Especially during holiday breaks, the State College Police Department would like to remind students and all other residents to following sound safety practices to help reduce property loss and/or damage while away.
To reduce your chances of being a victim of a burglary or theft, below are safety tips that you should consider following:
- SECURE YOUR RESIDENCE: Lock all of your doors and windows. Consider placing a bar or piece of wood on the track of a sliding glass door to assist with securing the door. Be sure to close all of the curtains and blinds in your apt. or residence.
- SECURE VALUABLE ITEMS: Take valuable items and small electronics with you if possible. If items must be left behind, do not leave them in plain view near windows or doors and place them where they are not easily accessible. Please record serial numbers and note if the item is able to be tracked using a GPS locator (activate GPS applications).
- SECURE YOUR VEHICLE(S): Remember to lock car doors, park in a well lit area or a secure facility and remove all valuables from vehicles, especially those in plain view (GPS units, small electronics such as IPods, MP3 players and currency including change).
- HOLD MAIL AND NEWSPAPERS: Have your mail held and postpone newspaper delivery. Don’t make it obvious to others that you are away.
- HAVE A TRUSTED FRIEND/NEIGHBOR CHECK YOUR RESIDENCE: If your neighbor/friend is staying in the area while you’re away, arrange to have them watch over the apartment/residence from time to time and provide them with a contact number for you in the event of a problem.
- DON’T HIDE SPARE KEYS: Don’t hide spare keys outside of your apartment/residence.
- ENSURE SUFFICIENT LIGHTING: Make sure you have sufficient lighting around all of your doors, especially those not visible from the street. Buy a motion-sensitive light or a timer that automatically turns on exterior lights.
Additionally, the State College Police Department requests the public to be vigilant and to report any and all suspicious activity to the police immediately. Some suspicious behavior or activity may include, but is not limited to the following:
- Unknown persons knocking on doors of houses or apartments for no apparent reason or knocking on doors of multiple houses or apartments;
- Occupied vehicles parked in alleyways or along the street for an extended period of time;
- Vehicles driving down a street or through a neighborhood slowly or driving down a street or through a neighborhood several times; or
- Persons inexplicably loitering in a residential area.
If you would like more information on personal safety, please contact the State College Police Department's Community Relations Crime Prevention Section at (814) 234-7150.
Home Security During the Holidays
Holidays are a special time when families and friends come together to celebrate the season. It is also the time of year where families and friends are most generous and practice the tradition of gift giving. It should be a joyous and happy time for all of us.
Unfortunately for us, home burglars view the holiday season a little differently. For them, it is a time of opportunity to burglarize your home for cash, credit cards, and all the new gifts of small electronics, computers, jewelry, and easily sold valuables.
Here are a few tips of what they look for when shopping for a house to burglarize. These tips will help you enjoy the holidays without incident.
- Burglars look for an easy entry with good escape routes. Don’t openly display your Christmas tree and gifts in the front window so it’s easily visible from the street. It’s too tempting for them to smash the window and grab the wrapped packages.
- Burglars look for occupancy cues like outdoor lights burning 24 hours a day, piled up newspapers, or advertising flyers hanging on the door knob. Use an inexpensive light timer when you are away and ask a neighbor to keep the front of your home clean of papers and debris.
- Burglars know to look for the hidden door key near the front entrance. Don’t hide spare keys under rocks, in flowerpots, or above door ledges. Instead give the spare key to a trusted neighbor.
- Burglars prefer to enter through unlocked doors or windows. Sliding windows that are not secure can be seen from distance. One holiday problem can occur when exterior Christmas light extension cords are run inside through a window and prevent it from being secured. Hire an electrician or handyman to install an inexpensive exterior outlet for your holiday lights.
- Don’t post your family name on your mailbox or on you house. A burglar can call directory assistance to get your telephone number and call your home while in front of your house to confirm that you are away.
- Don’t leave descriptive telephone answering machine messages like, “You’ve reached the Wilson’s…we’re away skiing for the Christmas holidays…please leave a message.” Burglars love to hear that they have plenty of time to break in and completely ransack your home.
- After Christmas day, don’t pile up empty gift boxes from your new computer, DVD player, or stereo receiver on the street for the garbage man. Burglars appreciate knowing that you have expensive gifts inside for them to steal. Break them down or cut them up to conceal the items better. After a lucrative burglary, the chances of being burglarized again are increased to steal the new replacement products.
- Last, but not least, fortify your home by installing solid core doors, heavy duty locks, longer screws in the lock strike plates and door hinges, and install secondary security devices on all accessible sliding windows. See my webpage on burglary prevention at home security.
Information taken from an article by Chris E McGoey, CPP, CSP, CAM
Avoid Car Break-ins
State College Police Department would like to remind all residents and visitors to lock their vehicles when unattended. A number of motor vehicle thefts have occurred in our area recently and most of these thefts involve unlocked vehicles and soft top vehicles. It is suggested that all valuables be removed from soft top vehicles. Most recently, break-ins have occurred in the downtown are in parking lots around apartment buildings.
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design's (CPTED) theory is that the design of public spaces, traffic flow patterns, lighting levels, and ease of access all influence crime rates and how residents perceive crime in their community. CPTED concepts not only reduce crime but also combat the fear of crime. Tactics used in CPTED included blocking off streets or making them one way to discourage traffic, renovating courtyards in schools and apartment buildings, installing mechanical devices to monitor access to and from apartment buildings, improving street lighting, and landscaping areas so they are attractive but do not provide hiding places for criminals.
CPTED depends on a mixture of resident, police, and physical design tactics to be successful and demonstrate how environmental design can strengthen a neighborhood. If you would like a police officer to check the security aspects of new commercial or new residential construction or would like to enhance existing security at your home or business, please contact the State College Police Department's Community Relations/Crime Prevention Section at 814-234-7150 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vacation Home Check Service
Going away on vacation, leaving town for the weekend, or getting away from the cold State College weather for the entire winter, the State College Police can give you added peace of mind. Police will conduct perimeter checks of your residence to ensure it remains secure. We check your home to prevent burglary, theft, vandalism, and suspicious activity. Officers checking your home also look for unusual circumstances around your property. For example, did the water main break from the cold weather snap overnight? If problems are located, police will make the appropriate contacts to prevent further damage.
It's easy to register your home for a Vacation Home Check. Simply complete our online form or call the State College Police Department at (814) 234-7150 and provide the necessary information to our receptionist.
The State College Police Department assumes no responsibility for damage to your property or residence. Patrols provide the Vacation Home Check Service when manpower and calls for service permit.
For more information please contact the State College Police Department's Community Relations Crime Prevention Section at (814) 234-7150 or e-mail the Police Department.