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Safety at Home

Don't pretend you're not home if someone knocks
Many of us don't like to answer the door when we're home during the day, so we pretend like we're not there. Burglars most often look for an empty house to break into. They often determine if a house is empty by knocking on the front door. If no one answers, they kick it in. You don't want to be inside if that happens. Do not open your door to strangers, but, let them know someone is inside. Talk through the door or make lots of noise, so they know a person is inside. Also, if someone asks for a person who doesn't live at your home, call police and report a suspicious person. Often, burglars use that as a line, if someone ends up being home.

Don't let strangers inside
Many people will ask for a drink of water or to use the bathroom or to make a phone call. Do not let them inside. You can make a phone call for them, but, do not open or unlock your door to them. If you are selling something in the classifieds or on the internet, do not allow them to come look at the item unless you have at least one other person there with you. If it's a car you're selling, meet them someplace public, not at your address.

Have one room in your house that locks and a cordless phone
That way, if someone breaks in while you're home, you'll have a safe place to call 911. Even better, is if you hear someone coming in one end of your house, you run out the other, so there's no confrontation. If you come home and it looks like someone has broken in, never go inside to check. Instead, call police from a neighbor's home, in case the criminals are still there.

Keep the exterior well maintained
Keep your bushes trimmed low so criminals can't hide behind them. Plant prickly plants near windows and make sure outside lights are well placed and work at night. Don't leave your door open for a pet or a garage door open when you're working in the yard.

Keep papers and mail clear
If you are leaving town for a vacation or trip, ask a trusted neighbor to collect your mail each day and pick up your newspapers. If they get stacked up, it's a dead giveaway that your home is empty. Also, if you're gone on trash day, have a neighbor place some trash on your curb. Criminals often watch for routines that are broken.

Hide your valuables
Burglars often go into your master bedroom first and steal your jewelry, your guns and cash. Keep your expensive or sentimental jewelry somewhere other than your jewelry box. Don't keep your gun in an obvious place like under the mattress or in the nightstand. Make sure you write down the serial numbers to all your electronic equipment so if it is stolen, police will have a record to compare with pawn shops. Take pictures of those things without serial numbers and keep those someplace other than home. Also, hide your extra checks. Criminals often take those and go on shopping sprees before you realize they're gone.

Protect your checks
Don't have the bank mail a box of checks to your home. Instead, go pick them up or have them mailed to a trusted friend's business or get a P.O. box. Checks sitting in mailboxes at the curb, are an easy target for identity thieves. Don't pay bills and put them in your mailbox and lift the red flag. Crooks will steal your checks and go on shopping sprees that can ruin the good credit you've worked your whole life for. Mail them at a post office building or standing box.

Start an Alert Neighbor Program
Call the Crime Commission at 585-5209 and request a free, volunteer speaker to speak to you and your neighbors about how to start an Alert Neighbor program. This non-profit agency is the same group that pays the reward money to people who report crimes to the Crimestoppers tip line at 596-COPS. They also have pamphlets on every type of crime and some videotapes you can use. Being an alert neighbor is a wonderful crime prevention tool. If you live in Tulsa, you can check crimes in your zip code and registered sex offenders in your neighborhood, by going to tulsapolice.org

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