Identify yourself – first and last name, address, telephone
number – even if you are using 911.
Tell the dispatcher the type of crime or emergency you are
Let the dispatcher know if the crime is “in progress” or “has
Where is/did the crime take place? Be as specific as possible.
Give descriptions of the suspect(s). The more specific the
Describe the vehicle
Is it a
car, truck, van or motorcycle?
What make and model is
What color is it?
What is the
What state issued the tag?
there any dents or marks that make it distinctive?
direction did it go?
7. Stay on the line until you are told
to hang up.
Fire – Police – Ambulance……9-1-1
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Thieves can be
creative when breaking into your home. Some things we may forget
about are the area thieves will target. Use this checklist
to ensure that you are safe against home burglary.
Doors are solid
Entry door has a
wide angle viewer (peep hole)
Locks are secure
from being opened if a burglar breaks a panel of glass or wood
All of my doors can be securely locked
Lock strike plates have at least 3 inch screws screwed into the
Do all of your out-swinging doors have the hinges pinned or have
All entry areas
are unobstructed by shrubbery and other décor to permit maximum
All sliding doors
have an auxiliary lock that locks both the door and panels
My sliding glass
door does not lift out of the track
The garage door
is secured with a lock, hasp or similar lock and not just the
garage door opener
I lock my vehicle
and remove my keys and valuables even if it is parked inside the
All windows are
equipped with auxiliary key locks
Louvered windows have been secured or replaced
Window locks are properly secured and mounted
The windows are locked when shut
Windows have locks that allow you to lock the window when it is
In high crime areas, bars or ornamental grilles block the
Garage windows are properly locked and secured
Second floor windows are as secure as first floor windows
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Vacation Security Checklist
Thieves thrive on opportunity so use these tips to safeguard
yourself and your home especially when you plan on being away for an
extended period of time. Staging your home to make it appear that
there is in fact someone there is a strong safe guard against
Arrange for the Van Buren Police Department to add your home to
our extra patrol
Double check second floor, garage and basement windows, areas
often forgotten, and secure them
Arrange for someone you trust to pick up your mail or any
Leave a car in the driveway and have outside lights on a timer
so that they turn on and off
Arrange to have the yard cut and the bushes trimmed
Have several lights attached to various timers throughout the
house and set them randomly
Ask neighbors to keep an eye on your home and leave a number
where you can be reached
Ask neighbors to use your garbage can
Don’t tell everyone about your vacation plans
Don’t leave notes on the door for friends, deliveries, etc.
If you return home and find a break-in, do not enter the house.
If you have entered the house, leave the house immediately
being careful to touch as little as possible. Intruders could
have left fingerprints that would otherwise be destroyed if you
touch them. Use your cell phone or a neighbor’s phone and
immediately call the police.
Make an inventory of your property. Mark your valuables with an
engraver. Use your driver’s license number (and State) as
identification your property.
Make sure your doors and windows are locked with auxiliary locks
as well as dead bolts.
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Robbery and ATM Safety
Statistics show that most muggers are young – between the ages of 14
and 29. These young criminals can instantly turn violent during the
commission of their crime. Robberies often occur in isolated places
or places not readily visible to the public. They often occur at or
near parking lots, alleys, parks and retail locations. Keep these
tips in the forefront of your mind at all times to help protect
yourself from these crimes.
When walking into a bank or any store, take a moment to look at
what is going on. If anything looks at all suspicious, do not
go into that location.
Avoid exposing your money in public. Avoid counting your money
in front of others and refrain from showing large bills. Pay
with a credit or debit card if at all possible.
Avoid wearing expensive looking jewelry. It can mark you as a
profitable target to a would-be robber.
Be aware of trouble locations and always be alert to your
surroundings. If your gut tells you something is wrong, then
something is probably wrong.
Avoid carrying packages that advertise expensive contents. Have
it packaged in plain packaging.
Keep $20 on you at all times. Keeping $20 may satisfy a
would-be robber’s need for drug money. If you have no money, he
or she may get angry enough to hurt you.
Never expose or disclose any amount of money you are going to
deposit at an ATM.
As you approach the ATM, check your surroundings for anyone or
anything suspicious or uncomfortable
Have your ATM card ready and in your hand when you approach the
ATM. Be discreet when entering your PIN. Use your body as a
shield against prying eyes.
Always keep a safe distance between you and others.
If you do find yourself confronted by a robber – Remain Calm –
Do Not Resist – Give Up Your Money, Jewelry, Etc. – Cooperate
With the Robber – Give Him/Her Time To Get Away – Call 911 and
Report the Crime.
Losing money or personal possessions is far better than losing
your life to an angry mugger.
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Child Safety Skills
Thought most kids make it through childhood without ever
experiencing physical harm, some are in fact frightened or hurt by
crime. Adults can make a difference in a child’s life by listening
to what the child has to say concerning people around him/her and
about his/her surroundings. Adults must teach children how to
protect themselves in threatening situations. Use these Child
Safety Skills to protect your children.
Rehearse their name, address and phone number (including the
Teach them how to make an emergency phone call from the home
phone, the cell phone and from a pay phone.
Help them become
aware of danger areas around them such as vacant
wooded areas, poorly lit areas, busy streets, streets with no
Show them safe places in the neighborhood they can go for help
Make sure they know to find a store employee or security guard
if they ever get lost in a store. Make sure they know to never
go outside if they get lost.
Teach them that no one should
ever ask to touch them anywhere that their bathing suit covers
and that no one should ever ask them to touch anyone else there,
Teach them that it’s not okay if someone asks them to keep
special secrets from you
Teach them to walk confidently and to always be alert to their
Ask them to watch out for the smaller children and to tell you
about anyone who lurks around parks, bathrooms, schools, etc.
Teach them how to write down a license plate number
Make sure they can reach you by phone if they must be home alone
Post phone numbers for emergency services, your work, a neighbor
and family members near the phone.
Have them check in with you when they get home or when they
leave to go to a friend’s house
Establish rules for having friends over when no adult is present
Remind them never to open the door to anyone including a
repairman, a salesman or an unexpected guest. Teach them that
they’re not being rude but that they’re being safe.
Teach them to never tell anyone that they are home alone,
whether it be at the door or over the phone. They should always
say that their parents are busy.
Children associate strangers as people with unusual or sloppy
appearances. Teach your children that strangers look and act
like many things, including nice, clean people. Children are
harmed not only by strangers, but also by people that have some
sort of familiarity with them. Teach your children to talk
about any strange situations or actions with you that may
involve strangers or anyone that you know.
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Don’t Be Conned
Many of us are not familiar with making decisions about home
repairs, insurance policies or investments. We are swamped by calls
with people claiming to represent charitable organizations, or pushy
salespeople that use high-pressure tactics to sell an item. We have
to be careful not to reveal personal facts that may enable con
artists to clear out our bank accounts and use our credit card
numbers. Protect yourself from these con artists by following these
Don’t do business with someone that has to go door to door to
Get recommendations from friends and family and then get several
estimates from several different companies and compare the terms
and estimates. When hiring the contractor, obtain a written
guarantee. NEVER pay for a job in advance! Make installment
arrangements and then only pay for the amount of work completed.
Be suspicious of high-pressure sales tactics
Never purchase property sight unseen
Never trust anyone who states, “Purchase now or the deal is
Be cautious of anyone that wants you to invest in a promising
company. Often the company quietly closes and you lose.
Make any donations you make are to charitable organizations that
you have researched and verified. Often swindlers come up with
false names that resemble names of legitimate organizations.
Don’t let their guilt tactics work on you.
Beware of anyone that befriends you and then asks you to put up
“good faith” money in order to share in unexpectedly found money
NEVER give out social security or credit card numbers over the
Look out for someone claiming to be an FBI agent, bank examiner,
police officer, or bank employee wanting you to withdraw money
to assist in an investigation. IT IS A CON!
If you believe you are being or have been conned, contact the police
immediately. Do not be embarrassed. Your misfortune could prevent
others from having the same fate.
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Auto Thefts and Break-Ins
Stolen and vandalized vehicles cost victims time and money and
increase everyone’s insurance premiums. Often stolen vehicles are
also used in the commission of other crimes as well.
Never leave your vehicle running or your keys in it while you’re
away, even if it's just for a minute.
Always roll up the windows and lock the doors, even if it’s in
front of your home.
Never leave valuables in plain view. Lock them up in the trunk
or at least out of sight. Purses, electronics, packages, etc.
should be left home or taken with you when you leave your
Always park your car in a well-lit area or where it is in plain
view of others. This is a strong deterrent to most criminals.
You can keep an eye out for crime by joining your “Neighborhood
Neighborhood watch programs belong to and are run by the people
in the neighborhood, not the police.
They have been proven to prevent neighborhood crime by as much
as 60% but are equally as effective in neighborhoods with no or
low crime rates.
The “Watch” group usually has a Coordinator and Block Captains
who are responsible for organizing meetings and relaying
information to members.
Everyone is a Block Watcher who keeps an eye out for suspicious
activity and calls police if need be.
Effective Watches build a sense of community by having regular
meetings, which give neighbors a chance to know each other.
Some even publish a newsletter with crime prevention and
9 out of every 10 arrests are made because of a neighborhood tip.
The following list highlights only a small amount of suspicious
activities criminals carry out every day. You will not be in
trouble if you call the police regarding any suspicious activity.
It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Anyone looking into a car or home
Anyone forcibly entering a car or home
Someone running from a home or business
Someone carrying a weapon
An unknown adult talking to children, offering them candy or
gifts or asking them for help
Someone who does not belong in the area
A person walking in the neighborhood with items which could be
Anyone ringing your doorbell or knocking on your door without a
Persons loitering around a schoolyard or park
Strange vehicles parked in your area for several hours
A clean automobile with dirty or damaged tags
Groups of people loitering or walking through your neighborhood
Assaults can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Here are some
tips to reduce your chances of being attacked.
Keep your home securely locked and well lighted
Install a peephole in your door and use it
Beware of unexpected sales or service calls
Check identification before letting someone you don’t know
inside of your house
Offer to make a phone call for a stranger if he or she wants to
use your phone
If you come home and see signs of forced entry do not enter your
house. Instead go to a neighbor’s and immediately call the
Be alert to your surroundings and to people around you
Stay in well-lighted areas as much as possible.
Walk confidently and at a steady pace
Walk close to the curb. Avoid bushes, doorways and alleys
Try not to walk alone, especially at night. Avoid areas where
there are few people. The more people that see you walking, the
less likely an assailant will attack you.
Be careful when people stop to ask you for directions. Always
reply from a distance and never approach the vehicle.
If you are in trouble, gain attention in any way you can.
Scream “FIRE” or “HELP” to attract attention.
Keep your car in good working order and keep the gas tank at
least half full.
Park in well-lit areas and lock the doors, no matter how long
you will be away
Have your key ready before you get into your vehicle and check
the front and rear seats before you get in
Drive with your doors locked no matter what area you are in
Keep valuables such as purses, electronics, money, packages,
etc., out of sight.
If you think you are being followed DO NOT DRIVE HOME. Drive to
a well-lit open gas station or business and call the police. If
it is safe to do so, get a tag number and description of the
vehicle following you.
If an unmarked police vehicle attempts to stop you, signal to
the officer that you see him/her and proceed to the nearest open
business where there will be other people to watch. An
assailant will usually move along when you involve witnesses.
If You Are Attacked
Keep your head. Stay as calm as possible, think rationally and
evaluate your resources and options.
Keep assessing your situation as it is happening. If one
strategy does not work, try another. Possible options are
negotiating, stalling for time, distracting the assailant, and
fleeing to a safe place.
Do You Need A Weapon?
Beware that weapons that are intended to hurt an assailant such
as mace, pepper spray, electronic stun guns, or handguns
(special permits required) are often taken away and used against
Carry a personal body alarm that makes a piercing noise and
draws attention to your situation
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Glossary of Criminal
– Purposely doing something that creates a substantial danger of
death or serious injury to someone else.
Threatening by word or act to do violence to someone
Intentionally causing an injury to someone
Breaking or Entering
– Entering into a car, outbuilding, or coin operated machine with
the intent of taking valuables or committing a serious crime.
Entering into a home or business undetected with the intent of
taking valuables or committing a serious crime.
the knowing and intentional damage or destruction of property owned
– Remaining unlawfully in or on a car or the property of another
Using force or at least threatening to use force against someone
with the purpose of getting valuables.
Taking the property of another with the intent of denying the owner
the use of the property.
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Sources used :
Fort Smith Police Department Website, Crime