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Crime Prevention

ITEMS OF INTEREST

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE STOPPED BY POLICE

What are some reasons police might stop me?

Generally, because you:

  • Are in the area where a crime just occurred

  • Witnessed a crime

  • Fit the description of a suspect

  • Have been pointed out as a suspect

  • Appear to need assistance

  • Violated a law

What should I consider if I am stopped?

  • Officers may not be stopping you for the same reason you think

  • Over-reaction and/or lack of cooperation will complicate the situation

  • Police are trained to remain in a position that will enhance officer safety

  • Actions and communications are not intended to offend you

What actions should I take if I'm approached by a police officer?
  • Follow the officer's instructions

  • Keep your hands clearly visible

  • Make slow and deliberate movements

  • If a weapon is present:

    1. Verbally inform the officer of its exact location

    2. Do not make any gestures towards the weapon

    3. State whether you possess a concealed handgun permit

    4. Wait for specific instructions before making any movements

    5. Remain calm and do not become argumentative

  • Cooperation can greatly reduce the time you are detained

What actions should I take if I’m in a vehicle that is approached by a police officer?

  • Follow the officer’s instructions

  • Remain seated in the vehicle; do not get out unless instructed to do so

  • Keep your hands visible

  • Turn on the interior light when it’s dark outside

  • Produce your drivers license and vehicle registration upon request

  • Do not reach for anything unless directed to do so by the officer

When can I be searched by a police officer?

  • When arrested

  • When a warrant exists

  • When probable cause for an arrest exists

  • When consent is granted

Be aware that if you are suspected of being armed, the police officer is allowed to frisk you for weapons to ensure the safety of everyone present.

HOME & SCHOOL SAFETY TIPS

  • The best tools to stop crime are your eyes! Please call 911 or 252-972-1411 immediately if you see anything suspicious in your neighborhood!

  • Many burglars will spend no more than 60 seconds attempting to break into a home. Make sure every external door has sturdy, well-installed deadbolt locks.

  • Sliding glass doors offer easy access if not properly secured. You can secure them by installing commercially available locks or by putting a broomstick or wooden dowel in the inside track to prevent the door from sliding.

  • Never hide house keys under the door mat or a rock that is near your door. Most burglars know this trick. Instead give an extra key to a trusted neighbor.

  • When you move into a new house or apartment, have a competent locksmith re-key or replace the locks.

  • All outside doors to your home should be metal or solid wood.

  • Install a peephole in all entry doors so you can see who is outside without opening the door.

  • Don't use door chains; they break easily and don't keep intruders out.

  • Prune back shrubbery and trees as to not obscure windows and doors.

  • Install outdoor floodlights or motion-sensor lights to eliminate any areas where someone might hide on or around your property.

  • When you go out of town, give your house that "lived-in look" by putting a few of your lights on timers. Also, stop your mail and newspaper delivery or have a trusted neighbor pick it up for you.

  • While driving, lock your doors and roll up your windows. Park in a well-lit area and keep all valuables out of sight and in the trunk.

  • While walking, avoid isolated areas. Walk confidently and with another person if possible. Don't carry a lot of cash and avoid wearing anything that would attract unwanted attention like expensive furs or jewelry.

  • When answering the door, never let a stranger in for any reason.

  • Always ask service people for identification before letting them in your house. You may want to contact the company they represent to verify their identity.

  • Never, ever pick up hitchhikers.

  • Beware of a stranger who approaches you with a "great" business opportunity. If it sounds to good to be true, it usually is.

  • Don't leave anything, such as ladders or tools, lying around that can be used to break into your home.

  • If you are a female and you live alone, don't advertise it by putting "Miss Jane Doe" on your doorbell or mailbox. Just put the initial of your first name and your last name, "J. Doe".

  • Mark all your valuables with your license number.

  • Never leave your keys in your car for any reason.

  • Never leave your car doors unlocked.

  • If possible, choose a parking lot with an attendant.

  • Write down and report to the police license numbers on vehicles used by suspicious persons in your neighborhood.

  • Remove any identification from your personal key ring.

  • Ask a trusted neighbor to watch your home while you are away.

  • Be aware of your surroundings - know who's out there and what's going on.

  • Trust your instincts. If a situation or place makes your feel uncomfortable or uneasy, leave.


BURGLARY PREVENTION TIPS

BURGLARY IS AN OPPORTUNISTIC CRIME. Burglars aim for the easiest targets. Almost half of all completed residential burglaries in the U.S. resulted from thieves simply gaining entry through unlocked doors or unlocked windows. Most burglars will give up and move on if they can't get in within a few minutes. To keep burglars away from your house or apartment, make their work difficult, risky and low-profit.

If you are going home for the weekend or the holidays:
  • Take expensive, portable items with you.

  • Advise a trusted neighbor of your travel plans and ask him or her to watch out for suspicious people and/or activity around your home or apartment.

  • Refrain from publicizing your absence until after your return.

  • Don't allow deliveries of any kind, including mail and newspapers, to accumulate on your doorstep. If you don't wish to cancel deliveries, arrange for a neighbor to pick them up. You can arrange for your local post office to hold your mail until you return.

  • Lock all doors and windows. Leave all shades and blinds in their normal positions.

  • Connect one or two lamps and, perhaps, a radio to an automatic timer. They are inexpensive and help to make your home appear "occupied."

Keep track of your property, so if stolen, it can be returned:
  • Make a list of the serial numbers of all your property. Store the list in a safe place.

  • Mark your items with your driver's license number for faster identification. The Rocky Mount Police Department has engravers, which are easy to use, that you can borrow to engrave your number on your property. Call Crime Prevention at 972-1436.

  • Photographing or videotaping your possessions is a convenient way to keep a record of what you own.

  • Music CDs are easily stolen and often re-sold for quick cash. Use a permanent felt tip pen to write your name and driver's license number on the front of each CD.

Check the locks:
  • Make sure every external door has a sturdy, well-installed dead bolt lock.

  • Sliding glass doors can offer easy access if they are not properly secured. You can secure them by installing commercially available locks or putting a broomstick or dowel in the inside track to jam the door. To prevent the door being lifted off the track, drill a hole through the sliding door frame and the fixed frame. Then insert a pin or screw in the hole. The pin or screw should stick out just far enough to allow the door to slide, but not allow the door to be lifted out of its track.

  • Lock double-hung windows with key locks or "pin" windows by drilling a small hole into a 45-degree angle between the inner and outer frames, then insert a nail that can be removed.

  • Burglars know the best places to find keys hidden outside your home. Instead, give an extra key to a trusted neighbor.

Check the doors:
  • All outside doors should be metal or solid wood.

  • If your doors don't fit tightly in their frames, install weather stripping around them.

  • Install a peephole or wide-angle viewer in all entry doors so you can see who is outside without opening the door.

General precautions:
  • If you don't own your home, consider buying renters' insurance. Your landlord generally will not be responsible for your possessions.

  • Thieves hate bright lights. Install outside lights and keep them on at night.

Prevent auto theft and auto break-ins:
  • Don't leave valuables in plain view in your car.

  • Remove valuable property from your car whenever possible.

  • Install a mechanical locking device -- commonly called clubs, collars or j-bars -- that locks to the steering wheel, column or brake to prevent the wheel from being turned more than a few degrees. The thief will look for an easier target.

  • Park in busy, well-lighted areas.

Be alert to suspicious behavior in your neighborhood!

Police officers ask citizens to alert police to this behavior. Officers urge citizens: When in doubt, call the police - 911 for emergencies, 972-1411 for non-emergencies. For more information on crime prevention and safety services, you may reach the Crime Prevention Unit at 972-1436.


INVEST IN AN ALARM SYSTEM

An alarm system is an electronic installation that consists of input and output devices, a control panel, and their respective wiring. Their purpose is to minimize loss from burglary, fire, and vandalism, as well as to warn building occupants of a potentially hazardous situation.These warning devices include carbon monoxide detectors, smoke alarms, and security systems, among others.

What does a common home alarm system include?

A typical home alarm system consists of a number of devices placed at doors to a home to detect when the door has been opened. The alarm will sound when the system is activated. Similar contacts are placed on or near windows and will trigger the alarm if the glass is broken to gain entry. The key parts of a home alarm system are:

  • The control panel. This is the main hub for the system's wiring. It contains the backup battery, and is where the phone lines are connected if the system is monitored.

  • The keypad. This allows for arming and disarming the system, usually through input of a numerical code.

  • The siren. Triggered when the system detects an intruder, it can be visual, aural, or silent sending a signal to the monitoring agency – depending on where the system is installed and whether catching the intruder is a priority.

  • Motion detectors. These are used to sense changes in a room due to a human presence while the system is armed. Special detectors can be installed in homes that have pets.

  • Door and window contacts. As mentioned, these sense when a door is opened or a window is opened or broken, and will trigger an alarm if the system is armed.

If an alarm is triggered, a monitoring company (staffed 24 hours a day) will attempt to contact the homeowner, and then the police, fire station, or ambulance as necessary. These companies usually charge a monthly fee; though an alarm system can be used without a monitoring company, it is a good idea to retain one in case of an emergency.

An alarm system is set up in a fairly basic way that allows the owner to arm and disarm the system as needed, as well as disable the alarm if a false positive occurs. Though an unmonitored alarm system comes equipped with lights and a siren, it also relies on neighbors to contact the police in case it is set off; typically, it is a good idea to allow the system to be monitored, thereby ensuring that the authorities will be contacted in a timely fashion after an event occurs.

Click HERE for more information on alarms systems.


HOLIDAY SAFETY TIPS

The City of Rocky Mount Police Department urges everyone to be especially conscious aboutpersonal safety during the holidays.

If You're Traveling to See Family and Friends:
  • Get an automatic timer for your lights.

  • Ask a neighbor to watch your home and park in the driveway from time to time.

  • Don't forget to have mail and newspaper delivery stopped. If it piles up, it's a sure sign you're gone.

If You're Away from Home For The Evening:
  • Turn on lights and a radio or TV so it looks like someone's home.

  • Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave, even if it's just for a few minutes.

  • Don't display gifts where they can be seen from outside.

If You're Shopping:
  • Stay alert and be aware of what's going on around you.

  • Park in a well-lighted space, and be sure to lock the car, close the windows, and hide shopping bags and gifts in the trunk.

  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; pay with a check or credit card whenever possible.

  • Deter pickpockets and purse-snatchers. Don't overburden yourself with packages. Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.

  • Shopping with kids? Teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated.

Take A Holiday Inventory

The holidays are a good time to update - or create -your home inventory.Take photos or make videos of items, and list descriptions and serial numbers. If your home is burglarized, having a detailed inventory can help identify stolen items and make insurance claims easier to file.Make sure items like TVs, VCRs, stereo equipment, cameras, camcorders,sports equipment, jewelry, silver, computers, home office equipment, and power tools are on the list. Remember to check it twice!

* Made available by The National Citizens' Crime Prevention Campaign, sponsored by the Crime Prevention Coalition.