Crime Prevention Tips
Interested in learning about crime prevention tips for your home or business, when you're out shopping, or when you're contacted by a scammer? Check out these resources.
Each year in the U.S., there are more than five million home burglaries. Nine out of ten of these crimes are preventable. The risk of being burglarized can be greatly reduced by taking simple steps to make your home more difficult to enter and less enticing to would-be burglars. Remember the greatest weapons in the fight to prevent burglaries are light, time and noise.
- Make sure exterior lights are mounted out of reach so that burglars can't easily unscrew bulbs.
- Consider buying motion-sensitive lights, available at relatively low prices.
- Use a variable light timer to activate lights inside your home.
- Trim trees and shrubs near doors and windows so burglars can't hide in the shadows.
Make it time-consuming for a burglar to break into your home by...
- Installing deadbolt locks on all exterior doors.
- Installing double key locks in doors which contain glass. This will keep a burglar from being able to open the door simply by breaking the glass and reaching inside. (Note: Keep the key in a designated place in case of fire.)
- Placing additional locks on all windows and patio doors.
- Get a dog. You don't need a large attack dog, even a small dog creates a disturbance that burglars would prefer to avoid. Remember to License and Vaccinate your dog.
- Consider having someone care for your dogs in your home while you're away instead of boarding them.
- If you can afford it, install an alarm system that will alert neighbors of a burglar's presence. Most systems can summon police. Don't forget to check the alarm code.
Other tips to prevent break-ins:
- Think like a burglar. "Case" your home and look for easy ways to enter.
- Be sure valuables such as guns, electronic devices and artwork are not visible from the street.
- Be sure to lock up ladders and tools which could be used to break into your home.
- Work together with your neighbors. Organize a Neighborhood Watch and let trusted neighbors know when you will be away for an extended period.
- While on vacation, have someone pick up your newspapers and mail. Don't let them accumulate and alert burglars of your absence. Better yet, have your mail and newspapers service suspended until you return.
- Display your house number conspicuously and have it well illuminated. This will help police and emergency personnel find your home quickly.
Just in case...
Sometimes all your efforts won't stop a determined burglar. It is wise to take some precautions that will help you get your property back should a criminal successfully break into your home.
- Make a list of your belongings (be sure to keep receipts, especially for expensive items like stereos and computers). Be sure to update this list periodically. Visit our Operation Inventory page for a log and help with this.
- Keep your inventory list and receipts in a safe deposit box or with a friend. (This is also important in the event of a house fire.)
- Photographing or videotaping your possessions is a convenient way to keep a record of what you own.
- Engrave your valuables with an identification or mark to deter burglary and to prove ownership should the article be stolen and recovered by the police.
- Be sure you have the right coverage. You may need to purchase additional insurance to protect special items like expensive jewelry or rare antiques.
- If you don't own your home, consider buying a renter's policy. Your landlord will generally not be responsible for your possessions. Rental coverage is available at competitive rates and these policies also offer important protection against liability and losses due to fire or storm damage.
Security is an important part of business management. It's just as important as inventory control, advertising, pricing, and location. Good security practices can save money and time and make your business less of a target for the criminal.
Make your business uninviting to a burglar by using lighting inside and outside. Lighting should cover areas like entrances, windows, and alleys. Inside the business it is important to use lighting to reduce hiding places for thieves.
Make it difficult for burglars to get inside your business. Use heavy, solid doors, and use your locks and alarm systems properly. Made sure that skylights, vents, loading docks, sidewalk grilles, or other openings can be secured.
- Do not keep large amounts of cash on the premises.
- Make bank deposits at varying times of the day.
- Alarm systems can be very helpful as deterrents and in helping to catch burglars as long as they are properly installed, used correctly by employees, and maintained.
- Report suspicious activity and persons to the Police.
Free crime prevention assistance for city businesses is available from the Fridley Police Department. A specially developed program provides suggested crime prevention techniques you may implement to reduce your chances of becoming a burglary, larceny, robbery, rape or fraud victim. A crime prevention specialist can conduct a security survey of your business, and make crime prevention presentations to your employees as well as business and professional groups. For crime prevention assistance, visit the Police Department in the lower level of City Hall, 6431 University Avenue NE, or contact Fridley Police Crime Prevention.
Free informational brochures are available on topics including bad checks, theft, burglary, suspicious activity, shoplifting, fraud, and robbery.
Thefts increase during the holidays!
As you head out for shopping deals, make your online purchases and plan your travel, these important safety reminders will help detour thieves from targeting you.
- Require a signature on all package deliveries.
- Have packages delivered to an area out of eyesight from the street like a side or back door.
- Have your packages delivered to your place of work.
- Set up an alert for delivery so you know when your package arrives and bring it inside as soon as possible.
- Have packages held at the post office or stores for pick-up.
While out Shopping
- Do not post on social media that you are out. Thieves use social media to find out when people won't be home.
- If possible, do not carry a purse. Purses are easily snatched when you are distracted while shopping or at lunch. Take necessary money/credit cards and a Drivers License and place them in your front pants pocket.
- Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car. If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk.
- Thieves watch to see if you put packages in your car and go back into the mall or store. If you have to drop off a load of gifts at your car, move your vehicle to a new parking spot.
Once the Presents are Home
- Do not leave presents or packages visible from the front door or windows. This creates a temptation for thieves.
- Break-down all boxes before putting them out with your recycling. Large boxes at the curb advertise what new items are inside your house.
- Update your Operation Inventory Log Sheet. In the unfortunate event your presents are stolen, you can provide law enforcement information about the items taken.
Scam Alerts: What to Know and What to Do
Imposter scams come in many varieties and continue to make their way around the county including right here in Fridley. The basics: a scammer pretends to be someone you trust to convince you to send them money.
Some of the more popular types of imposter scams include:
- IRS Imposter Scams
- Grandkid Scams
- Tech Support Scams
- Online Dating Scams
These quick minute videos from the Federal Trade Commission can help you learn how to spot an imposter.
What If You Are Contacted By A Scammer?
- Don't give out personal or financial information.
- Write down details (name and number of caller, caller ID display, time/date)
- Hang up.
- Report the call to Federal Trade Commission at 877-FTC-HELP; and to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 800-366-4484.
- Tell EVERYONE! Warn family, friends and neighbors that these calls are scams!
Learn more about these and other scams:
Fridley Police Implements Operation Inventory
Due to a slight increase in residential burglaries, the Fridley Police Department has implemented a new program called Operation Inventory. Operation Inventory promotes documenting information about all of your belongings in an effort to aid law enforcement in the recovery of your property should it ever be stolen or lost.
Stolen property can be entered in a national data base IF police know the Make, Model and Serial number information of the item. Stolen property information that is entered into the national data base has greater success of being located and returned to victims. Therefore, Fridley is excited to begin implementing Operation Inventory.
What is Operation Inventory?
Operation Inventory is a property recovery program. It promotes recording information about your belongings to aid law enforcement in recovery should it ever be stolen. There are three options involved:
- Record the description and serial numbers of all valuables.
- If no serial number exists, engrave an identification number or name.
- Photograph items of value which have no serial number and cannot easily be engraved.
What Can You Do?
Your part is easy and simple! All you have to do is record descriptions of your property on the Operation Inventory Log Sheet and keep it in a safe place. If your property is stolen, you will be able to provide law enforcement with information about the items taken. For any items that do not have serial numbers, such as jewelry, take photographs and store them with the inventory log sheet.
What Does Law Enforcement Do?
Information about stolen property is entered into a national computer database known as the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). NCIC is a computerized index of criminal justice information (i.e. - criminal record history information, fugitives, stolen properties, missing persons). It is available to Federal, State, and Local law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies and is operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. To enter property into NCIC several pieces of information are required, including the make, model and serial number. If no serial number is available, the missing property cannot be entered into the NCIC database. When missing property items are located, they can be queried for stolen with items listed in the NCIC database.
Another valuable avenue of recovery are pawn shops. The Minnesota Pawn Broking Act compels pawnbrokers to provide law enforcement information about items pawned including serial numbers. Pawnshops are also required to obtain government-issued photographic identification of individuals who pawn property and provide that information to law enforcement along with the items pawned.
Property items that are reported pawned to law enforcement by the pawnbrokers are routinely checked against items reported stolen in the NCIC database. Operation Inventory Brochure
Operation Inventory form - print this to make a record of your property