Police Safety Tips

Auto Theft Prevention

Automobile Theft Prevention

A car is stolen in Texas every 5 minutes. No matter what kind of vehicle you drive, old or new – car or truck – you could be the next victim. The following information could help keep you and your vehicle safe.

Tips to Protect Your Vehicle

  • Take Your Keys. One out of every five vehicles stolen had the keys in it.
  • Lock Your Car. Almost half of all vehicles stolen were left unlocked.
  • Don’t Hide a Second Set of Keys in Your Car. Extra keys can easily be found if a thief takes time to look.
  • Park in Well-Lighted Areas.
  • Park in Attended Lots. Auto thieves do not like witnesses and prefer unattended parking lots.
  • Only give the ignition/door key to the parking attendant. If your trunk and glove box use the same key as the door, have one of them changed. Don’t give the attendant easy access to your glove box and trunk. Upon returning, check the tires, spare, and battery to ensure they are the same as those you had when you parked.
  • Don’t leave your car running unattended. Vehicles are commonly stolen at convenience stores, gas stations, ATM’s, etc. Many vehicles are also stolen on cold mornings when the owner leaves the vehicle running to warm up.
  • Completely Close Car Windows When Parking. Don’t make it any easier for the thief to enter your vehicle.
  • Hide Your Valuables. Don’t make your car a more desirable target for thieves by leaving valuables in plain sight.

Anti-Theft Devices

  • Many car insurance companies may give you a discount for certain anti-theft devices. Check with your agent for details.
  • Ignition Kill Switch. Splice an inexpensive toggle switch into your ignition wire or to your starter. The trick is hiding the switch well. Keypads, pressure pads, and more expensive “Immobilizers” and “Passkeys” can also be used.
  • Fuel Kill Switch. The valve that halts the fuel supply is closed.
  • Visible Steering Wheel Lock. Prevents the steering wheel from being turned.
  • Floorboard Locks. Devices that disable the gas or brake pedal.
  • Gearshift Locks. Disables shifting of the transmission.
  • Tire/Wheel Locks. Prevents the vehicle from moving.
  • Hood Locks. Prevents the thief from gaining access to your security system and battery.
  • Armored Collar Around the Steering Column. Protects the column and ignition.
  • Alarms. Security systems that make loud warning sounds when
    doors/hood/trunk are opened. Optional sensors detect glass breakage, motion, tampering, and towing. Panic buttons, backup batteries, flashing parking lights or headlights, and automatic engine-disable features are also popular.
  • Vehicle Tracking. Transmitter hidden in a car enables police to track car (may not be available in all areas).

How to Spot a Stolen Vehicle

Many stolen vehicles are sold to unsuspecting buyers. If you knowingly buy a stolen car, you can be arrested. If you buy a stolen car unknowingly, you could lose the car and your money. To avoid becoming the car thief’s second victim, we urge you to keep these tips in mind:

  • When buying from a private individual, make sure the title and registration match the name and address of the person selling the car.
  • Be cautious of a seller with no fixed address, place of employment or phone number.
  • Ask the seller for references about past financing and insurance on the vehicle. Verify the information with the bank, finance company or agent.
  • Ensure the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the automobile’s dash is present, secure, and unaltered.
  • Check to ensure the VIN plate has not been repainted and the numbers stamped in the plate appear to be the original factory numbers.
  • If in doubt about plate authenticity, check with a new car dealer who handles the same model, or contact a law enforcement agency. (Thieves may remove the VIN plate and replace it with one from a similar wrecked vehicle.)
  • Be suspicious of any deal that seems “too good to be true.”

Crime Reduction Tips

FRAUD TIPS:
Tips to become less of a target:

  • Make sure you understand how an online auction works before you bid on merchandise.
  • Investigate the seller as much as possible. Be wary if the seller has only a post office box address or an email address.
  • Bid at auction houses only if there’s insurance to protect the buyer or an escrow account where your money will be held until you receive your merchandise.
  • Always use a credit card for your auction purchase so that you can dispute the charge if necessary; never use a wire transfer, money order, or personal check.
  • To protect yourself against exorbitant charges, make sure you know the shipping and handling charges upfront.
  • To foil identity thieves, never give out your Social Security number or other personal information.
  • Shred all bills, bank statements, and “pre-approved” credit card offers before you put them in the trash.
  • Don’t have new checks mailed to you at home; pick them up at the bank.
  • When someone asks you for a contribution to a charity, call the charity and make sure it is soliciting in your neighborhood.
  • Make your check out to the name of the charitable organization, never to the person who is doing the soliciting, and mail it directly to the charity.

Burglary of Motor Vehicle TIPS:

Don’t be a statistic –

Keep lists of your property including brand name, serial numbers, and model numbers of items you routinely carry in your vehicle so if you forget to take something out you will have the information to assist with recovery. Park in a well-lit area close to the building. While parking in an isolated spot may reduce door dings, a criminal looks for cars parked out of the way in order to help ensure less attention is drawn to them.

The way you can help goes along with a program the Duncanville Police Department has joined in with other police departments around the state trying to reduce car burglaries. The program is really simple, HIDE/LOCK/TAKE; Hide your belongings, Lock your
vehicle and Take your keys.

If you follow these steps you will reduce the risk of being a victim of car burglary. The HIDE/LOCK/TAKE program targets areas that have a number of parking spaces, for example shopping centers, apartment complexes, large businesses, and hotels.

The HIDE/LOCK/TAKE signs were purchased by the Duncanville Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association. For information on the HIDE/LOCK/TAKE program or to get involved in the program through assisting with signs contact, Officer Doug Sisk (972) 780-5027.

Neighborhood Watch:

Citizens are a big part of reducing the crime rate in Duncanville; it takes citizens stepping up and getting involved in programs. There are a number of programs to get involved in to try and make a difference, Neighborhood Crime Watch being just one.

Neighborhood Watch is one of the oldest and most effective crime prevention programs in the country, bringing citizens together with law enforcement to deter crime and make communities safer. Neighborhood Watch can trace its roots back to the days of colonial settlements when night watchmen patrolled
the streets. The modern version of Neighborhood Watch was developed in response to requests from sheriffs and police chiefs who were looking for a crime prevention program that would involve citizens and address an increasing number of burglaries.

Launched in 1972, Neighborhood Watch counts on citizens to organize themselves and work with law enforcement to keep a trained eye and ear on their communities, while demonstrating their presence at all times of day and night. (The program took off quickly: in just ten years, data showed that 12 percent of the population was involved in a Neighborhood Watch.) Neighborhood Watch works because it reduces opportunities for crime to occur; it doesn’t rely on altering or changing the criminal’s behavior or
motivation.

Tips:

  • Physical conditions like abandoned cars or overgrown vacant lots contribute to crime. Sponsor cleanups, encourage residents to beautify the area, and ask them to turn on outdoor lights at night.
  • Work with small businesses to repair rundown storefronts, clean up littered streets, and create jobs for young people.
  • Start a block parent program to help children cope with emergencies while walking to and from school or playing in the area.
  • Emphasize that Watch groups are not vigilantes and should not assume the role of the police. Their duty is to ask neighbors to be alert, observant, and caring—and to report suspicious activity or crimes immediately to the police.
  • If you want to make a stand and help the Duncanville Police Department lower the crime in your neighborhood, contact Officer Doug Sisk;
    dsisk@duncanvillepd.com at (972) 780-5027.
  • If you or your neighborhood has been involved in the past and things have kind of died off, contact us and we can help you set up a block meeting to get everyone involved again. Let’s do our part to keep crime out of Duncanville.

Home Security:

This checklist was designed to assist you in making a security survey of your own home. The purpose of the survey is to identify the security weaknesses of your home and daily routines around your home. These are things that make your home look inviting to the criminal. It should begin at the curb and end with the interior of the home. It should include house numbers, landscaping, doors, locks, strike plates, windows, indoor-outdoor lighting and its use, the garage, and driveways.

From the Curb:

  • Are your house numbers visible from the street for emergency services such as police, fire, and ambulance?
  • Does the overall appearance of your home give criminals information about you and your family that would assist them in victimizing you–things such as a full mailbox, outdoor lighting on during the day, or the garage doors open with no cars present?
  • Are all fence gates padlocked to make it more difficult for strangers to enter your yard?

Landscaping:

  • Are your shrubs and trees trimmed to “open up the line of sight” of your home for your neighbors from several directions?
  • Are shrubs and trees trimmed to prohibit concealment of an intruder?

Outdoor Lighting:

  • Do you have only decorative lighting such as used in flower beds?
  • Do you have only entrance/exit lighting such as front/rear door type lights?
  • Do you have true security lighting operated by an electric eye or timer, every night, all night, giving your home a perimeter of light around it?

External Doors:

  • Are all external doors either metal, solid wood, solid wood frame, or at least solid core construction?
  • Are door frames strong and tight enough to withstand some degree of force?
  • Are doors with outside exposed hinges pinned to prevent easy removal from outside?
  • Are all external doors equipped with “good” deadbolt locks which have at least a one-inch throw?
  • Are the strike plates installed with three-to-four inch screws which are anchored well into the two-by-four inch stud behind the door frame?
  • Are glass sliding doors pinned to prevent being forced open? Is the upper track secured with large pan head screws to prevent lifting?
  • Are French or double doors fitted with flush bolts at the top and bottom edge of the inactive or secondary door?
  • Is there a door leading from the garage to the interior of the home, and if so, is it equally secure as an external door?

Windows:

  • Are wooden windows “pinned” on both sides, from the inside?
  • Are aluminum windows fitted with secondary locking devices, easily removed, in case of fire?
  • Is shrubbery trimmed away from the outside of the windows to prohibit
    concealment of an intruder?

Garage Doors:

  • Are overhead garage doors fitted with an interior locking device, blocking the track, as well as an outside locking device?
  • Do windows in the garage door prohibit viewing the interior of the garage from the outside by use of curtains or window film?
  • Is the garage door kept down and locked at all times?

Alarms offer additional security, but should never be substituted for good locks. When considering an alarm, you should have several companies appraise your needs. Insist on a written proposal and a copy of the contract you will need to sign. Before signing, check the company’s reputation through the Better Business Bureau. Employees of the police department are prohibited from making any recommendations for any specific alarm company.

General Personal Protection Tips

SHOPPING

  • Avoid shopping alone. Use the buddy system whenever possible.
  • Shop before dark and always park in well-lighted areas.
  • Use waist-pack carriers instead of purses.
  • Make sure all doors and windows are locked in your vehicle and home.
  • Do not keep packages in plain view in your vehicle or home.
  • Do not count cash in open areas, especially after leaving an ATM machine.
  • Keep your address and home phone number private. When stores request a phone number, give only your work number.
  • After making a credit card purchase, request the carbon copy and destroy it in private.
  • Have keys in hand before returning to the vehicle.
  • As you approach the car, check to see if anyone is hiding underneath or inside.

AT HOME (or your apartment)

  • Never let strangers inside your residence.
  • Keep your garage door closed to prevent thefts.
  • When going out for the evening, turn on lights, a radio, or television to make your home or apartment appear occupied.
  • Keep the garage door closed to prevent thefts.
  • If you plan to be out of town for a few days, purchase an automatic timer for lights.
  • Have a trusted neighbor watch your home and pick up your mail and newspapers. Ask them to park a vehicle in your driveway.
  • Immediately after the holidays, mark new purchases and gifts with your driver’s license number. You can check out an engraver from a neighborhood fire station or the Crime Prevention Unit of the Arlington Police Department.

ON THE COMPUTER

  • Shop only from well-established and reputable companies. Avoid auction sites if you do not feel comfortable buying or bidding.
  • Before you give your credit card information, take note of the icons that indicate that security software is in place to secure your purchase.
  • Print out and date a copy of all terms, conditions, warranties, item descriptions, company information, and confirming e-mails. Save this information as a record of your purchase.
  • Avoid computer viruses and unwanted access to your information by not accepting e-mail from people you do not know.

Remain alert and report suspicious activity through the use of 9-1-1

Halloween Safety Tips for Kids and Adults

With witches, goblins, and super-heroes descending on neighborhoods across
America, the Duncanville Police Department offers parents some safety tips to
help prepare their children for a safe and enjoyable trick-or-treat holiday.
Halloween should be filled with surprise and enjoyment and following some
common sense practices can keep events safer and more fun.

Dangerous and Risky Roads

  • Walk, slither, and sneak on sidewalks, not in the street.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street to check for cars, trucks, and low-flying brooms.
  • Cross the street only at corners.
  • Don’t hide or cross the street between parked cars.
  • Wear light-colored or reflective-type clothing so you are more visible. (And remember to put reflective tape on bikes, skateboards, and brooms, too!)
  • Plan your route and share it with your family. If possible, have an adult go with you.
  • Carry a flashlight to light your way.
  • Keep away from open fires and candles. (Costumes can be extremely flammable.)
  • Use face paint rather than masks or things that will cover your eyes.
  • (If no sidewalk) walk on the left side of the road facing traffic
  • Keep costumes simple. Long and fancy ones could cause children to trip. Costumes should also be fireproof if possible.
  • Costumes should be made of white or light-colored materials to be easily seen at night. Reflective patches or strips can also be added to the costume for more visibility when it is dark.
  • Instead of wearing masks, paint faces with makeup. This will give a
    clear field of vision to see at night.
  • Props, such as guns or swords should be made of Styrofoam or
    cardboard.
  • Accept your treats at the door and never go into a stranger’s house.
  • Avoid wearing masks while walking from house to house.

Be aware of pets and other animals

  • Be cautious of animals and strangers.
  • Stay away from and don’t pet animals you don’t know.
  • Children should beware of pets; animals may react negatively to
    costumes.
  • Pets get frightened on Halloween; put them up to protect them from
    cars or inadvertently biting a trick-or-treater.

Treacherous Treats

  • Never eat anything until after an adult inspects the treats.
  • Only give/accept wrapped or packaged candy.
  • Notify the police if harmful items are found.
  • Have a grown-up inspect your treats before eating. And don’t eat candy if the package is already opened. Small, hard pieces of candy are a choking hazard for young children.
  • Children should stop only at houses or apartment buildings that are well-lit and never to enter a stranger’s home.
  • Give your children small Halloween bags – these will be filled quickly and the kids will return home early.

Parental Protection

Parents of trick-or-treating kids can get so caught up in the fun themselves that they might forget some simple safety ideas that could save everyone some trouble. Having a fun and safe Halloween will make it all worthwhile.

  • Discuss with your children a pre-planned, well-lighted route to follow
    and make sure you know the area.
  • Know the route your kids will be taking if you aren’t going with them.
  • Try to trick or treat when it is still light outside and be home by 9:00
    p.m. at the latest.
  • Make sure you set a time that they should be home by. Make sure they
    know how important it is for them to be home on time.
  • If your children go on their own, be sure they wear a watch, preferably
    one that can be read in the dark.
  • Know exactly what route your children are taking.
  • Know which friends your children will be with.
  • A responsible adult or teen should accompany each group.
    Have the children stay in your own neighborhood and only go to houses that have porch lights turned on.
  • Leave your porch light on, so children will know it is okay to visit your home.
  • The best bet is to make sure that an adult is going with them. If you can’t take them, see if another parent or a teen-aged sibling can go along.
  • Be suspicious of older children who come to your home more than once because they may be “casing” it for a burglary.
  • Attend safe Halloween parties at homes, schools, churches, or community centers. Report all criminal activities such as criminal mischief, rowdy groups of kids, speeding cars, etc.
  • Explain to children the difference between tricks and vandalism. Throwing eggs at a house may seem like fun but they need to know the other side of the coin as well, clean up and damages can ruin Halloween. If they are caught vandalizing, make them clean up the mess they’ve made.
  • Explain to your kids that animal cruelty is not acceptable. Kids may know this on their own but peer pressure can be a bad thing. Make sure that they know that harming animals is not only morally wrong but punishable by law and will not be tolerated.

Homeowners

  • Make sure your yard is clear of such things as ladders, hoses, dog leashes, and flower pots that can trip the young ones.
  • Battery-powered jack o’lantern candles are preferable to a real flame.
  • If you do use candles, place the pumpkin well away from where trick-or-treaters will be walking or standing.
  • Make sure paper or cloth yard decorations won’t be blown into a flaming candle.
  • Healthy food alternatives for trick-or-treaters include packages of low-fat crackers with cheese or peanut butter filling, single-serve boxes of cereal, packaged fruit rolls, mini boxes of raisins, and single-serve packets of low-fat microwave popcorn.
  • Non-food treats: plastic rings, pencils, stickers, erasers, coins.

Be a good goblin! Don’t damage other people’s property.

Holiday Safety Tips

How to Ensure a Crime-Free Holiday While Shopping

As everyone knows the busiest shopping season is right after Thanksgiving. It is the time of year stores run some fantastic sales and give the consumer some great deals. But it is also the time of year that the Scrooge’s are out to find some great and fantastic deals at your expense. Thefts, Burglary of Motor Vehicles and Auto Thefts go up due to people getting caught up in the season and lowering their guard. People tend to leave valuables in their vehicles and forget to lock their cars and both of these give a thief an open invitation to
deprive you of your hard-earned property.

Holiday Shopping at the Stores

  • Enjoy the decorations and merchandise, but stay alert.
  • Always be aware of what is going on around you.
  • Don’t leave packages visible through car windows; lock them in the trunk or if possible take them directly home.
  • Never walk alone, walk with someone or have someone from the store or a security guard walk you out to your vehicle.
  • When carrying your purchases, don’t overburden yourself so that you would not be able to react quickly and easily if you need to.
  • Take only what you need in your purse or wallet, and keep a tight hold on it. Carry your purse closed and snugly against your body; carry your wallet in a front pocket or coat pocket. If possible use a fanny pack to carry what you need, this keeps you hands-free and you can conceal the fanny pack under a jacket out of sight.
  • File receipts in your wallet immediately; identity thieves can get important personal information from them.
  • Park and walk in well-lighted areas.
  • Lock your car after entering or exiting your vehicle, visually look inside and around the vehicle before getting in to make sure no one is inside or around your vehicle.
  • Teach your children to go to security or store employees if they get separated from you and be sure they know your name not just mom or dad so they can tell the security or store employee your name to call you by on the intercom system.

When Shopping Online

  • Beware of “bargains” from companies you are unfamiliar with — if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Shop with companies you know; make sure the site uses a secure connection for purchases.
  • Keep your personal information private and your password secure. Do not respond to requests to “verify” your password or credit card information unless you ask for it—credible retailers should already have that information!

If you have questions about other Holiday Safety Tips contact Officer Doug Sisk, Duncanville Police Department Community Relations / Crime Prevention Officer (972) 780-5027 dsisk@duncanvillepd.com.

New Year's Eve & New Year's Day Celebrations

New Year’s Day is a time to reflect upon the past and rejoice in the beginning of a whole New Year. It’s a perfect holiday to celebrate right after Christmas and to look forward to new memories.

New Year’s Resolution, it’s wise to leave old ghosts in the past and make a New
Year’s resolution to improve upon the things that will make your life better. Of
course the most popular resolutions are to lose weight or quit smoking. Whether you’re successful at this or not depends on your own determination. One resolution you can make and follow through with all year long and the rest of your life is Crime Prevention practices.

Ah, the feeling of waking up on New Year’s Day with a whole new future ahead of you. Hopes and dreams anew, this is a special time to spend with family and friends. Learning basic Crime Prevention practices will make yourself and your family safer all year long. Make a resolution to attend the Duncanville Police Department’s Citizen Police Academy Class.

New Year’s Eve Parties whether you plan a huge holiday party, or a quiet evening at home, you’ll probably follow some family holiday customs. Parties are probably the most popular way people bring in a happy New Year.

Traditionally, New York Times Square has a huge annual New Year’s celebration. The first celebration there took place in 1904 and the notorious “dropping of the ball” became a tradition shortly after that, in 1909. The famous ball begins dropping at 11:59 pm and has completed the descent at 12:00 midnight, the New Year. Bells ring, confetti, and streamers fly, as everyone happily rings in the New Year. You can distinctly hear “Auld Lang Syne” over the cheering and applause. This event is always televised, so if you’re a little more laid back, watching it on TV might be just the thing for you. Or, do what many other people do, watch movies or football with a bowl of popcorn and have a toast at midnight. Don’t forget to kiss that special person
in your life. If you plan on going to a movie or play, get your tickets well in advance and get there early.

Toast the New Year, Provide Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Be Responsible

Don’t forget a toast to the New Year with carbonated drinks, apple cider, grape juice, or the beverage of your choice. Wish health and happiness to those around you and look forward to a fresh start. Have traditional drinks such as coffee, hot chocolate, eggnog, and cappuccino or punch available for those who don’t drink alcohol. Don’t let any guests drink and drive. Quit serving drinks an hour before the party ends and have a designated driver or taxicab company phone number handy for those who overindulge.

Most of all Enjoy, be happy, be safe, and come join the Duncanville Police
Department for a Great New Year with our Citizens Police Academy Class. For more information contact Officer Doug Sisk at 972.780.5027 or
dsisk@duncanvillepd.com.

Have a Happy New Year
from the Duncanville Police Department

Robbery Prevention Tips for Businesses

Make Your Business Safer

Every business owner, manager, and employee plays a part in making businesses safe.

Here are some things you can do to help prevent robbery:

  • Have at least two employees open and close the business.
  • Do not release personal information to strangers.
  • Keep purses and personal valuables locked in desks or lockers.
  • Install a robbery alarm.
  • Place a surveillance camera behind the cash register facing the front counter. Replace videotapes regularly.
  • Vary times and routes of travel for bank deposits.
  • Don’t use marked “moneybags” that make it obvious to would-be robbers you are carrying money for a deposit.
  • Keep a low balance in the cash register.
  • Place excess money in a safe or deposit it as soon as possible.
  • Cooperate with the robber for your own safety and the safety of others. Comply with a robber’s demands. Remain calm and think clearly. Make mental notes of the robber’s physical description and other observations important to law enforcement officers.
  • If you have a silent alarm and can reach it without being noticed, use it.
    Otherwise, wait until the robber leaves.
  • Be careful, most robbers are just as nervous as you are.
  • Keep your business neat and clean. A tidy, orderly place of business is inviting to customers, but not to robbers. Dressing neatly also sends the right message.
  • Stay alert! Know who is in your business and where they are. Watch for people who hang around without buying anything. Also, be aware of suspicious activity outside your place of business. Write down license numbers of suspicious vehicles if visible from the inside of your business.
  • Make sure the sales counter can be seen clearly. Don’t put up advertisements, flyers, displays, signs, posters, or other items on windows or doors that might obstruct the view of the register from inside or outside your business. The police cruising by your store needs to see in.
  • Try to greet customers as they enter your business. Look them in the eye, and ask them if they need help. Your attention can discourage a robber.
  • Keep your business well-lit, inside and outside. Employees should report any burned-out lights to the business owner or manager. Keep trees and bushes trimmed, so they don’t block any outdoor lights.
  • Encourage the police to stop by your business.
  • Learn the names of the officers who patrol your business.
  • Use care after dark. Be cautious when cleaning the parking lot or taking out the trash at night. Make sure another employee inside the business keeps you within eye contact while you are involved in work details outside of your building.
  • If you see something suspicious, call the police. Never try to handle it yourself. It could cost you your life.
  • Handle cash carefully. Avoid making your business a tempting target for robbers. Keep the amount of cash in registers low. Drop all large bills right away. If a customer tries to pay with a large bill, politely ask if he or she has a smaller one. Explain that you keep very little cash on hand.
  • Use only one register at night. Leave other registers empty and open. Tilt the register drawer to show there is no money in it.
  • Leave blinds and drapes partially open during closing hours.
  • Make sure important signs stay posted. For example, the front door should bear signs that say, “Clerk Cannot Open the Time Lock Safe.”
  • If your business is robbed put your safety first. Your personal safety is more important than money or merchandise.
  • Don’t talk except to answer the robber’s questions.
  • Don’t stare directly at the robber.
  • Prevent surprises; keep your hands in sight at all times.
  • Don’t make any sudden moves.
  • Tell the robber if someone is coming out of the backroom or vault or working in another area of your business.
  • Don’t chase or follow the robber out of your place of business.
  • Leave the job of catching the robber to the police

Senior Safety Tips

DON’T BE A VICTIM THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!

The holiday season is a time of celebration. It can also be a time when busy people become careless and susceptible to theft and other holiday crimes. Fraud and violence against senior citizens is particularly concerning. The following tips can help reduce your risk of being a victim this holiday season.

Be Alert When Out and About:

  • Go with friends or family, not alone.
  • Carry your purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
  • Don’t carry credit cards you don’t need or large amount of cash.
  • If someone or something makes you uneasy, trust your instincts and leave.
  • Whether you’re a passenger or driver, keep doors locked.
  • Have your car or house keys in hand as you approach your vehicle or home.

Watch Out For Con Artists:

  • Don’t fall for anything that sounds too good to be true – a free vacation, sweepstakes prizes, cures for cancer or arthritis, cheap home repairs, or low-risk/high yield investment schemes.
  • Never give your credit card, Social Security, or bank account number to anyone over the phone. Remember – it’s illegal for telemarketers to ask for these numbers to verify a prize or gift.
  • Don’t let anyone rush you into signing anything – an insurance policy, a sales agreement, or a contract. Read it carefully and have someone you trust check it over.
  • Use direct deposit for Social Security and other regular checks.

Holiday Shopping Tips:

  • Don’t display large amounts of cash in stores or other public places.
  • Never put your purse or wallet on a counter or in a shopping cart while you examine merchandise in a store.
  • Park in well-lighted and busy areas, preferably near an entrance.
  • Don’t overburden yourself with packages that obstruct your view and make it hard to react.
  • Store all items in the trunk and lock your vehicle.
  • Make sure someone knows where you are going and when you expect to return.

Safety at Home:

  • Be mindful of potential scams designed to take advantage of people’s generosity during the holidays.
  • Keep doors and windows locked at all times.
  • Place lights, radio, and television on timers so that your home appears occupied.
  • Avoid having displays of gifts visible from windows and doors.
  • When you leave your home for extended holiday travel, have a neighbor or friend watch your home while you’re away. Have them collect your mail and newspapers while you’re gone. Also, complete a Vacation Check Form for the Police and Citizens on Patrol to make checks by your home.

FACT: Seniors are more vulnerable to certain crimes – purse snatchings, assaults, and frauds.

HOW TO ACT: You can reduce opportunities for criminals to strike by being careful, alert, and a good neighbor.

FIND MORE TIPS HERE

For more Senior Citizen or Holiday Safety Tips contact Officer Doug Sisk at (972) 780-5027 or dsisk@duncanvillepd.com.

More Holiday Safety Tips

The holiday season is often a joyous time of giving, sharing, and spending time with family and friends. Unfortunately, this time of year is also shared with a particularly high crime rate. Hopefully, the following safety tips will allow you to have a safe and happy holiday season.

At Home:

Never let strangers inside your residence.

Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when leaving home, even for a few minutes.

Keep your garage door closed to prevent thefts

Keep your outside lights on at night Criminals like to lurk in the shadows.
Do not display holiday gifts where they may be seen from a window or doorway.

Store gifts away before you go on a holiday trip.

Test smoke detectors.

If you are going to be out of town over the holiday’s purchase timers for your lights so they will cycle on and off while you are gone.

Use only fire-resistant ornaments on your holiday tree and make sure electric lights are in good working order.

Do not leave Christmas lights on overnight or when you are away from home.
After the holidays make sure you record new gifts and purchased serial numbers.

While shopping:

Shop before dark whenever possible.

Try to coordinate shopping trips with a friend.

Never park in an unlit parking lot or area, no matter how convenient it is.
Lock packages in your vehicle’s trunk. Keep the doors locked and windows closed.

Have your keys in hand before returning to the vehicle.

As you approach the car, check to see if you see anyone hiding underneath or inside.

Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. When possible, pay for purchases with a
check, credit card, or debit card. Do not count cash in open areas, especially after leaving an ATM.

Use waist-pack (fanny sacks) to carry items instead of a purse.

Do not overload yourself, keep your hands free as much as possible.

Teach your children to go to a store clerk or security guard and ask for help if you become separated. Children should never go into a parking lot alone.

The holiday season is also a time of year when people come together and enjoy each other’s company. If hosting a holiday party, have non-alcoholic beverages available for your guests. Also have alternative transportation for intoxicated persons. Do not let your guests drink and drive.

By following these few basic tips, you can ensure yourself a safe and happy holiday season.

For more information about Crime Prevention Programs and Holiday Tips contact Officer Doug Sisk with the Duncanville Police Community Relations / Crime Prevention Division dsisk@duncanvillepd.com or (972)-780-5027.

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