Most crimes are crimes of opportunity. If the opportunity is not there, then there is no crime and more importantly no victim.

Going to a concert, church service, or public function?

As you enter into any public place take note of the exit locations and the path you would need to take to get to them. In an emergency it is common for everyone to immediately rush to the exit near the entrance with which they are most familiar. Try to avoid the crowd and go to an exit that is less likely to be congested. Always be mindful of the type of emergency that is causing the reason to exit. Don’t panic; just quickly and quietly make your way to the available exit of your choice.

In case of an emergency call 911.

We all know that 911 is the number to call in a situation that is happening NOW or has just happened. Calling this number from your cell phone will get you to the nearest answering center and they will transfer your call to the jurisdiction in which it belongs. If you are on campus and dial 911 from a campus phone or a blue phone you will get the LLUHS Security Department. They will receive your information and start a security officer to your location. The Security officer’s response will be the quickest contact in most circumstances. They will also notify local law enforcement or the fire department to immediately get them started in your direction.

Don’t hang up. You will be able to give the call taker information as help is responding. While you are waiting try to get the facts straight in your mind. Helpful information would be your physical condition, the description of the suspect; white male in his 50’s, wearing blue pants and a blue shirt with a small gun, what was stolen or damaged, and the direction and manner in which the suspect left the area.

Planning a trip?

When checking in at a hotel, request a room toward the back of the building and between the 2nd and 7th floors. Besides being quieter towards the back of the hotel you are less likely to be involved if there is an act of violence on the premises. Most violence is targeted toward the front or lobby area of a building. In most cities evacuation ladders usually only reach to the 7th floor so you may not want to be in a higher floor. Staying off the first level is always good in that the upper floors are less accessible to people walking around the grounds.

Before you go to sleep at night prepare a “ready bag” to place in a location you can easily find in the dark should you be required to evacuate. This bag or box should contain your keys, cell phone, identification, some cash, travel information, emergency phone numbers, medications and perhaps a snack and some water. Keep your shoes nearby so they can easily be located.

When traveling with a group, friends or family it is a good idea to pick a meeting point should you get separated or if there is an emergency. Something as simple as meeting under a big tree or a sign is useful and easy to remember in an emergency.

It is a good idea for you to leave your itinerary with coworkers, family, or friends and arrange for a secret password for you to use in case you are required to make a phone call under duress. The password will alert the caller that you need help and that someone may be with you.

Lost or stolen Credit Cards?

First notify your credit and debit card companies of the theft. The maximum you’ll have to pay for unauthorized charges is $50.00 per credit card. It is wise to try and cancel before any purchases are made. Every credit card company has a 24-hour hot line that accepts collect calls. Call the credit card companies and the credit reporting companies as soon as possible.

  Equifax 800-525-6285
  Experian (formerly TRW) 888-397-3742
  Trans Union 800-680-7289
  SS Administration (fraud line) 800-269-0271

Keep copies of your driver’s license and credit cards at home or with another person so that you will have a record to use when reporting. Since cash advances and replacement cards won’t be available immediately, you should not keep all your cash and valuables in the same place. Hiding a few $ 20.00 bills or traveler’s checks in a separate bag, your shoes, or several different spots is a good idea.

File a police report, you may not recover your wallet, but the report number will help with insurance claims and at airport check-ins. It is important that you keep proof of the report with you as ID. If you’re traveling within the US and have no photo ID, you can call and tell the airline about your predicament. Airline staff know that getting a duplicate license may take weeks, and they can allow you onto a flight without photo ID. Show up ahead of time for additional screening, and bring a copy of the police report or file number and any ID you still have.

Going shopping?

  • Keep all of your personal items out of sight in your vehicles.
  • When shopping carry only the cash you will need and the one or two credit cards you plan to use.
  • Do not FLASH your cash or credit cards.
  • Lock the doors while you are in the vehicle.
  • Do not allow yourself to get distracted from what is going on around you when loading children or packages.
  • Do not give money to panhandlers. In most cities it is a crime to beg. Give your money to an established charity.
  • If someone approaches you with a weapon, give him/her whatever he/she wants and get out of the area.
  • Never allow yourself to be taken ANYWHERE

What a Burglar Won’t Tell You (from Reader’s Digest)

  • Of Course I look Familiar: I have worked or made a delivery to your home.
  • Thank you for letting me use your bathroom while I was working around your home. I unlocked the window/door so I could come back in and I was able to look around to see what I could come back for later.
  • I might leave a flyer in your door to see how long it takes for you to remove it, or to see if you are home.
  • Thanks for having your alarm panel so I can view it from the door or window so I can tell if it is on or off.
  • I do not take a day off because of bad weather.
  • I always check dresser drawers, bedside tables, medicine cabinets, and the freezer.
  • I always knock first. If you answer I will ask for directions or offer some service.
  • I won’t have time to break into your safe but if it is small enough I will take it with me.
  • I really do look for papers left in your driveway or mail that hasn’t been picked up.
  • When installing alarms place one over the kitchen sink and the upstairs windows. Motion detectors work too.
  • I almost never go into kids rooms.
  • A loud TV or radio can be a good deterrent.
  • Sometimes I carry a clipboard. Sometimes I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best not to look like a crook.
  • I hate loud dogs and nosey neighbors.
  • I might break a window to get in. Your neighbor hears one loud sound, stops to listen and when it doesn’t happen again, just goes back to what he is doing.
  • I love looking in your windows especially if I can see you watching a large screen TV.
  • At night I walk or drive through your neighborhood before you close your blinds just to pick my targets.
  • Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It’s easier than you think to look up your address.
  • To you, leaving your window open a crack is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it is an invitation.
  • Lock your doors and many times I will go on to an easier target.