Criminals usually look for the easiest targets, and often crimes such as burglary, theft, and theft from motor vehicle are crimes of opportunity. If you can eliminate the opportunity, you can greatly reduce your chances of becoming a victim. Common sense and a little prevention can save you a great deal of headache later. Following are some security tips for at home.
Make sure all exterior doors are solid wood or metal-clad for security. Use dead blot locks with a 1-inch throw and a strike plate secured with at least two-inch screws.
Keep doors locked at all times, including during the day when you’re at home. Sometimes a person may enter the wrong home accidentally if they are given a wrong address or are confused, so avoid being surprised.
If you move into a new home, install new locks and deadbolts. If you live in an apartment complex, contact your building manager to insure you can install deadbolts on your door. You never know how many extra keys are floating around.
If your front door doesn’t have a peephole, have a wide-angle viewer installed.
Keep extra cash and valuables in a safe deposit box. Have pension and Social Security checks deposited directly into your account.
Engrave all or your electronics and other valuable items with your driver license number to deter theft. You can borrow an engraver from the City of Delavan Police Department at no charge.
If you are single female living alone, use only your first initial and last name in the telephone book and on your mailbox (especially if you are living in an apartment.
Keep windows and patio doors locked with special locks. With some types of locks you can lock a window or patio door open a few inches for ventilation.
At night, use motion-sensor lights in back yards and in front of the garage.
Speeding violations near schools are a big problem. Please remember that speed limits, crosswalks, patrollers and crossing guards are there to get your child so school safely – please work with them for safety’s sake.
Area police squads do patrol school areas and assign extra officers to patrol specific schools as needed, but they must answer other calls for help too. Your cooperation can help police to keep your children safe.
For convenience store and gas stations, keep the front windows clear of advertisements to allow the public and the police easy viewing into the business.
Keep the interior and front of the business well lit.
All rear and side doors should be kept locked at all times.
Avoid the routine procedures that could be observed by a would-be robber.
Keep cash on the premises and cash exposure to the lowest level possible.
Vary the route and time of day that bank deposits are made.
If the business uses “CCTV” or video surveillance, are the cameras turned on? If the business has a hold up alarm, can it be activated safely?
Most robberies result with no injury to any of the victims as long as you comply with the robber’s demands. Do exactly as you are instructed and if you don’t understand a directive, ask for clarification.
Try to remain calm and be the best witness you can. Try to remember the following:
Physical features of the robber (age, sex, height and weight)
License plate information
Lock the door after the robber leaves. If there are other people inside separate them and have each person write down a description of the robber.
On Vacation – At Hotels and Motels
Don’t answer the door in a hotel or motel room without verifying who it is. If a person claims to be an employee, call the front desk and ask if someone from their staff is supposed to have access to your room and for what purpose.
When returning to your hotel or motel late in the evening, use the main entrance of the hotel or motel. Be observant and look around before entering parking lots. Park under lights and close to an entrance.
Close the door securely whenever you are in your room and use all of the locking devices provided.
Don’t needlessly display guest room keys in public or carelessly leave them on restaurant tables, at the swimming pool, or other places where they can be easily stolen.
Do not draw attention to yourself by displaying large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry.
Don’t invite strangers to your room.
Do not leave valuables in your vehicle. Either lock them in your trunk or bring them with you into the room.
Place all valuables in the hotel or motel’s safe deposit box.
Check to see that any sliding doors or windows and any connecting room doors are locked.
If you see any suspicious activity, report your observations to the management.
(Courtesy of the American Hotel and Motel Association)
On Vacation – Your Home
When going out of town for an extended weekend or vacation, have a trusted neighbor or friend watch your house. Use automatic timers so lights come on periodically during the nighttime hours. These are especially effective on a television or radio. Don’t leave the blinds or drapes closed during the day. This suggests that the house is closed up, or in other words that no one is home. Have your neighbor or friend park their vehicle in your driveway and put his garbage out on your garbage collection day in front of your house. Either stop your paper and mail service or have someone pick these items up daily. Anything you can do to give your house that “lived-in” look will certainly help. Prior to leaving on vacation, call the Police Department, 728-6311, and inform them of the dates that you will be gone.
Locking Windows and Doors
Keep all doors and windows locked whenever possible, including during the day when someone is at home. All exterior doors should be secured with a dead bolt lock with a 1-inch throw and 2-inch screws in the strike plate. The “throw” refers to how far the bolt sticks out of the door when you have the door open and the bolt in the locked position. The reason that the throw should be at least 1-inch long is so that the bolt goes past the thin trim board. This makes the trim board less likely to splinter if someone tries to kick the door in. Two-inch screws should also be used to fasten door hinges to the doorjamb.
Hidden keys outside are a bad idea. Most burglars know all the usual spots to check for hidden keys. An extra key kept in your wallet, purse, or at a trusted neighbor’s house is usually a much more secure hiding place. Generally, burglars do not force entry into homes – they let themselves in. When burglars do force entry (such as breaking a window), it is often when they can see something in plain sight and think that can break in and run away very quickly. An example of this situation is leaving a purse or coin collection sitting on top of a kitchen counter near a window.
Open Garage Doors
If you have a garage that is attached to your house, be sure to lock the connecting door between the garage and the house with a very strong lock such as a dead bolt. It is very easy for someone to enter your house through a connecting door. If you do remember to lock the connecting door, make sure there are no extra house keys in your vehicles. It doesn’t pay to lock the door and then leave a key in plain sight.
Trick or Treat Safety
Please leave a front porch light on if you wish to be visited by trick-or-treaters. Following are a few safety tips for the trick-or-treaters:
Plan your route with your family ahead of time. Pick streets that are well lit and in your own neighborhood.
Parents should provide a watch and a time when children should return home.
Trick-or-Treat with a parent, older sibling or with a group of children if someone older can’t go with you.
Children should go only to houses where the porch lights are on, and never go into a house. Children should walk house to house – NEVER RUN!
Children should carry flashlights after dark.
Wear a costume that fits and makes it easy for you to walk. Strips of reflective tape or light-colored costumes will make you more visible.
Parents should attach name, address and phone number to sleeves of young children in case they become lost or separated from their group.
A face mask may keep you from seeing well. Why not use face makeup instead? If you must wear a mask, take it off before you cross a street.
If a child has to cross the street, they should cross at a crosswalk or corner, not mid-block and never between parked cars. Look both ways before crossing and be alert for cars turning at intersections.
Children should stay on sidewalks. If there are no sidewalks, they should walk with the road on their right.
If someone drives when you Trick-or-Treat, buckle up every time you get into the vehicle – even if it is only for a few blocks.
Children should not eat treats until they return home and parents inspect the treats.
If you choose to allow fruit to be eaten, it should be cut and washed first.
Candy wrappers should be checked for tampering. Do not eat anything that is not wrapped or appears to be tampered with. If in doubt, throw it away.
Report any evidence of tampering to the Police Department – 728-6311.
Use the bicycle pedals to move the bicycle, not your feet.
Use both a headlight and a taillight during hours of darkness.
Park your bicycle safely, do not leave it in the middle of the street or sidewalk.
If your bicycle has one seat, then there should be only one person on the bicycle.
Have your bicycle registered and licensed with the City of Delavan.
Wisconsin Rules of the Road are applicable to all bicycles driven on the roadways.
Bicycles may not be driven on the sidewalk areas of the business district in Downtown Delavan. Downtown Delavan is that area between Main Street and 5th Street on Walworth Avenue.
Use a bicycle helmet when operating your bicycle.
Keep your bicycle in good working condition.