|Taking the bite out of crime....The crime situation in Trinidad and Tobago is of major concern to every citizen. While public and private agencies are charged with the responsibility of confronting criminals, we as citizens have a responsibility to ourselves,
as it relates to our personal protection. I have therefore identified some useful tips we can all use that should diminish the likelihood of us being entrapped in a dangerous situation involving criminals. - By Dwight Andrews, Trinidad Guardian, Sunday, March 03, 2002|
|Outside the Home
||Thieves hate bright lights.
Install lights outside your home and keep them on at night.
Consider motion sensors that set off lights or alarms.
Keep your yard clean. Prune back shrubbery so it doesn't hide doors or windows. Cut back tree limbs that a thief could use to climb to an upper-level window.
Keep your home, driveway, and other buildings well lighted at night. Use timers that automatically turn on outside lights when it gets dark.
Warn thieves you're on the alert with "No Trespassing", and other signs around your property.
Leave shades, blinds, and curtains in normal positions.
Don't let your mail pile up! Call the post office to stop delivery or have a neighbour pick it up.
If you travel, create the illusion that you're at home by getting timers that would turn lights on and off throughout the evening.
Lights burning 24 hours a day signal an empty house.
Make sure every external door has a sturdy, well-installed dead-bolt lock.
Key-in-the-knob locks alone are not enough.
|Inside the Home
||Thieves hate bright lights.
All exterior doors should be metal or solid wood.
Install a peephole or wide-angle viewer at all entry doors so you can see who is outside without opening the door.
Door chains break easily and don't keep out intruders.
Make a list of your valuables - VCRs, stereos, computers, jewelry. Take photos of the items, list their serial numbers and description.
Alarms can be a good investment, especially if you have many valuables in your home.
Check with several companies before you buy so you can decide what level of security fits your needs.
Do business with an established company and check references before signing a contract.
Learn how to use your system properly!
Don't "cry wolf" by setting off false alarms.
Guns are responsible for many accidental deaths in homes every year.
Think carefully before buying a gun or keeping weapons in the home. If you do own one, learn how to store and use it safely.
Some less expensive options - a sound-detecting socket that plugs into a light fixture and makes the light flash when it detects certain noises, motion sensing outdoor lights that turn on when someone approaches, or lights with photo cells that turn on when it's dark and off when it's light.
Never leave a message on your answering machine that indicates you may be away from home, instead you could say you're not available right now.
|For Persons with Disabilities
||Be realistic about your limitations.
Avoid places or situations that put you at risk.
Avoid establishing predictable activity patterns.
Most of us have daily routines, but never varying them may increase your vulnerability to crime.
Know the neighbourhood where you live and work.
Check out the locations of police and fire stations, public telephones, hospitals, restaurants, or stores that are open and accessible.
Put good locks on all your doors. Police recommend double-cylinder, dead-bolt locks, but make sure you can easily use the locks you install.
If you have handicaps, have a recorded message (giving your name, address, and type of disability) to use in emergencies. Keep the tape in a recorder next to your phone.
||Check your car on all sides before approaching the door. Check inside of car before unlocking/entering.
Do not leave valuables visible in your car.
Radios, cameras, attaché cases and packages attract attention and can tempt thieves to break in.
If the car won't start, either get assistance or get away. Your car may have been deliberately disabled.
Do not accept unsolicited offers of assistance. Do not unlock the door to admit a stranger.
Sound your horn continuously if a stranger remains around your locked car and appears to be a menace.
When visiting, drive into the premises where possible. If unable to drive in, park at a spot where the car can be seen.
Drivers should be very cautious while travelling alone at nights. If being trailed, drive to the nearest place of safety, sounding your horn constantly.
When driving at nights, select your route and avoid lonely roads.
Keep all doors and windows locked while driving. Be on the alert at stop signs and traffic lights.
If someone appears to need assistance, drive to a phone and send assistance; do not stop.
If you feel you are being followed, commence a series of left turns, (right turns involves breaking the flow of traffic and hence stopping) if you continue to be followed then drive to the nearest police station or open gas station.
If involved in a collision, drive to the nearest open place of business or gas station and report the accident to the police.
Learn the locations of police stations and other places where police may gather. This knowledge could save your life in an emergency.
Avoid parking at lonely spots, while waiting for someone.
Park as close to a building as possible when parking at shopping malls or stores.
Park in well-lit areas.
Do not keep car keys and house keys on the same key ring.
|Personal Security Tips On the Street
||Do not carry more money or valuables than is necessary.
Walk upright and with confidence. Make eye contact as much as possible.
If approached by a robber, co-operate, remain calm - surrender your valuables.
If you are physically attacked, try to get away if you can.
If you have to carry large sums of cash, do not carry it all in one place.
Walk on the side of the street facing oncoming traffic.
On a busy street, carry your purse or briefcase on the side of you farthest from the curb, and stay close to buildings.
If you must walk alone at night, do not walk near cars parked at the curb or close to doorways or shrubbery, which could conceal an ambush.
If you must walk at night regularly, vary your route to minimise the possibility of someone lying in wait to assault you.
If followed, do not run straight for home unless help is available. Go to an area where there are other people around.
Running, screaming, and the use of a loud whistle are recommended defensive weapons.
If you witness a crime or accident while on the street, send for help - do no try to help.
Only if qualified help is on the way and you are positive there is no personal danger to yourself should you attempt to give assistance.
Should you come across an arrest, riot, fire, brawl or other incident, resist the impulse to become a spectator and shield yourself from the action.
|Personal Security Tips While Shopping
||Do not carry cash while shopping if, it can be avoided.
Use a charge account, followed by (in order of preference) cheques, debit card, credit card, cash.
Do not overdress, and avoid wearing jewelry.
Shop with a friend whenever possible.
Be wary of "bargains" offered by persons on the street.
Avoid using ATM machines at night.
If you notice suspicious persons hanging-out, wait until they leave or go elsewhere.
Crime is like water flowing downhill, it goes to the area where there's least resistance.