Crime Prevention Tips
Savannah Police remind you that you can help prevent crime. By taking some basic steps to “target harden” your home, your car, your belongings and your family, you can help police make our community safe and secure.
SPD Offers Free Business / Home Inspections!
The Crime Prevention Officers of each precinct are available on an appointment basis to come to your home or business, inspect it for security and give you advice on how to better protect you, your family and your belongings. The officers will show you how to properly mark your larger valuables for identification and how to make an inventory list. The service is free of charge! If you are interested in having this free service performed, simply contact your local precinct at the following numbers to arrange for an appointment.
Cpl. Josh Flynn
E-Mail Cpl. Flynn
Officer Jaymi Blake
E-Mail Officer Blake
Cpl. Rebekah Helmick
E-mail Cpl. Helmick
Cpl. Eric Rimes
E-mail Cpl. Rimes
Cpl. Wanya Hendrix
E-mail Cpl. Hendrix
(912) 525-3100 ext: 3008
Register your Valuable Property
When Property Crimes occur, the stolen items often end up at pawn shops. With the SPD Pawn Unit teaming up with local pawn shops and Leads Online, a new database that compares what is bought at local pawn shops to an inventory of reported stolen items, SPD can more easily recover stolen property. Leads Online also offers the citizens of the City of Savannah and Chatham County the ability to create a personal inventory of their belongings. This inventory can contain pictures, serial numbers, descriptions and scan of purchase reciepts to a secure, password protected database. This inventory is then added to the data that is scanned by Leads Online to check for pawned stolen property. In the end, this results in higher recovery rates of stolen property and prosecution of the criminal who are pawning it for quick money.
To start your own inventory or to learn more about Report It from Leads Online click the image above.
How to Prevent Identity Theft
Identity Theft occurs when someone steals your personal information, your social security number, or your checking or credit card numbers and then poses as you. The thief then has complete access to your money, and they can and will spend it as they wish.
It can take months and even years to undo the mess created by a thief in just days or even minutes; however, you can make it tougher for thieves to access your information. Below are some simple reminders of how to best protect yourself, your money, and your good name:
- Do not give out personal information. Credit card numbers, social security numbers, and other identifying numbers are already on file with the financial institutions you do business with. Legitimate business will not call you and ask for that information. Remember, if someone has a right to this information about you, they should already have it!
- Report lost or stolen checks. The numbers contained on your checks can give clear access to a thief. Always properly store cancelled checks and examine new checks to be sure none were stolen in shipment. Make sure you store them in a safe and secure location.
- Destroy unused financial solicitations. Before discarding unwanted junk mail, be sure to tear-up or shred it since it may contain information that a thief could use to steal your identity. Remember to safely destroy any types of financial statements or receipts since they also contain sensitive information.
- Guard your ATM card and PIN number. While these types of cards can make life easier for you, they can completely disrupt your life if they fall into the hands of a thief. Always guard your card and PIN and never leave receipts laying around. Also, never allow someone to stand behind you at a teller machine. Thieves are trained at watching the key pad for PIN numbers.
- Make sure your mailbox is secure. Promptly remove mail when it has been delivered. Thieves often raid mailboxes to obtain credit card information or financial statements.
- Contact the major credit reporting companies. These companies can tell you who or what company has accessed your credit report. A copy can be obtained for a small fee from the company. The three major companies are:
- Equifax: (800) 685-1111
- Experian: (888) 397-3742
- TransUnion: (800) 916-8800
If you have been a victim of identity theft, take these steps immediately:
- Call police and file a report
- Contact your bank(s) and financial institutions
- Contact your credit card suppliers
- Contact the Social Security Fraud Hotline at (800) 269-0271
If you are a victim of fraud or identity theft, contact each of the three national consumer reporting agencies. Ask each agency to place a fraud alert on your credit report and send you a copy of your credit file. This is free if you are a victim of identity theft, if you have been denied credit, if you receive welfare benefits or if you are unemployed. The three agencies are:
P.O. Box 105873
Atlanta, GA 30348
Order Report: (800) 685-111
Fraud: (800) 525-6285
P.O. Box 596
Pittsburgh, PA. 15230
Order Report: (888)397-3742
Fraud: (800) 311-4769
P.O. Box 34012
Fullerton, CA 92834
Order Report: (800) 916-8800
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also has an identity theft affidavit to help you report information to companies using one standard form.
Reporting Fraudulent use of Your Checks
If you are unable to write checks because of bad checks written in your name, the merchant will direct you to one of the check verification services below. If you are unable to open a checking account because of the activities of an impostor, contact Chexsystems or one of the resources listed below:
- CheckRite: (800) 766-2748
- Chexsystems: (800) 428-9623
- CrossCheck: (707) 586-0551
- Equifax: (800) 437-5120
- National Processing Co.: (800) 526-5380
- SCAN: (800) 262-7771
- Telecheck: (800) 710-9898
Stolen cars, vans, trucks and motorcycles cause economic hardship for victims, increase everyone’s insurance premiums, and may be used to commit violent crimes. Every day cars and trucks are stolen from malls, streets, driveways, parking lots and garages, and car dealerships. Vehicle theft can happen any place and at any time.
A few common sense steps can help you avoid being a victim of the nations fastest growing property crime:
- Never leave your car running unattended.
- Never leave your keys in the car or ignition.
- Always roll up your windows and lock the car, even if it is in front of your home.
- Never leave valuables in plain view, even if your car is locked. This is the No. 1 reason cars are broken into. Put them in the trunk out of sight.
- Always park in busy, well-lit areas whenever possible.
- Install a mechanical device that locks to the steering wheel, column, or brake to prevent the wheel from being turned more than a few degrees. These devices are commonly referred to as clubs, collars, or J-bars and may serve as a deterrent if installed properly.
- Investigate the purchase of an auto security system if you live in a high-theft area or drive a theft-prone vehicle.
- Always leave just the ignition key with the attendant if you park in a commercial garage or lot. Make sure no identifying information is attached. Do the same when you take your car for repairs.
- Carry your registration and insurance card with you. Don’t leave personal identification documents or credit cards in your vehicle.
- Copy your license plate and vehicle identification (VIN) numbers on a card and keep them with your driver’s license. If your vehicle is stolen, police will need this information promptly.
Parking Lot Safety
Here are just a few safety tips for parking your car in a public or private parking lot:
- Always lock the car and roll up the windows all the way. If you have any valuables or packages, lock them in the trunk.
- If you’re staying late, park the car near an exit or the attendant — not in an area that will be empty and remote when you leave.
- As you approach the car, have your keys ready and check the seats before getting in.
- You might also ask the security guard or a co-worker to escort you to your car.
- By taking a common sense attitude towards ones security, owners and users can both greatly increase the safety of the parking lot. It may not be heaven, but at least it will be crime free.
Vacation Home Security
So you’re going on vacation and want your house and contents to be safe and secure while you’re gone? Well here are some tips that will reduce your odds of becoming a victim:
Cancel all regular deliveries:
- Get a neighbor to take in any free papers and mail
Before leaving, see that:
- All outside doors, garages, and tool sheds are locked
- Turn off gas and water supplies when on extended trips (contact a qualified plumber or utility service provider)
- Arrange for your pets to be looked after
- Have someone cut the lawn in your absence
- Let a reliable neighbor have a key to remove mail and papers from view and to keep an eye on the property for you when you are away
- Deposit all valuables, such as jewelry, in a safety deposit box or with trusted friends.
- Do not lock any internal doors. In the event of a break-in it will mean more damage.
- Try to make the house look occupied. Use a time switch for lighting a main room or hallway.
- If your TV or stereo has a timer, use it.
Then fill out a vacant home notice form and send via fax, email or mail it to the crime prevention officer in your precinct to let us know you’ll be away.
Basic Home Security
The following information is provided for informational services only. It is in no way intended to be an endorsement for any type of alarm, alarm system or alarm company.
Doors & Windows
- Security starts with properly locked doors and windows, since these are the most common entry points.
- Install dead bolts.
- Use a door brace of some sort for sliding glass doors.
- All locks should be changed when you move into a previously occupied house no mater who you’ve purchased the home from.
- Don’t hide keys anywhere. Keys hidden outside are easily found.
- Don’t encourage a burglar by displaying valuable items where they can be seen from a window. Purses and wallets left in plain sight are prime targets.
- Engrave all your property with unique identifiers.
- Make a list of all your valuables, including serial numbers.
While Away From Home
- Leave on a radio or TV. Many radios and TVs have timers you can set to come on at specific times.
- Consider putting lights on a timer if you return home after dark regularly, including motion sensitive flood lights.
If you will be away for a few days:
- Arrange for someone to cut the grass.
- Ask your neighbor to park in your driveway.
- Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on house and pick up your mail and newspapers.
Install a Home Security Device
- Noise is the burglar’s biggest enemy. Even when the above tips are used, an intruder-sensing alarm is necessary.
- Physical security, like locks and good neighbors or dogs, can be easily overcome.
- An alarm system will make so much noise that a burglar will not stay and is less likely to run off with anything. Once the alarm is sounded, the intruder knows he has been detected and will waste no time in exiting.
- Of course, if you are present at the time and are alerted, take any precautionary actions that could save your life.
How to Avoid Being Assaulted
- Avoid walking or running alone at night. Instead go walking or jogging with a friend.
- Don’t use headphones while walking, driving, or jogging.
- Always walk in well-lit areas.
- Avoid the use of shortcuts.
- After dark, keep away from large bushes or doorways where someone could be lurking.
- Always stay near the curb.
- If someone in a vehicle stops and asks for directions, answer from a distance. Do not approach the vehicle.
- If you suspect that you are being followed, go immediately to an area with lights and people. If needed, turn around and walk in the opposite direction, your follower will also have to reverse directions.
- Never display or “flash” your cash, especially when leaving an ATM.
Carjacking: Reduce the Risk
- As you walk to your car, look around.
- Before you get into your car, look on the inside.
- When traveling, make sure that your car has plenty of gas and is in good working order.
- Avoid traveling alone, especially at night.
- Lock your car doors and roll up windows whenever you are in your car.
- Decide on a well-lit traveling route. Let someone know your plans and estimated arrival time.
- Don’t open your car door or window to strangers if you feel threatened.
- Park in safe, well-lit areas.
- If a carjacker demands your car or keys, give them up. Your car is insured and can be replaced – you can’t. Remember, a survivor is a winner!