The last day of school is almost here, and families are excited about summer vacation plans. Warmer weather and added daylight means more time outdoors enjoying leisure activities. Sometimes we become lax and leave windows and doors unlocked. Traditionally, property crime rates go down during the summer months while violent crime rates rise. University Park Police know that crime can occur any place and at any time of the year. We recommend the following basic safety tips.
- Use the peephole before opening your door. Always demand identification from strangers (even repair or salespersons).
- Purchase a video doorbell to monitor the front door whether you are home or away. You may be eligible to receive a rebate of $100 on your purchase.
- Install an alarm system. An alarm system is a strong deterrent and may also be eligible for a security rebate of $100.
- Request a Home Security Survey. A University Park Police officer will come to your residence and provide recommendations for improvements.
- Close and lock all doors and windows when you leave home.
- Don’t hide house keys outdoors; leave them with a trusted neighbor.
- Always use interior and exterior lighting. This will make locating you easier should the police be called to your residence.
- Remove all valuable property from your vehicle and always lock the doors.
- Plan your route ahead of time. Never walk alone at night. Walk with a friend or your dog.
- Carry signaling devices like shriek alarms or a whistle.
- Carry defensive devices such as pepper spray.
- Be alert to what’s around you and look behind you occasionally.
- Don’t carry large sums of money or wear valuable jewelry.
- Don’t resist an armed robber. Hand over whatever is demanded quickly and quietly. Remember, your safety is worth more than any property.
- Walk with purpose.
- Do not walk in the park after dark.
- Always look inside your vehicle before getting in.
- Lock all doors immediately after getting in the vehicle.
- Never refuel your vehicle at night.
- Honk your horn if you need to attract attention.
- Park in well-lit areas at night.
- Drive in the center lane to make it hard for would-be carjackers to approach the car.
- Be especially alert when stopped at intersections, gas stations, ATMs and convenience stores.
- Avoid driving alone, especially at night.
- Keep your cellphone charged and, in your pocket, so you can call 911 if your vehicle is stolen.
- Do not stop for strangers even if their car has broken down. It might be a ruse to carjack your vehicle. Call for assistance and report the stranded motorist.
Remember three factors must be present for a crime to occur: desire, ability and opportunity. You can have a significant impact on the last one—opportunity—and reduce crime by adhering to these simple crime prevention tips.
Chief Harvey R. Baker