AST > Crime Prevention

The Crime Prevention Answer Page

The following general categories list frequently asked questions regarding personal and residential protection or "target hardening".

  • Anyone forcibly entering a car or home.
  • Someone running from a home or business under unusual circumstances.
  • Someone carrying a weapon in an inappropriate setting.
  • Anyone ringing your doorbell or knocking on your door without a reasonable explanation for doing so.
  • Strange vehicles parked in your area.
  • A clean vehicle with dirty or damaged plates.
  • Any activity or event you observe that makes you feel uncomfortable. Always obey your intuitive sense that something is suspicious. If you are not sure about calling law enforcement, CALL ANYWAY !
  • Identify yourself - name, address and telephone number.
  • Report the type of crime.
  • Report if the crime is "In Progress" or "Has Occurred."
  • Vehicle description, tag number, color, dents, WRITE THIS DOWN !
  • Suspect description WRITE THIS DOWN !
  • Direction of vehicle or pedestrian travel (use compass direction).
  • Stay on the line as long as you can.
  • Call neighbor to help watch suspects and provide more information

Body build(slight, heavy, posture, proportions, etc.)__________________


Race or nationality (if known)_________________________________________

Face (shape, bone structure, complexion)_______________________________


Eyes (narrow, wide-set, deep-set, color)_______________________________

Nose (long, short, broad, narrow, etc.)________________________________

Chin (square, dimpled, pointed, etc.)__________________________________

Beard or mustache______________________________________________________

Other identifying characteristics (scars, moles, etc.)_________________


Hair (color, style, texture)___________________________________________

Ears (noticeable shape, size prominently sticking out)_________________

Identifying marks (scars, tattoos, birthmarks, etc.)___________________


Identifying actions (mannerisms, walking style, speech patterns, 
left or right handed)__________________________________________________


Weapons or equipment used______________________________________________

Identifying comments (mention of names, places, dates, etc)____________







Color______________Dents/Marks___________________Tag No._______________

Direction of Travel____________________________________________________

Thieves look for what police term "targets of opportunity." There are many things you can do to avoid becoming one of the victims, especially when you are going to be away from your home for an extended period.

  • Arrange for your local law enforcement agency to check your house periodically, if they offer this service in your community.
  • Double check second floor and basement windows, areas which are often forgotten.
  • Make sure that exterior areas will not give your absence away. Arrange to have mail and deliveries either stopped or picked up by a neighbor.
  • Leave a car in the driveway. Have outside lights turned off and on with a home timer. Arrange to have the lawn cut and the bushes trimmed.
  • Have several timers attached to lights in various locations throughout the house. One timer can be programmed to turn one light on and off several times during the evening. Several timers performing the same function can give a very "lived-in" look to a home.
  • This same practice with home timers can be utilized with TV's and radios, giving an added sound element to the "lived-in" look.
  • Ask your neighbors to check your home regularly, and leave a number with them where you can be reached. Ask neighbors also to use your garbage cans. Spotters for burglars sometimes work for trash collectors. Ask neighbors to also pick up handbills or circulars.
  • While it is adviseable to notify police and a neighbor of your planned absence, don't tell everyone about your plans. Don't leave notes on the door for neighbors, deliverymen, etc.
  • If, upon returning from your trip, you spot evidence of a break-in, do not enter the house. Call the police at once! The burglar may still be inside.
  • Make a list by serial number, date purchased, and price of expensive items, and keep the list in a safe place, not in your home. While doing so, mark valuables with an engraving tool.
  • Doors and windows should be equipped with deadbolt locks, rather than spring bolt locks.
  • Maintain the appearance of occupancy
  • House numbers should be at least 4" to 6" high, reflective and visible from the street
  • Good exterior lighting all around residence perimeter creates a psychological barrier. Consider motion activated light fixtures.
  • Trim shrubbery away from windows, doorways and porches. Shrubbery and other barriers provide concealment for burglars.
  • Exterior doors should be of solid construction with secure frames and locking hardware. Use a deadbolt with at least a 1" to 1-1/2" bolt throw. Treat door from garage to inside the house as an exterior door.
  • Windows within 18 feet of the ground should be treated as first floor windows. Windows should be working and retro-fit with cost effective locking hardware.
  • Insure that all exterior doors (including overhead garage door) are LOCKED when you are not home.
  • Install a "Charlie Bar" or commercial locking device for sliding doors.
  • Inventory and photograph your property.
  • Join or start a Neighborhood Watch group.