Crime Prevention Tips and Information Various tips and links for staying safe
Home Safety Council - Visit the Home Safety Council for ways to make your home safer
Be Vigilant and Prevent Theft from Your Vehicle Author:  Linda Johnson, Chair, Anthem Neighborhood Watch 1. Close the garage door! If something is stolen, you won’t realize it’s missing until you need it. Keep the door between the garage and the house locked. 2. If you must park in the driveway or on the street, make sure the car is locked, the windows are up, and don’t leave anything in view that would tempt someone to break into the car. This includes empty boxes or bags. If you can’t remove something, at least lock the items inside the glove compartment or trunk. 3. Do NOT hide keys in your car. Burglars are familiar with this technique! 4. If you have an alarm system, USE IT! 5. Use a steering wheel or gas pedal locking device. 6. Consider installing a “kill switch.” 7. Look into installing a vehicle tracking system. 8. Have the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etched on the windshield. 9. Do NOT store your title in the car! 10. Do NOT leave your garage door opener in the car. If thieves take that, they have access to your home. The most commonly taken items from vehicles include: GPS, small electronics, wallets, and money. Be aware that your GPS can save your home address and your garage door opener can allow a thief an entry point. The visible GPS unit is an obvious target and car prowlers look for signs that one might be hidden inside the vehicle. These signs include a mount on the window or dashboard or even the circle left on the windshield from a suction cup. The best advice is to get rid of all tell-tale signs. If Your Vehicle is Broken Into, Report It! Your first duty is to report it to the police. Many Anthem residents are too embarrassed to report auto theft because they left the vehicle unlocked or left their wallet or purse in the car. I have heard some say, “I don’t call the police because it isn’t a big deal.” While it’s true that some crimes aren’t as “big” or “important” as others, a crime is still a crime. If people don’t call the police to report a crime, crime trends cannot be tracked and the police aren’t aware there is a problem. This can result in fewer officers responding to calls. Be Vigilant! Report suspicious people or activities you see in and around your neighborhood: someone looking into windows and parked cars; cars, vans or trucks moving slowly with no apparent destination and no lights on; abandoned cars; strangers sitting in cars or even sleeping in cars; or property being taken by someone other than a homeowner. Residents’ basic safety practices and working with our police will keep auto thieves away from Anthem. If you hear a car alarm, take a look outside to see what’s going on. If you hear barking dogs, go out and look around. And, always, always, always call the police if you see someone trying to break into or damage a car.
What You Need to Know When Calling 911 Author: Barbara Tschop, Anthem Neighborhood Watch “911, what is your emergency?” These can be words of comfort in our worst emergencies, as 911 dispatchers will send us the help we need in a timely fashion. But what is an “emergency”? What happens if you’re calling from a cell phone? What happens if you mis dial? Below are answers to these questions. When to Call 911… 911 should be called when there is: a crime in progress; a fire; a medical or life- threatening emergency; or the potential for violence. When you call 911, the operator will always ask that you verify your address or location. Although caller ID is available, the most accurate method is to have you verify where you are. If you contact the wrong call center, you will be transferred. What You May be Asked… The operator may also ask you to repeat information to ensure he/she is getting it correctly. If you are reporting a crime, they may ask you if you wish to be contacted by an officer. If you are a witness to a crime, you may be asked some of these questions: What happened? Where is the problem? (Exact location) When did this happen? (Determines priority of a call) Was anyone hurt? Were weapons involved? How did they leave? (By car, bike, on foot?) Who did it? (Suspect description) Where did the suspect go? (Direction) What did the suspect obtain? (In the case of theft, the type of item and/or the amount) Who is calling? (Your name and phone number) The operator may also ask you to stay on the line until the officer arrives, especially if you can give more information. As soon as it is confirmed that an emergency exists, the call is transferred to the dispatcher so officers on the way continuously receive updated information. While it may seem as if there are many questions, it is important to remember that they are necessary and that help is coming while you and the dispatcher are talking. When You Mis dial… Anytime you dial 911 in error, you should stay on the line whether you hear it ring or not. Operators are required to call back all 911 hangup calls from landlines and some cell phones. Officers may respond to verify that there is no emergency. Common causes of 911 hang-ups are children playing with the phone, cell phones in purses and pressing “9” when dialing out from a business. All 911 centers are equipped with access to a translation service with translators for 140 different languages, if English is not your primary language. They all have TDD access. When in Doubt…  I knew a dispatcher who was looking out of his window one night and saw two men pushing a car down the street. He thought that seemed odd and that the car sort of looked like his neighbor’s. However, he didn’t really know his neighbor, and he really wasn’t sure anything was wrong, so he did nothing. The next morning, he went outside to find his neighbor reporting that his car had been stolen. He told me he thought of all the times in his career he told people to always call the police if they saw something they didn’t think was right. It is always better to find out that everything is OK rather than learning you could have done something and didn’t. Take a minute to meet and know your neighbors, and if you see something suspicious, follow that gut feeling and report it. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
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