Crime Prevention Tips

The following information may prevent you or a loved one from being victim of a crime. Please review the following tips and share them with family and friends.

Statistically, as people grow older, their chances of being victims of crime decrease dramatically. But a lifetime of experience, coupled with the physical problems associated with aging, often make older Americans fearful. Though they're on the look-out constantly for physical attack and burglary, they're not as alert to frauds and con games—in reality, the greatest crime threat to seniors' well-being and trust.

Want to conquer fear and prevent crime? Take these common-sense precautions. 

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 amounts of cash. 
  • Use direct deposit for Social Security and other regular checks. 
  • Whether you're a passenger or driver, keep car doors locked. Be particularly alert in parking lots and garages. Park near an entrance. 
  • Sit close to the driver or near the exit while riding the bus, train or subway. 
  • If someone or something makes you uneasy, trust your instincts and leave. 

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 and arthritis, a low risk high- yield investment scheme. 
  • Never give your credit card, phone card, Social Security, or bank account number to anyone over the phone. 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, a contract. Read it carefully and have someone you trust check it over. 
  • Beware of individuals claiming to represent companies, consumer organizations, or government agencies that offer to recover lost money from fraudulent telemarketers for a fee.
  • If you're suspicious, check it out with the police, the Better Business Bureau, or your local consumer protection office. 

Auto Burglary Prevention Tips

The most prevalent crime in the City of Richland is auto burglary or thefts from vehicles. 
This is mainly a crime of opportunity when criminals see desirable items left on the seats or floors of cars. Much of the time, purses, laptops, or briefcases are left on the seats or floors of cars when the driver leaves for just a few minutes. Occasionally, the victim will be away from the vehicle for extended periods of time. A would-be thief sees the property, simply breaks the window with any hard object, reaches in to remove the property and is often gone within a few seconds, usually unseen. Because of the nature of the crime, the thief does not leave behind any evidence such as fingerprints because he/she never touches the car except to break the window. In some cases, the thief will gain entry to the vehicle in the same manner and open the trunk using an interior trunk latch release. Citizens are reminded not to leave articles in plain view in their vehicles if at all possible. Do not leave valuables in vehicles for extended periods of time. 

Carjacking 

Carjacking is the theft of a vehicle by force or threat of force, and often with the use of a weapon. 

Carjackers look for the right opportunity. Generally, they look for drivers slowing down, stopping, or getting in or out of their vehicle. That is why carjacking often occurs in parking lots and garages, at stop lights and signs, and by the side of the road. Beware of Bump-and-Rob tactics.

Why Would Anyone Want to Steal My Vehicle? 

  • To joy ride or to use it in another crime. 
  • To dismantle it for parts. 
  • To change numbers and resell it. 
  • To ship it out of the country for a very lucrative profit. 

Carjackers already have the desire and ability to take your vehicle, all they need is an opportunity!

Generally, thieves prefer to commit their crimes without noise, delay, or being seen. Carjackers are determined to take the car without regard for the occupants. 

Prevention Tips When Approaching Your Vehicle 

  • Do not dawdle; move quickly and confidently with your keys in your hand. 
  • Be aware of the surrounding area, including any occupied cars, and check to make sure no one is hiding in or under your car. 
  • Immediately lock the doors, when you get into your vehicle. 

Driving In Your Vehicle 

  • Drive on well-traveled, well-lit roads when you can. 
  • Keep the doors locked. 
  • Check your mirrors often. 
  • Leave an escape route when you stop at intersections. 
  • Use the center lane. This makes it harder to be approached. 
  • Stay alert at all times. 
  • Be alert when approaching automated teller machines. 
  • If you are approached, do not lower your window or open the door. 
  • Be alert for anyone who seems to be watching your car. 
  • If you suspect you are being followed, do not go home. Go to a police station or other safe public place. 
  • Keep your vehicle in good operating condition to avoid breakdowns. 
  • Have your vehicle windows etched with the Vehicle Identification Number. 
  • If you feel threatened, use your car horn or alarm system to signal for help. 

Parking Your Vehicle

  • Park as close to your destination as possible to reduce the distance you have to walk. 
  • Look for parking spaces in well-lighted areas. 
  • Avoid parking near dumpsters, large vans, or trucks that obscure view where carjackers may hide. 
  • Roll up your windows before parking. 
  • Keep valuables out-of-sight. 

Departing Your Vehicle 

  • Check the surrounding area before exiting. 
  • Remove the keys and take them with you. 
  • Lock the vehicle as soon as you exit it. 
  • Move quickly away from your vehicle. 
     

Important Warning

If you encounter a carjacker, surrender the car without a fight. This is a serious and dangerous situation—you can replace the car, not your life!

Carjacking is a Serious Crime 

Residential Burglary Prevention

The Richland Police Department will occasionally receive reports of burglaries to residences or business. Many times, the burglar will gain entry to the structure through an open or unlocked window. Citizens are reminded to secure their homes or business when no one will be present. Placing lighting and especially motion-activated lights in areas where windows and doors are located is also an effective deterrent. On our website, a burglary prevention checklist for homes is available. It is recommended that you download this form and keep it updated on at least an annual basis. Call the police department on 911 when you notice any suspicious activity or anyone in your neighborhood who does not seem to belong and is acting suspiciously. Try to provide the most complete and accurate description as possible of the individual and their car, 
including the license plate if you are able. 

Preventing an Armed Robbery

Wouldn't you agree that a robbery is a dangerous situation for everyone involved? 

Robberies are over in less than two minutes. What you do in those two minutes of time could make the longest two minutes of your life, or the last two minutes of your life. 

Your number one priority in any crime is your personal safety! 

Remember: If the robber demands cash or property, give it up! It's not worth injury or 
death. No one likes to think about becoming a victim of a crime. However, the time to 
think about a robbery is before it happens. Crimes against business are usually crimes of 
opportunity. If you make it easy for someone to target your business for a robbery, 
chances are someone will. So don't make it easy. Make it risky and unrewarding. 

How to Make Robbery Unrewarding 

Develop a plan for what to do before, during and after a robbery, and regularly check to 
see that policy and procedures are communicated and followed. 

What to Do Before 

  • Lighting 

Install good lighting both inside as well as outside of your business. 

  • Clean 

Keep your business clean and free of clutter. 

  • Escape Routes 

Locate and eliminate any potential escape routes or hiding places for a robber. 

  • Visibility 

Never restrict the view either into or out of your business with signs or displays on the windows or door. Always maintain maximum visibility. 

  • Training 

The best defense against the crime of armed robbery is to make your business and employees more security conscious. Make sure you and your employees know your responsibility before, during and after an armed robbery. 

  • Check 

Keep alert at all times, checking for loiterers or people watching your business. 

Greet and make eye contact with everyone who enters your business. 

  • Cash Control

Keep a minimal amount of cash on hand. Less than $50.00 is ideal, and use of a drop safe is advisable. Make frequent cash pickups and never count cash at the counter area. 

  • Register 

Cash registers should be centrally located within the business and easily seen by customers as well as passers-by. 

  • Bank Runs 

Bank Runs should be made at alternate times and routes. Try to use a variety of containers to carry the cash in and whenever possible try to use a different courier to make the bank runs. 

Also: Go directly to the bank!

  • Two People 

Establish a policy of using two people to open and close your business; use a set of pre-arranged signals for "ALL CLEAR." 

  • Mark & Post 

Mark doorways with proper height markings, post your minimum cash policy and the penalty for ARMED ROBBERY. 

What to Do During 

  • Stay Calm 

Keep calm: Let the robber know that you intend to cooperate. 

Don't make any sudden moves. 

Warn the robber of any surprises such as an employee in the back, delivery people, or a customer about to enter the business. 

  • Do What You're Told 

Don't argue: Obey all of the robber's orders. Keep all communication with the robber short and simple. 

  • Give It Up 

Turn the money over to the robber. Try to treat this as if it was just another 
business transaction. 

  • Don't Try

Remember whether a robber produces a weapon or not, you must assume that the robber is armed and that the robber has the advantage and controls the scene. More importantly he/she will not hesitate to use it. Do not fight the robber or use a weapon—violence will only increase everyone's personal risk.

  • Alarm 

The time to push the ALARM is AFTER the robber has left your business. 

What to Do After

  • Don't Follow 

Do not follow or try to chase the robber. Instead, push the hold-up alarm! 

  • Observe

Observe as much as you can about the robber's physical features and mannerism, type of weapon used, the route and means of escape, the type of vehicle (i.e. make, model, and color) so you can accurately describe them to the police. 

  • Report It

Immediately report it to the police. DO NOT hang up the phone until the police arrive. 

  • Lock Up and Protect 

Lock the door and protect the crime scene. Separate all employees and customers, 
do not let them discuss the robbery until the police arrive. Have them write down 
what they observed. 

  • Cooperate 

Cooperate fully with authorities. Do not disclose to anyone other than the police 
the amount taken in the crime. 

Bicycle Registration Program 

Register your bike with the Richland City Police Department. You may contact the 
Juvenile Office in the Criminal Investigation Division of the Richland Police Department 
for a bike registration form or more information. 

The City of Richland holds at least one bike registry drive per year. The dates are 
published in the Richland Connection.

"Do's and Don'ts" of Bicycle Theft Prevention 

Do:

  • Mark your bike with an identification number. Engrave this on the frame of the bike (example: MD A-123-456-789-123)
  • Store your bike in the house
  • Insure your bike against theft. Check to see if your homeowers or renters insurance automatically covers it, or it had to be specifically listed.
  • Record the Make/Model/Serial Number of your bike. Find the serial number of your bike near the rear wheel or beneath the bottom bracket where the pedals attach. Write it down and put it in a safe place. Take a color photograph of your bike to give to the police if your bike is stolen. Keep it with your bicycle receipt.

Do Not:

  • Leave your bike lying in the yard.
  • Leave your bike in the garage with the garage door open.
  • Walk away from your bike, thinking you will only be gone a few seconds.
  • Hide your bike behind bushes and think that is safe.
  • Let strangers ride your bike. (They may not bring it back!)

Lock it up!

  • Every time you leave your bike unattended, lock it up! Use a theft-proof chain, cable, or bar lock to attach it to a sturdy, fixed object. 
  • Lock your bike in a well-lighted area where it can seen from inside a building. 
  • Remember to lock up your bike at home. 
     

Safety Tip 

If a stranger tries to take your bicycle from you, do not fight them. Let them have the bike. Try to remember what the person(s) looked like and which way they went with it. Then, report it to the Police.