Never leave your vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition.
- Keep your bicycle securely chained and locked when not in use.
- Do not park or store your bike in dimly lit areas.