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  • Security Tips

    This page offers information and tips regaring Home, Business and Auto Security along with managing Alarms.


    HOME SECURITY

    Residential Break and Enters are largely a crime of opportunity. You can help reduce this opportunity by engaging in effective target-hardening of your property, and by making some simple adjustments to your houme before you leave on vacation.
      Interior
    • Install dead bolt locks on all exterior doors and self tapping screws in the upper track of patio doors and windows.
    • Lock all doors and windows when going out.
    • Ensure that entry locks are changed or re-keyed, if you are a new tenant or owner.
    • Secure all basement and ground level windows and patio doors. Use lexon glass where appropriate.
    • Insure your home and its contents, and store valuables in a safety deposit box.
    • Take an inventory of your possessions, such as all electronic equipment and tools. Pictures and receipts are a good way of doing this.
    • Store credit cards, identification, and other valuables in a safe place.
    • Store your car and house keys in a safe and secure place.
    • Do not leave purses and valuables in sight of people at your front door.
    • Do not rely on a security system to protect you. Security systems should only be used as an addition to other security measures.
    • Use curtains on all of your windows to prevent outsider's from "window-shopping" for goods.
    • Give your home the lived-in look with automatic light timers.


    • Exterior
    • Have all newspapers and mail picked up, lawns cut or snow removed when you are away from home.
    • Trim all shrubs and trees so that doors and windows are in clear view.
    • Keep ladders and garbage pails locked up.
    • Keep your tools locked inside your garage or shed. These tools can be used to break into your house.
    • Remove obstructions on your property that could hide a thief.
    • Do not leave notes on your door.
    • Do not hide spare keys outside.
    • Do not put a name plate with your full name outside of your house. A robber can use this information to look up your phone number, and call your house to see if it is occupied.


    • Vacation
    • Discontinue mail and newspaper delivery.
    • Make sure that all possible entrances to your house are secured.
    • Make sure that your neighbours are aware that you are going away and for how long. Leave a key with someone you trust.
    • Arrange with someone to pick up any mail or newspapers that are left on your step or in your mailbox.
    • If you will be away for an extended period of time, contact your alarm company and advise them of your absence.
    • Use a timer to switch various household lights on at night and off in the morning.
    • Have someone come in and re-position curtains occasionally.
    • In general, with the help of friends and neighbours try to avoid the appearance that your home is deserted. A few dollars to a neighbourhood person for yard maintenance can be money well spent.


    • General Safety and Security Tip
    • Join Operation Identification - Engrave your property with your social insurance number or your name. This will discourages theft and help identify stolen property.
    • Maintain an inventory of all household possessions.
    • Make your home fire-safe and eliminate all fire hazards. Install and test smoke alarms and plan an escape route.
    • Insist on seeing the identification of all solicitors or service people who come into your house - invited or not.
    • Check the references of all individuals you employ to work in your home.
    • Do not give information to unknown people on the phone or at the door. Be suspicious of people who ring the doorbell at "the wrong house" or who have called "the wrong number".
    • Be cautious of con games and consumer frauds. Don't sign contracts without expert opinions.
    • List only surname and initials in the telephone book.


    BUSINESS SECURITY

    Security considerations for businesses should include measures to prevent robberies as well as internal theft from employees. By following some basic safety tips you can greatly reduce your businesses vulnerability to crime.
      General
    • Keep up-to-date inventory records.
    • Mark equipment, including computers and cash registers with an identification number unique to the business.
    • Consider installing security cameras. They not only help discourage crime but can aid in identifing criminals and provide evidence.
    • Provide training on the proper security procedures for closing the business
    • Make sure that all outside entrances and inside security doors are able to be secured, preferably with deadbolt locks.
    • Windows also need to be secured. Consider installing metal grates on your windows. Remove valuable merchandise from display windows to discourage the "smash and grab" thefts.
    • Make sure you can see easily into your business after closing.
    • Check the parking lot for good lighting and unobstructed views.
    • Light the inside and outside of your business, especially around doors, windows, skylights, or other entry points.
    • Consider installing covers over exterior lights and power sources to deter tampering.
    • Install locking gates, and eliminate possible hiding places, such as trees, shrubbery, stairwells, and alleys.
    • Make sure that your entire sales floor can be easily viewed. Eliminate any blind spots that may hide a robbery in progress. Keep displays neat, and place small and valuable objects in cabinets. Ensure that your staff is familiar with all of the merchandise in the store.
    • Do not tag your keys with the name of your business. Change locks if the keys are lost or not returned by a former employee.
    • Install an enunciator on entrances to alert you that someone has entered your store or office.
    • Make bank deposits often and during business hours. Do not establish a regular pattern. Take different routes at different times during the day.
    • Think before talking about the details of your job or working on sensitive projects in public places such as restaurants, airplanes, classrooms, and gyms.
    • Think about what is on a piece of paper before you toss it into the trash. If it is sensitive information, tear it up or use a shredder.
    • Challenge any strangers who enter your work area. Ask for identification. Call a supervisor or security for help.
    • Organize a business watch, patterned after the Neighborhood Watch concept. Get to know the people who operate the businesses in your area. Watch for suspicious activity and report it to the police immediately. Advertise that you are a member.
    • After hours, do not work late alone. Create a buddy system for walking to parking lots or public transportation or ask security to escort you.
    • If a thief confronts you or your employees, cooperate.


    • Robbery Prevention Measures
    • Maintain a neat and well-stocked business both inside and out.
    • Remove any displays or stock that provide a hiding spot for the robber in the store and around the exterior of the building.
    • Greet or assist each customer as they come into the store. A robber will not want to be identified.
    • If a person appears to be loitering in the store, ask them if they need any assistance. The robber will not want to attract attention.
    • Keep active and alert in the store. Do not be caught off guard.
    • Avoid routines in patterns of work that may tip the robber off to the best time to strike.
    • Watch for suspicious loiterers outside, in cars, or on foot.
    • Have all side or service doors locked at all times.
    • Keep sight lines in and out of the store clear at all times by removing signs and displays from window areas.
    • Adequate lighting should be maintained both in and outside the business.
    • Note the possible hiding spots and escape routes around the business that a robber may use.
    • If your business is equipped with an alarm system, make certain that it is properly serviced and that all staff members are aware of how and when to use it.
    • Keep float levels at a minimum. Do not create an attractive target by having a large amount of cash in the till.
    • Do not count cash or open the safe in public view.
    • Make regular bank deposits but at irregular times. Do not set a pattern for the robber.
    • Where possible, make bank deposits during banking hours and use an unmarked package to transport the money.
    • Be suspicious of persons asking about your security or cash handling system.
    • Keep the police emergency number on or by the phone at all times.
    • Were possible, encourage police vehicles and taxis to use your business lot, especially during evening and night hours of operation.
    • Where possible, have deliveries made during evening or night hours of operation to promote increased activity around the store.
    • Where there are a number of businesses located close together, set up a "Buddy Call" system.
    • Make sure all employees are familiar with the use of the "panic" button of your alarm system, and with locking of doors.
    • If you become suspicious about a person or vehicle, note the description and contact the police immediately.


    • During a Robbery
    • Handle the situation calmly. Do not panic.
    • Follow the robber's directions to the best of your ability without endangering your own life or that of your customers.
    • Do not argue or withhold cash from the robber.
    • Advise the robber if there are any other employees or customers in the store to avoid startling him and triggering an attack.
    • Remember to hand the robber the money with your recorded serial numbers.
    • Keep any note that the robber passes to you and handle it by the edges only.
    • Observe carefully so that you can describe and identify the robber to police later.
    • Remember any place the robber touches so the police can check the area for finger prints.
    • Do not attempt to overpower the robber. You do not know what type of concealed weapon the robber may have.
    • Watch the height marker as the robber leaves.
    • Remember, both during and after the robbery, that your safety and that of your customers is your main concern.


    • After a Robbery
    • Quickly lock all doors to prevent the robber from getting back into the store, and to preserve evidence for the police.
    • While at the door, check the robber's escape route and / or vehicle being used, but do not endanger yourself.
    • If you have an alarm, activate it when you feel it is safe to do so.
    • Call the police immediately and tell them your name and the exact location of your business, the description of the robbers, direction of travel, and whether or not they are armed.
    • Do not hang up until the police officer does. He or she may wish to get more information.
    • Ask any witnesses to wait for the police to arrive.
    • Write down your observations as soon as possible as you will have to describe the robber to police.
    • Notify company officials / managers.
    • Be factual. Do not exaggerate. Do not estimate the value of property or the amount of cash stolen.


    • Identifying a Robber
    • Practice identifying the robber with co-workers.
    • Recall any abnormalities, speech problems or scars on the robber.
    • Recall type of build, or estimate weight.
    • Recall type and colour of clothing worn.
    • Notice the direction in which the robber leaves.
    • Try to get a description and license number of the vehicle that the robber uses.
    • Be able to describe the size, type and colour of guns or any other weapons used in the robbery.


    AUTO SECURITY

    According to Statistics Canada, one car is stolen every three minutes in this Country. Auto theft makes up more than one third of all property crimes and costs the Canadian tax payers more then $1 billion annually. Nobody is safe from being a target of auto theft in fact economy cars are just as likely to be stolen as luxury cars.

    Fifty to seventy percent of the vehicles stolen in Canada are opportunity thefts. In other words the vehicle was in the wrong place at the wrong time and it was an easy target for someone looking to go joy-riding, get transportation, or commit a crime for which a vehicle is required. The remainder of auto thefts are usually newer cars selected specifically for re-sale.

    If your vehicle is stolen, contact the police immediately. While you should have the following information available when you call the police, do not waste time looking for it.
      Preventing Auto-Theft
    • Park your vehicle in well-lit areas with plenty of pedestrian traffic. Thieves will be discouraged if they are more likely to be seen.
    • Don't leave your vehicle unattended with the engine running.
    • Don't leave personal identification or valuables in the vehicle.
    • Engrave your vehicle registration number on all valuable removable parts (stereo, wheel covers, etc)
    • Consider installing an anti-theft device, and locking wheel covers, gas caps, etc.
    • Never leave your wallet or parcels in plain view.
    • Always lock all doors and close all windows of your vehicle after entering and exiting.
    • Keep your garage locked with your vehicle inside.
    • When parking, turn your wheels into the curb, and apply the emergency brake. This makes the vehicle harder to tow.
    • Don't hide spare keys on or in the vehicle - they can be found.
    • Don't put your name or address on your house or vehicle keys - this can lead a thief to your house and your car.
    • Keep your vehicle and house keys on a separate ring.


    • Reporting a Stolen Vehicle
    • Year
    • Make
    • Model
    • Colour
    • VIN - Vehicle Identification Number
    • License Plate Number
    • Ignition key number
    • Insurance company
    • Policy number
    • Agent / Broker
    • Telephone number
    • Any distinguishing features (dents, scratches)
    • Contents of the vehicle (stereo system, tools, personal possessions, etc.)


    FALSE ALARMS

    The Smiths Falls Police Service responds to hundreds of false alarms every year. False alarms are a waste of valuable police time and resources. Repeatedly responding to false alarms creates longer wait times for legitimate calls and could potentially increase officer response time to serious criminal offences or life-threatening emergencies.
    • Make sure that everyone in your house or business are familiar with the use of the alarm system, and have entry codes based on their required level of access (i.e. a store manager would have full arm / disarm access, while a supervisor may only be able to arm / disarm interior motion detectors and the main entrance).
    • If you have cleaners in your building overnight, carefully instruct them about where they can and can not go inside your business without activating the alarm. Walk them through the facility showing them which doors and areas are off-limits.
    • Notify your alarm company if you have overnight cleaners.
    • Immediately call your alarm company if you notice or suspect any defects in the alarm system components or wiring (ie. exposed or cut wires)
    • Call your alarm company, and advise them if you will be going away for an extended period of time.
    • Call your alarm company to advise them of any irregularities that may occur in the opening or closing of your business, or if you will be expecting a false alarm.
    • Provide your alarm company with an updated phone list every 3-6 months with at least 3 persons, one of whom will ALWAYS be available. Cellular phone and pager numbers should be included.

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    Smiths Falls Police Service, 7 Hershey Drive, Smiths Falls, Ontario, K7A 4W7
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