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Your Home Environment Resource - University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County

Household Hints & HELP!

Crime Prevention

submitted by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator
This article appeared in the May 18, 2003 Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper.

Nebraska Crime Commission suggested the summer months are a time when homes are more susceptible to crime. Many families are gone for extended vacations or just away from home more often. Crime prevention is everyone's responsibility, not just a job for the police. The key to crime prevention is to remove the opportunity for crime from our everyday activities. Simple measures like remembering to lock a door, knowing about common con games, and watching in your neighborhood will do much to reduce this problem.

When You're at Home

  • Keep your doors locked at all times, even when you're inside.
  • Protect window and sliding glass doors with good locks or other security devices.
  • Make your home appear occupied when you go out by using a timer to turn on lights and a radio.
  • Never let strangers in your home without checking their identification.
  • If you live alone, don't advertise it. Use only your first initial in telephone books, directories, and apartment lobbies.
  • Get to know your neighbors and keep their telephone numbers handy for emergencies.
  • Engrave your valuables with a unique identification number recommended by the police. Keep bonds, stock certifications, seldom worn jewelry, and stamp and coin collections in a safe deposit box.
  • Don't hide extra house keys under a doormat or other obvious spots.

When You Must Be Gone

  • Lock all doors and windows.

  • Don't leave hidden keys in the usual places (i.e. under the mat or flower pot on the ledge or windowsill). Leave a key with your neighbor. Make it hard for the burglar.

  • Lock up your ladders, keep shrubs trimmed and remove all hints you are out of town.

  • Have mail and newspapers stopped or picked up by a neighbor. Have a neighbor clean the walk, cut the grass and check the house. Many break-ins occur in daylight.

  • Keep the house secure during daylight. If the burglar sees you busy in the back, he may go in the front of the house.

Con artists can cause major problems for families. Older citizens are victims of fraudulent schemes far more than the rest of us, but all of us are attracted by those offers which seem to be too good to be true. We should be skeptical of any proposal that will save us lots of money or has to be kept a secret. If you feel your being conned, talk to your friends, your lawyer, the police, the Better Business Bureau and your state or county consumer affairs department. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:

  • "Will save you money" — Don't think you can get a good deal on expensive repairs or costly home improvements.

  • "Get rich quick" — They almost always require you to put up some of your own money to get started. Once they have your money, the market goes down or someone leaves town with everyone's money.

  • "We are bank examiners" — They ask, "Help us catch a dishonest teller. Please withdraw some money and we will then return it to you."

  • "Secret investments" — This will require you to put up a large sum of money with a promise of a high return.

  • "Unpaid bill" — You owe for items your late husband purchased before he died. These bills appear shortly after the announcement of your husband's death appears in the newspaper.

  • "Door-to-door" — You can purchase insurance or health and beauty aids at below cost.

Start today to help prevent crime in your home and neighborhood. Get to know your neighbors, check the security of your home and remember awareness of your surrounding is important in crime prevention.

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