Here are some tips to help you avoid being a victim of car break-ins.
Get an alarm
Invest in an alarm for your vehicle to drive away criminals.
Lock your doors
Criminals gained access to vehicles through unlocked doors in nearly a quarter of all thefts from vehicles. Never leave your car unlocked, even if you’re away only briefly, and even in your own driveway.
Clean up inside
An empty bag or container could tempt thieves. If your SUV or station wagon has an open compartment, secure it with a retractable cover.
Hide your valuables
Don’t leave valuables in sight inside your vehicle. Put wallets, electronics, and purses in the trunk or carry them with you. Don’t forget accessories like adapters, windshield mounts, and power plugs.
Hide before parking
Thieves look for drivers in parking lots hiding their valuables: Put new items in your trunk when you return from the store, not when you get to the next destination.
By Sgt. Twana Chick, Metro Police
Although West Precinct has made numerous arrests of burglars recently, we need everyone to remain watchful and willing to call in suspicious activity.
Take notice and call police if someone knocks on your door and has any kind of odd exchange with you. That’s a huge red flag. CALL US if they knock, look in the windows, and then express surprise when you yell through the door. (Don’t open it.)
If they ask for someone you’ve never heard of and you’ve lived there a decade, get nervous and CALL.
If they say they are selling vacuum cleaners but they have no literature, no vacuums, and no vehicle, CALL. If they come to your door offering a too-good-to-be-true deal on gutters, yard work, driveway sealant, painting, junk removal, or anything else, CALL.
If they say they are selling anything and have no permit around their neck, CALL.
If they are sitting in the street, and you know the car doesn’t belong to neighbors, CALL. (They might need our help, after all.) If someone walks down your driveway or your neighbor’s driveway in the middle of the day, CALL.
If you see them go into your neighbor’s yard and take their furniture, garden hose, lawnmower, bicycle, utility trailer, or anything else when the neighbor is gone, CALL. I assure you it won’t really be their nephew Johnny who has permission to use the mower while they are at work.
If you see interior car lights coming on up and down the street at midnight, someone is checking door handles. CALL. If your car alarm goes off at 1 a.m., don’t assume it is nothing. CALL.
If you see people wandering around your neighborhood with no obvious purpose, and you know your neighborhood is having burglaries, you don’t have to decide if they are up to something. That’s our job, and we will happily talk to them. CALL. They might be skipping school, they might be burglars, or they might be a neighbor you don’t know who will be glad someone is paying attention.
DO lock your doors even when you are home.
DO lock your mowers, tillers, etc. up even when you go inside for a bathroom break.
DO pay attention—especially this time of year—to trucks and trailers cruising the area. Think of how few seconds it takes to throw a mower in the back and keep driving.
DO have pictures of all your jewelry, silver, electronics, and other valuables.
DO NOT leave your valuables in your vehicle even in your own driveway, especially purses, wallets, laptops, guns, and checkbooks. Always remove the valuables, and always lock the car!
You have helped us catch so many suspects. Know that we are still counting on you.
Even though we have extra persons out there, you will still see more than we do. That will always be true.
Be sure to call 862-8600 to get to those who are working at that moment. If you want to send me an email secondarily with the same information, that’s great: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Victimization of persons through the criminal use of the Internet continues to be a problem. Please encourage your friends and family to not post personal information, including vacation plans, on the Internet.
Use due caution when adding persons as “friends” on social networking sites.
Parents, pay close attention to what your children are sharing. Revealing that you received an expensive new item for your home and that you will be out of town for a week raises the likelihood that you will suffer a loss.
Additionally, talk with your not-so-computer-savvy relatives and friends about using caution, and warn them of links in emails that can install malicious programs.
Those who grew up with computers have a distinct advantage over those who did not. If you have a good understanding of the dangers, help educate them. You can save them from financial hardship.
Numerous arrests resulted recently from the owner’s having locator software on the electronic device, and leads from this are still being followed. This one citizen’s diligence led to the arrest of numerous persons, recovery of hundreds of items, cases solved from three counties, and two search warrants executed.
I cannot stress enough the importance of enabling the tracking software on your iPads, iPhones, Android devices, laptops, and other devices. It takes moments and costs pennies.
Be alert to changing weather conditions.
Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.
Look for approaching storms.
Look for the following danger signs:
If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.
If you are under a tornado WARNING, seek shelter immediately!
If you are in: Then:
A structure (e.g. residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building). Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.
A vehicle, trailer, or mobile home. Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.
The outside with no shelter. Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.
The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family, and your property in the event of a fire:
Install smoke alarms. Properly working smoke alarms decrease your chances of dying in a fire by half.
Place smoke alarms on every level of your residence. Place them outside bedrooms on the ceiling or high on the wall (4 to 12 inches from ceiling), at the top of open stairways, or at the bottom of enclosed stairs and near (but not in) the kitchen.
Test and clean smoke alarms once a month and replace batteries at least once a year. Replace smoke alarms once every 10 years.
Escaping the Fire
Review escape routes with your family. Practice escaping from each room.
Make sure windows are not nailed or painted shut. Make sure security gratings on windows have a fire safety opening feature so they can be easily opened from the inside.
Consider escape ladders if your residence has more than one level, and ensure that burglar bars and other antitheft mechanisms that block outside window entry are easily opened from the inside.
Teach family members to stay low to the floor (where the air is safer in a fire) when escaping from a fire.
Clean out storage areas. Do not let trash, such as old newspapers and magazines, accumulate.
Never use gasoline, benzine, naptha, or similar flammable liquids indoors.
Store flammable liquids in approved containers in well-ventilated storage areas.
Never smoke near flammable liquids.
Discard all rags or materials that have been soaked in flammable liquids after you have used them. Safely discard them outdoors in a metal container.
Insulate chimneys and place spark arresters on top. The chimney should be at least three feet higher than the roof. Remove branches hanging above and around the chimney.
Be careful when using alternative heating sources.
Check with your local fire department on the legality of using kerosene heaters in your community. Be sure to fill kerosene heaters outside, and be sure they have cooled.
Place heaters at least three feet away from flammable materials. Make sure the floor and nearby walls are properly insulated.
Use only the type of fuel designated for your unit and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
Store ashes in a metal container outside and away from your residence.
Keep open flames away from walls, furniture, drapery, and flammable items.
Keep a screen in front of the fireplace.
Have heating units inspected and cleaned annually by a certified specialist.
Matches and Smoking
Keep matches and lighters up high, away from children, and, if possible, in a locked cabinet.
Never smoke in bed or when drowsy or medicated. Provide smokers with deep, sturdy ashtrays. Douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before disposal.
Have the electrical wiring in your residence checked by an electrician.
Inspect extension cords for frayed or exposed wires or loose plugs.
Make sure outlets have cover plates and no exposed wiring.
Make sure wiring does not run under rugs, over nails, or across high-traffic areas.
Do not overload extension cords or outlets. If you need to plug in two or three appliances, get a UL-approved unit with built-in circuit breakers to prevent sparks and short circuits.
Make sure insulation does not touch bare electrical wiring.
Sleep with your door closed.
Install A-B-C-type fire extinguishers in your residence and teach family members how to use them.
Consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system in your residence.
Ask your local fire department to inspect your residence for fire safety and prevention.
To prepare for a thunderstorm, you should do the following:
Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.
Remember the 30/30 lightning safety rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
The following are guidelines for what you should do if a thunderstorm is likely in your area:
Avoid the following:
Add the following supplies to your disaster supplies kit:
Prepare your home and family
Prepare for possible isolation in your home by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off. For example, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.
Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment. Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled friends, neighbors or employees.
Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow – or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.
Prepare your car
Check or have a mechanic check the following items on your car:
Antifreeze levels: Ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
Battery and ignition system: Should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
Brakes: Check for wear and fluid levels.
Exhaust system: Check for leaks and crimped pipes andrepair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.
Fuel and air filters. Replace and keep water out of the system by using additives and maintaining a full tank of gas.
Heater and defroster: Ensure they work properly.
Lights and flashing hazard lights: Check for serviceability.
Oil: Check for level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
Thermostat: Ensure it works properly.
Windshield wiper equipment: Repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.
Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.
Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.
Place a winter emergency kit in each car that includes:
Dress for the Weather
Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
Wear a hat.
To prepare for extreme heat, you should:
To prepare for a flood, you should:
The smartest thing you can do to prepare for floods is purchase flood insurance.
Earthquakes strike suddenly, violently and without warning. Identifying potential hazards ahead of time and advance planning can reduce the dangers of serious injury or loss of life from an earthquake. Repairing deep plaster cracks in ceilings and foundations, anchoring overhead lighting fixtures to the ceiling, and following local seismic building standards, will help reduce the impact of earthquakes.
Check for Hazards in the Home
Identify Safe Places Indoors and Outdoors
Educate Yourself and Family Members
Have Disaster Supplies on Hand
Develop an Emergency Communication Plan
In case family members are separated from one another during an earthquake (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster.
Help Your Community Get Ready
Many communities have Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) whose responsibilities include collecting information about hazardous materials in the community and making this information available to the public upon request. The LEPCs also are tasked with developing an emergency plan to prepare for and respond to chemical emergencies in the community. Ways the public will be notified and actions the public must take in the event of a release are part of the plan.
Contact the LEPCs to find out more about chemical hazards and what needs to be done to minimize the risk to individuals and the community from these materials. Your local emergency management office can provide contact information on the LEPCs. Tennessee Agency of Emergency Management
You should add the following supplies to your disaster kit:
Prepare to deal with a terrorist incident by adapting many of the same techniques used to prepare for other crises.
People who live or work in a multi-level building can do the following:
Authorities will determine if evacuation is necessary based on the type and duration of the incident. Other considerations are the length of time it should take to evacuate the area, weather conditions, and the time of day.
If evacuated: Stay tuned to a radio or television for information on evacuation routes, temporary shelters, and other procedures. Follow the routes recommended by the authorities–shortcuts may not be safe.
Shelters: Temporary shelters are schools, churches and other places of public assembly that are utilized during incidents requiring citizens to be evacuated from a specific area of The City of Franklin or Williamson County. Tune to radio and television for information on the nearest open shelter to your location. If radio and television communications are disrupted, local emergency personnel will direct you as needed.
Take pre-assembled emergency supplies.
Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance such as infants, elderly people and people with disabilities.
Plan to take your pets with you; do not leave them behind. Because pets are not permitted in public shelters, follow your plan to go to a relative or friend’s home, or find a location that will allow pets.
If asked to stay indoors (“In-Place Sheltering”), seal your house so contaminants cannot enter. Close and lock windows and doors. Seal gaps under doorways and windows with wet towels and duct tape. Seal gaps around window and air conditioning units, bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, and stove and dryer vents with duct tape and plastic sheeting, wax paper or aluminum wrap.
Close fireplace dampers. Close off nonessential rooms such as storage areas, laundry rooms and extra bedrooms.
Turn off ventilation systems.
In case of storm or natural disaster, Hillsboro Church of Christ at the corner of Hillsboro Pike and Tyne Boulevard will be open to the public as a safe place to come for shelter. MAP