Don't be concerned about "bothering" the police. Don't dwell on your possible embarrassment if your suspicions turn out to be unfounded. Instead, think of what might happen if you don't act immediately!
The following examples of what to watch for may be helpful in determining when to call for help:

  • A stranger entering a neighbor's home while the neighbor is away, someone crossing your yard or a neighbor's yard, anyone trying to open a neighbor's door, or a moving truck or van pulling up to open a neighbor's home while they are away.
  • Someone carrying items (such as a television or stereo) at an unusually late hour into his or her home, especially if it does not appear that the property is wrapped as if recently purchased.
  • The sound of breaking glass. security alarm
  • Anyone observed peering into vehicles while walking down the street; someone removing tags, gasoline,or accessories from a vehicle; or someone attempting to enter a vehicle using a coat hanger or other gadget. Never assume that it is the owner who has mistakenly locked his or her keys in a vehicle; be suspicious of anyone tampering with the doors, hood or trunk of a vehicle.
  • An improperly parked car, an abandoned vehicle, or someone leaving one vehicle and driving away in another one.
  • Anyone being forced into a vehicle.
  • Persons loitering around schools, parks, secluded areas, or in neighborhoods where they do not live or work. monitoring system
  • Apparent business transactions conducted from a vehicle, especially around schools or parks with young people, or a constant flow of strangers to and from a particular house regularly, especially at late hours.
  • Offers of merchandise or repair work at unusually low prices.
  • Persons involved in a fight or any loud explosions or screams are suspicious.
  • Whether you are at home, in your car or at work, you may be a potential target for crime.
  • Trim shrubs back to avoid giving burglars cover.
  • Keep garages and sheds closed and locked at all times.
  • When advertising valuable items for sale, give only your phone number, not your street address.
  • Do not leave doors unlocked while working in the yard.
  • Consider installing an electronic security system to monitor for burglary, fire and personal emergency.
  • If you park in a commercial garage or lot, always leave just the ignition key with the attendant.
  • Do not park near a van, which can block an assault from the view of others.
  • From 20 to 30 feet away from your car, look underneath it. As you prepare to enter, look in the back seat and to the side.
  • Some power doors unlock all locks simultaneously, so lock doors immediately.
  • If an assailant grabs you, toss the keys as far as you can. This way, the assailant will typically go for the keys and not force you into the car.
  • Know the neighborhoods where you live and work.
  • Check locations of police and fire stations, public telephones, hospitals, restaurants, gas stations or stores that are open late.
  • Use automated teller machines in the daylight.
  • Don't wear headphones while walking or jogging.
  • If you think someone is following you when you are in your car, don't head home. Drive to the nearest police or fire station or open business to get help.

Here is a list of important steps to take to help ensure your child's safety:

  • Walk with your children to school or the bus stop. Security system
  • Point out areas that might not be safe. Play a game called "What if" by using pretend situations to help them decide how to react in a real emergency. Show them which houses they should go to if they need help.
  • Don't let your children go to a shopping center by themselves.
  • Your children should avoid public restrooms unless they are with a trusted adult. If your children should become lost inside a store or shopping center, tell them to go to a nearby clerk or security guard for help.
  • It's best not to let your children wear clothing or carry articles with their names on them.
  • A stranger may pretend to know them by calling their name and acting like a friend.
  • Have you taken time to teach your children safety rules in a clear way that the child can understand?
  • Do you have a family safety plan, including a secret password?
  • Could you give the police a complete description of your child, so specific that the child would be immediately recognizable? Do you keep a current photograph of your child on hand?
  • Do you know what your child was wearing when he or she left the house?
  • Do you use check-in procedures so you always know where your child is?
  • Do you know the route(s) your child uses to get to and from school or their friends homes?
  • Have you taken a "safety walk" with your children over routes they often travel, so as to agree on hazards to be avoided and preferred and alternate routes?
  • Have you explained to your child what a stranger is?
  • Have you talked with you child about what to do if approached by a stranger? Can your child explain it in his or her own words?
  • Do you know your children's friends and their parents' names and phone numbers?

The more you communicate with your child and give careful thought to the questions raised above, the more you will increase your family's safety.
Fire Prevention Planning

  • Careless Handling of cigarettes is the number one cause of fatal fires. Don't smoke in bed or when drowsy. Use only child resistant lighters.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the house, especially outside sleeping areas. You can install them inside sleeping areas as well. This is a good idea if doors are kept closed.
  • Test alarms monthly and install new batteries every six months (Spring and Fall). Do this when you change you clock for daylight savings time. Replace alarms that are 10 years old or older.
  • Space heaters and wood stoves need to be at least three feet from anything that could burn. Turn pace heaters off when they are unattended.
  • Always have a sturdy metal screen in from of fireplaces. Have both furnace and chimneys inspected annually and cleaned as necessary.
  • In the kitchen, turn pot handles inward so they can't be bumped or pulled over. Don't wear loose fitting or flammable clothing.
  • Do not plug too many appliances into the same electrical outlet. An overloaded circuit can cause a fire.
  • Store flammable liquids and chemicals in a cool, dry place preferably outside the house. monitoring detector
  • Regularly clean your clothes dryer venting to prevent accumulated dryer lint from over heating the machine.
  • Remove all visible hazards, including stacks of paper, magazines, and trash that may provide fuel for a fire.
  • It's wise to place carbon monoxide detectors outside sleeping areas and near the location of the furnace and hot water heater.


  • Keep a readily accessible fire extinguisher in the kitchen as well as other levels of the home. Familiarize yourself with their operation. Do not try and fight a fire beyond your capabilities, Get everyone out! Call 911 from a neighbor's house.survaliance monitor
  • Have a fire escape ladder available for use from the upper floors.
  • Plan at least two possible escape routes for your entire family and make sure that doors and windows needed for escape are unobstructed and easy to open.
  • Designate a place to meet outside after escaping and then practice these routes regularly.
  • Check with your neighborhood firehouse if you need planning help.

For information on other safety related issues visit the National Crime Prevention Council website.