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Crime Prevention Tips

The Palmer Police Department is actively engaged in the prevention of crime and the protection of potential victims. The information contained here are some programs and information which help prevent crime in our community.

Three factors must be present for a crime to occur: desire, ability, and opportunity.

YOU can have a significant impact on the last one, OPPORTUNITY, and can significantly reduce crime by taking simple crime prevention steps.

Please see below for helpful information on preventing crime:

Home Security

  • Use a door viewer before opening your door. Always demand identification from strangers (even repair or salespersons).
  • Always lock up your home before leaving.
  • Don't hide your house keys outdoors anywhere.
  • Use interior and exterior lighting at all times.
  • Have keys ready and in your hand for immediate use when you return home.
  • Join Operation Identification - most burglars will not steal marked property.
  • Check to make sure your doors and windows can be secured well.

Exterior Doors
Many residential doors feature hollow-core construction and poor locks. They are easily forced or kicked open. If you desire additional protection, you need solid doors and quality locks.

Acadia Doors 
Many burglars enter homes through poorly protected Acadia doors. Additional locks and security measures here will prevent the door from being opened or lifted out of the track. Screws installed in the track above the sliding door frame will prevent the door from being lifted out of the track. Drill a pilot hole in the top track above, and slightly in, from each corner of the sliding door frame section and install a screw into each hole. Adjust the screws so that the head of the screw just barely clears the frame when it is moved back and forth.

Double Doors 
These doors need solid security as they are easily jimmied or forced open. Flush lever bolts installed at the top and bottom of the doors are recommended. Make sure the bolt is long, sturdy and mounted on a solid door frame.

Doors with Windows 
Doors with glass windows or glass ornamentation require double key deadbolt locks. This prevents the burglar from breaking the glass and reaching inside to unlock the door. The key to a double key deadbolt lock should be left in the lock at all times when someone is home (this is necessary to ensure easy exit in the event of a fire or other emergency).

Garage Doors 
Standard locks on garage doors are easily pried, allowing a burglar access to your home without detection. Cane bolts and hasps are excellent protection. Make certain each side of the garage door is secured to prevent prying open a crawl space. The door leading from the garage into the house should be securely locked. The more barriers you provide against the burglar, the better protected you are.

Hinges 
Many homes have doors which open to the outside, exposing the hinge pins. Despite your good strong lock, the burglar can remove the pins and lift the door from the frame. To prevent this, remove two opposing screws from each leaf of the hinge. Screw a long lag bolt into the frame side of the hinge leaf and saw off the head leaving about an inch protruding. Drill out the opposite hole to allow the bolt to enter when the door is closed. Do this to the top and bottom hinge plates. The hinge pins can now be removed by the burglar but the door will remain firmly in place. This technique is good for any door, no matter how the hinges have been placed.

Door Viewers 
In order to avoid opening your door without knowing who is there, install a door viewer. This device has a wide angle lens to let you see someone standing outside your door without opening it.

Spring Latch 
Some homes come equipped with this lock. It offers very little protection. The bolt can be slipped with a credit card or knife. This same lock, with a deadbolt latch, provides more protection, but it too can be forced open.

Deadbolt Locks 
A deadbolt lock can provide good protection. When you turn the key, the lock mechanism slides a strong metal bolt from the door into the frame. When you buy a deadbolt lock, make sure: 
The bolt extends at least one inch from the edge of the door. 
The connecting screws that hold the lock together are on the inside of the door. 
The strike plate is attached to the door frame with screws that measure at least three inches in length. 
The cylinder has a steel guard around the key section. The cylinder guard should be tapered or rotate freely around the key section to prevent wrenching if it is twisted.

Single Cylinder Deadbolt 
A solid bolt, activated by a key from the outside or a knob on the inside, slides into the door frame. The lock cannot be slipped or easily pried. Deadbolt locks are only as good as the door and frame they are installed in.

Double Cylinder Deadbolt 
This lock is basically the same as the single cylinder deadbolt, except that it requires a key to be used from either side to function.

Rim Lock 
This lock has either horizontal or vertical deadbolt. It cannot be easily slipped, pried or forced with a wrench. This lock, like all others, requires a strong mounting surface and hardware to be effective.

Padlocks 
When selecting padlocks to secure your garage door, storage shed, fence gate or toolbox, do not economize. Low priced locks are made from low-quality materials and easily pried open or cut with bolt cutters. Look for these features when purchasing a padlock:
Double Locking Shackle at the Toe and Heel 
Hardened steel shackle, the larger the diameter the better

Five pin tumbler 
Key retaining feature (prevents removal of the key when unlocked) 
A strong steel hasp should be used with the padlock

Sliding Windows 
Sliding glass windows should be given the same security treatment as Acadia doors. Use the same supplementary locks or screws in the frame. Screws installed in the track above the sliding window frame will prevent the window from being lifted out of the track. Drill a pilot hole in the top track above each corner of the window frame and install a screw into each hole. Adjust the screws so that the head of the screw just barely clears the frame when it is moved back and forth.

Casement - Crank Windows 
These windows are easily secured. The latch should close properly with the window tight. With the latch in a closed position, drill a small hole through the latch frame and handle. Insert a metal pin through the hole to lock the window. For additional security, a small padlock can be used in place of the pin. Key operated replacement latches are also available from a locksmith or hardware store. Keep the key handy in case of emergency.

Double Hung Windows 
An easy, inexpensive way to secure your windows is to use the "pin" trick. Drill an angled hole through the top frame of the lower window partially into the frame of the upper window. Then insert the pin (a nail or an eyebolt which is slightly smaller in diameter than the hole). The window can't be opened until you remove the pin. Make a second set of holes with windows partially open so you can have ventilation without inviting intruders. 
You may also purchase special key locks for windows at a hardware store.

Business Security

Business Security
How to protect yourself from business burglary:
  • Install lighting at the front and back as well as near any side doors of your business. Try to eliminate as many shadows as possible.
  • Use only solid core doors. Be sure the door frames cannot easily be jimmied.
  • Use deadbolts and be sure to change the locks every time an employee with access to them leaves.
  • Install burglar-resistant glass or use wire mesh or iron bars over all glass.
  • Arrange merchandise so that a passerby can see into the store.
  • Keep your expensive merchandise away from the windows, toward the center of the store.
  • Keep front windows free from posters, etc., which can prevent a burglar inside from being seen by a passerby.
  • Install and use a drop safe. Limit the amount of cash in the register and post signs indicating that a drop safe is used and register only has limited cash.
  • Check ventilation system to ensure it can not be used to gain entry.
  • Install an alarm system. At a minimum install door contact alarms.

Vacation Planning

You Are Going On Vacation - Help Burglars Take One Too!

  • An empty house is a tempting target for a burglar. Use this checklist of tips to help safeguard your home while you're away.
  • Have good locks on all doors and windows, and USE THEM!
  • Ask a neighbor to watch the house while you're away. It's a good idea to leave your vacation address and telephone number with a neighbor so you can be reached in case of an emergency.
  • Never leave your house key hidden outside your home.
  • Stop all deliveries, or arrange for a neighbor to pick up your mail, newspapers, and packages.
  • Arrange for someone to mow your lawn, rake leaves and maintain the yard to give the home a lived-in look.
  • Plug in timers to turn lights and a radio or television on and off at appropriate times. This helps to disguises the fact that you are away.
  • Turn the bell or ringer on your telephone down to low. If a burglar is around, he won't be alerted to your absence by a ringing phone.
  • Don't announce your absence on answering machine messages.
  • Leave your blinds, shades, and curtains in a normal position. Don't close them unless that is what you do when you are home.
  • Close and lock garage doors and windows. Ask a neighbor to occasionally park in your driveway.
  • If you leave your car at home, park it as you normally would. Vehicles parked outside should be moved occasionally to appear that they are being used.
  • Secure storage sheds, attic entrances, and gates.
  • Tell your local police you plan to be away. At Palmer Police Department, fill out an EPW (Extra Patrol Watch) form. Patrol officers may have the opportunity to periodically check your home.
  • Engrave your valuables as recommended in Operation I.D. This simple step will allow your stolen property to be identified and returned to you if recovered by the police.

Travel Safely!

At home or away, staying alert can save the day!

  • If you are driving, make sure your vehicle has been properly serviced and is in suitable condition for the journey.
  • Try to have specific directions and routes to your destination.
  • If you get lost, call the local police for directions or assistance.
  • Keep your vehicle doors and windows locked.
  • At stop lights and other traffic delays, leave enough space in front of your vehicle so that you have an escape option in case of an emergency.
  • Let someone know the route you intend to travel and your itinerary. This will help authorities in locating you if there is a need to do so.
  • Plan your trip carefully and allow for factors such as weather, fatigue, facilities for lodging, food, and fuel. Be sure you have sufficient finances, either cash, traveler's checks or credit cards.
  • Ask the hotel or motel staff about their security measures so you know what to expect.
  • Use the hotel safe to store your valuables during your stay.
  • Staying alert to safety may make your vacation much more pleasant and enjoyable. Being a victim of a crime is no fun.
  • RELAX, have FUN, and be SAFE!

Prevent Motor Vehicle Theft

Some tips to protect your vehicle from theft:

  • When you park your car, close the windows, lock the doors and take the key with you.
  • If you must leave a key with a parking attendant, leave only your vehicle's ignition key.
  • Install and use anti-theft devices, whether an alarm or a protective device like a club or a collar. Be sure to activate the device every time you leave your vehicle.
  • Park only in well-lighted areas near other vehicles.
  • Keep valuables out of sight, preferably locked away in the trunk.
  • Don't hide a spare key in a magnetic key box; thieves know all the hiding places.
  • At home, if possible, put your car away in a locked garage, or at least parked in the driveway.
  • If you have two cars and one of them is easy to break into, then park it in your driveway so it's blocked by the other car.
  • When you park your car, turn the front wheels to the left or right and put the emergency brake on. This locks the wheels, making it difficult for a thief to tow your car.

Protect Your Children

Help your children to be safe:

  • Teach them to never talk to strangers.
  • Teach them never to ride their bikes alone; always ride with a buddy and always wear their helmet.
  • Teach them to never play in the street.
  • Teach them to always look both ways and watch for cars before entering or crossing the street.
  • Establish neighborhood boundaries in which they may play.
  • Teach them to never open the door to a stranger when home alone.
  • Teach them that, when answering the telephone, never give out any personal information or let the person who calls know if they are alone.
  • Teach them to be sure to let their parents know exactly where they will be and for how long, and to always call and let them know if they decide to go somewhere else.
  • If they should see a gun, teach them to stop, don't touch, call an adult.
  • Teach them to never get into a car with someone they don't know.
  • If they feel threatened, teach them to run away as fast as they can.
  • Develop a secret password that must be used if someone unfamiliar is to pick them up from school or play.
  • If they come home and something about their house doesn't look right, teach them to go immediately to a neighbor's for help.

Security Systems


Click here for a link to review home security systems.

Please note: The Palmer Police Department does not endorse any of the home security companies listed in the review. The review is provided as information only.