Aside from an alarm system, what are the top three things a resident should do to deter an intruder?

We provide a free security survey for our residents on an individual basis. This allows the department to address issues that are unique to an individual property. In general, we encourage people to look at increasing or improving their existing lighting, inspect their locks on doors and windows, and check the outside of the property for anything that may provide a hiding place for a criminal to conceal themselves. Of course, always report suspicious persons to the police department via 911. If you are interested in a security survey, please contact the Interactive Community Policing Unit at your patrol division.

I’m a woman walking alone to my car in a poorly lit parking lot (a situation I try to avoid at all costs) when I am approached by a man who asks me for money. What should I do?

This is an important personal safety question and one, which we receive often. It’s good that you try to park in well-lit areas. We encourage everyone to always be aware of his or her surroundings whether at home, work, alone or in a group. This doesn’t mean to constantly look over your shoulder but in a situation where you are parking somewhere unfamiliar, observe what is around you. We also stress to trust your instincts. For example, if you experience a “funny feeling” or if something doesn’t “feel right”, try to pay attention as to why that is happening. It is possible that you sensed the man approaching before you actually saw him. Specifically, we have noted that cell phones have given people a greater sense of security. If you have one available to you, please have it ready for use. Most people who solicit money aren’t violent and a polite, confident, firm rejection should work. Try not to become engaged in a conversation and continue to your car. If you are not already using your cell phone, place a call to a friend, family or us if you feel threatened. Use your senses to determine if this person did indeed walk away. Once inside your vehicle make sure all the doors are locked. Interactive Community Policing Unit officers will be glad to provide additional personal safety tips. Please contact them at your patrol division for more information.

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