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Summer Safety

1. Beware of Deception Burglars
They usually work in teams. They'll pose as a legitimate worker (meter reader, cable guy, tree trimmer, inspector, etc) and come up with a ruse to get in your home. Maybe they'll ask for a drink of water or a piece of paper to leave your neighbor a note, or use the restroom or use the phone. Once inside, one of them steals money or drugs from the medicine cabinet. Never let a stranger in your home, no matter what the story. Ask to see a person's I-D if they claim to be worker, then, call the company and confirm they should be in your home. If the answer is yes, reschedule when you are not alone.

2. Lock up when you spruce up
It's very common for burglars to sneak into your house and steal money or checks while you're in your yard, mowing, planting flowers, etc. Keep your front and back doors locked and your garage door down while you're working in the yard. Keep a key or a garage door opener with you for access.

3. Shed Safety
Sheds are often not kept as secure as a home, yet, you likely have expensive tools and lawn equipment inside. Keep the shed locked with a closed shackle padlock. Cover any shed windows so thieves can't look inside.

4. Hidden keys are stolen keys
With kids playing outdoors and running to the homes of friends, it's convenient to leave a key hidden somewhere outside your door. There is no place you can think of, a burglar can't find. They know what the fake rocks and frogs, etc look like and your house will be easy for them to access. Better for kids to wear a key around their neck on a chain or keep it their sock. They shouldn't keep it in a pouch on their bike.

5. Nosy Neighbors are great crime prevention tools
Get to know your neighbors, so you can learn which ones are trustworthy. Make sure they know you are not moving, so if they see someone loading your TV, they can call police. Give them you cell phone number, so they can contact you if they see an unfamiliar car in your driveway. Call neighbors when you notice they've left their garage door open, either during the day or at night.

6. Cool summer nights
No matter how tempting it is to sleep with your windows open in spring or summer, don't do it. Criminals can make quick use of those for easy access. Don't just keep windows closed, check nightly to make sure they are locked. Don't forget about basement windows, they can be easy to leave unsecured when you are running in and out, doing chores.

7. Lock them or lose them
You should engrave or use an U-V pen to put a code word on your bike or scooter, so it can be identified if taken and recovered. Use your drivers license number or last name or a unique password. Don't use your social security number or date or birth or full name. Always lock them, in public, frame and wheels and remove valuables from pouches. If it's in your garage, lock it to a bulky piece of equipment like a lawnmower to make it more difficult to remove.

8. Motion, motion
Add motion detectors outside your house, so you are easily alerted if someone is prowling around after dark. Check outside lights to make sure no one has unscrewed or removed light bulbs from front and back porch lights. Keep shrubs trimmed neatly so burglars don't have places to hide and plant thorny bushes under first floor windows.

9. Exit strategy
Take time to look at the lay-out of your home and come up with an exit plan. If someone breaks in your front door, could you go out the back? If not, what is your plan, do you have available weapons close at hand (baseball bat, golf club, heavy candle stick). Have one room in your house that locks and a cordless phone in case all you can do is hide, call 911 and wait.

10. Park and Play Smart
If you go to water parks, theme parks, ballgames, playgrounds, etc., don't tuck your purse under the seat while you're gone. Thieves can easily break a window and take it. Don't leave your purse in the trunk if your car has a trunk opening button or lever inside the vehicle. They will break a window, flip the switch to pop open the trunk and take your purse. Leave the purse hidden at home and take only the cash and I-D you need for the day. Don't leave any valuables visible in your car... CD's, MP-3 players, golf clubs, tools, cell phones, etc.

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