The New York Police Department recently released a 28-page collection of safety tips to protect yourself and your property. The complete booklet can be downloaded here. We’ve featured some of the most helpful highlights.
Safety at home
Keeping yourself safe at home begins before you even approach your place of residence.
First, place your name on the inside, where only the mail carrier will see it. If your name must be on the outside, use only your last name. Second, make sure your entrance is well lit.
Here are some additional tips:
- Have your keys ready before you get to the door.
- If you live in an apartment, close the lobby door behind you, especially if a stranger is approaching.
- Make all visitors and delivery persons use the doorbell.
- If a stranger asks to use the phone, keep your door locked, and tell them you’ll make the call for them. Keep them out of your home.
- If your building has an elevator, check the elevator’s mirror before entering.
- If anyone makes you uncomfortable, leave the lobby/hallway (if waiting for the elevator). If you feel uncomfortable in the elevator, get off at the next floor and make an excuse, such as, “Oh, I forgot the mail.”
Safety at the ATM and while shopping
Your wallet, cash, cards, purse, and cell phone are tempting targets. Here’s how to keep them, and yourself, safe.
When getting cash, use well-lit, well-populated ATMs, and be aware of the people around you. Use the mirror at the ATM to look behind you. Avoid ATMs that have unlocked doors or are directly out on the street, and block anyone else’s view when entering your PIN.
While shopping, only bring the cash and cards you need. Keep your cell phone out of sight when not using it. Don’t carry your wallet in your back pocket. Keep your purse close to you or tightly under your arm, not on a long strap.
Follow these tips if you own a vehicle.
- Park in well-lit areas, and look around before exiting your vehicle.
- Close all windows, lock all doors, and hide valuables (or take them with you).
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid getting stranded.
- If you think you’re being followed, make several turns down active streets. If the vehicle is still following you, drive to the nearest police or fire station or open store.
- Keep your purse on the floor.
The NYPD booklet has many more tips on protecting yourself against scams and deceptions, the dangers of prepaid gift cards, electronic skimmers that can steal your credit/debit card info, and more. It’s free and could save you from a lot of trouble and expense.