A new year is here, and while people make new resolutions or keep up old habits, one practice people should always keep in mind is safety!
Unfortunately, crime is an inevitable part of life. Criminals are often on the hunt for the easiest targets and the quickest buck, and there are many forms in which criminal activity can take place. Criminal activity can take place in person or online, so that’s why the 375th Security Forces Squadron has some crime prevention tips for all to employ.
▪ Always pay attention to your surroundings;
▪ Avoid traveling/driving alone or at night;
▪ If you must travel at night, always park in a well-lighted area;
▪ Always have your cell phone on you and ensure it is charged in case of emergency situations;
▪ Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car. Set your alarm or use an anti-theft device;
▪ Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows;
▪ Park as close as you can to your destination and take notice of where you parked;
▪ Never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running or with children inside;
▪ Do not leave packages or valuables visible in your car. This creates a temptation for thieves. If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk or put it out of sight;
▪ Be sure to locate your keys prior to going to your car. Have them in your hand readily available;
▪ Keep a secure hold on your purse, handbag and parcels;
▪ When approaching or leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings;
▪ Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area. If you are approached by a suspicious person, use the panic button on your keys to deter them;
▪ Don’t “advertise” on social media that you will be away on vacation or the dates you will be gone; and
▪ If traveling with a concealed firearm with a concealed carry license across state lines ensure you know all regulations and laws that apply.
AUTOMATED TELLER MACHINE (ATM)
▪ If you must use an ATM, choose one that is located inside a police station, mall, gas station or well-lit locations. Withdraw only the amount of cash you need;
▪ Protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keypad from anyone who is standing near you;
▪ Do not throw your ATM receipt away at the ATM location;
▪ If possible, avoid “walk up” ATMs and use drive thru locations; and
▪ Always be aware of your surroundings.
▪ Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member;
▪ Avoid wearing expensive jewelry, don’t be flashy;
▪ Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible. If you must be cautious as these are target items for criminals;
▪ Avoid carrying large amounts of cash;
▪ Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible. If carrying cash keep it in your front pocket. Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused; and
▪ Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, "con-artists" may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
IF SHOPPING ONLINE
▪ Ensure your firewalls and virus protection are current and operational;
▪ Keep your private information and passwords secure, don’t give this information out if requested by a company unless you initiated the contact. Legitimate business won’t ask for this info via email or phone;
▪ Beware of online bargains, if it is too good to be true it probably is;
▪ Shop online only through well-known and reputable business/websites. Research an unknown company before making a purchase;
▪ Look for a locked padlock in the bottom of the screen or “https” in the URL address. This indicates you are using a secure website; and
▪ Use alternate options to pay on line such as a preloaded credit card or gift card versus using your bank card.
▪ If possible, leave small children at home with a trusted babysitter;
▪ Teach your child to go to a store clerk and ask for help in case your child is separated from you;
▪ Teach children to stay close to you at all times while shopping;
▪ Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom;
▪ Children should never be allowed to go to the car alone and they should never be left alone in the car;
▪ Teach children their full name, address and telephone number to give to police officers or mall security; and
▪ Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.
▪ Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave the house, even for a few minutes;
▪ When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail;
▪ Indoor and outdoor lights should be on an automatic timer;
▪ Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied;
▪ Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home; and
▪ Be cautious of any suspicious persons knocking on your door or unexpected delivery personnel.
RECENT AREA CAR JACKING TACTIC & PREVENTATIVE MEASURES
▪ Tactic: Perpetrators slowly bump you in the rear of your vehicle with their vehicle causing a “Minor Vehicle Accident.” Upon exiting the vehicle to exchange information the perpetrators hold you at gun point while taking your vehicle/belongings and they depart the scene;
▪ If involved in a minor vehicle accident drive to the nearest police station or well lit area with additional persons and or cameras in the area before stopping;
▪ Ensure you leave yourself an avenue of escape if needed to maneuver your vehicle and depart the area;
▪ Always have your cell phone readily available to call in case of any emergency situations;
▪ Use a GPS system anytime that you are traveling in areas you’re unfamiliar with and avoid these areas at night;
▪ Avoid traveling at night if possible. If you must travel at night always travel with someone else; and
▪ If possible try to get a description of any vehicle or persons involved in this type of situation. You will want to obtain the make, model, color of car and license plate number. Try to obtain a good description of the suspects to include their approximate height, age, weight, race, sex and what they are wearing.
Again these are some tips to help keep you, your loved ones and your belongings safe this holiday season. The men, women and pups of 375th SFS would like to wish you all a safe New Year!
If you have any questions, concerns or would like additional information please contact 375th SFS Crime Prevention Program Manager, Tech Sgt. Bryan Dell, at 256-2324 or Bryan.Dell@us.af.mil.