How To Avoid Becoming A Victim Of Crime

By AM Northwest Staff

 

Officer Mark Jantz of the Crime Prevention Unit of the Salem Police Department gave these tips for avoiding becoming a victim of crime.

1) Leave a light on so that you don't have to arrive to a dark home.This should include an exterior porch light, but can be a light inside a doorway, for example. Folks may argue about energy costs, but to keep a 40 watt light bulb on from dusk until dawn -- only $1.38 per month. And if you use an equivalent 11 watt compact fluorescent bulb -- only 38¢. Criminals count on darkness to hid their activity and the officers can elaborate on that.

2) Engrave valuable, such as computers, televisions -- all the great Christmas presents you just received -- with your driver license number. You have a greater chance of having your valuable returned if you mark them with identification and have proof of their serial numbers.

3) Never start your car, walk away and leave it running to "warm up." Don't make it that easy for your car to get stolen. Auto theft is up. In 2006 in Salem, 200 vehicles were stolen for just this reason. When you factor in the cost of a car, insurance, fuel, maintenance -- the loss of a stolen vehicle can be tremendous.

4) Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). This is a term used to describe the ways you can make your home less susceptible to crime through landscaping and interior design. Homes with doors and windows obstructed by shrubbery are a good place to hide and sneak up on someone and neighbors can't help watch out for your home.

5) Join or continue to participate in Neighborhood Watch. Neighborhood Watch is great way to bring neighbors together with the common goal of preventing crime right where it counts -- on their very own block. Neighbors receive instruction on what they can do to make themselves and their homes safer. If 2006 statistics hold true, in Salem 97% of residential burglaries occur in homes that do NOT participate. Why? Because neighbors all receive the information and are all enacting the necessary tips and tools to keep their block free of crime.

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