Improve Safety Initiatives Within Your Family, Home and Community

October is Crime Prevention Month and it’s a great time to improve personal safety initiatives within your family, home and community. Each of us plays a role in preventing crime. Pasco Sheriff’s Office offers some steps to help protect homes and neighborhoods from crime.

Take the time to complete a home safety evaluation this Crime Prevention Month. Ensure all the locks to exterior doors and windows of the home are functioning properly and clear from any debris. Don’t forget to keep them locked at all times, too. Never leave a spare key near doors. Instead, ask a trusted neighbor to store one. Secure any outdoor items, such as grills, patio furniture or other valuable items, in a shed or a garage, to reduce the opportunity for theft or property damage. Check that fences and gate latches work well and are closed at all times. Finally, keep your home and yard clean and tidy. Illuminate dark areas, and trim overgrown trees or shrubs that can create hiding spots for intruders.

9pm routine

Don’t forget your 9 p.m. Routine each night to help eliminate opportunities for potential criminals! The 9 p.m. Routine is a daily habit of removing valuables from your car (don’t forget truck beds, too), and locking car and home doors each night before heading to bed. When doors are locked and valuables are out of sight, criminals are more likely to move on. Take a moment to do a quick visual check of your surrounding area when conducting your 9 p.m. Routine. If you see something suspicious in your neighborhood, report it to law enforcement immediately.

PSO encourages citizens always to lock car doors, fully close car windows and safely secure keys when parking. Easy access to car keys is the simplest way a criminal can steal a car. Never leave keys inside a car, and be intentional when storing keys. Many cars with push-to-start don’t require a criminal to find the key if it is hidden inside the car. If you leave a garage door opener in your car, ensuring your car doors are locked also keeps your home safe. Criminals can use your car’s garage door opener to gain access to your home too. Don’t forget to lock any connecting doors to your garage for extra security.

Stay alert and pay attention no matter how you commute to help keep our roadways safe. Drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians must follow the rules of the road and obey safety signals for everyone to stay safe. Prioritize your ability to see and be seen, and use the proper safety equipment to avoid injuries. Wear bright colors and include something reflective to increase visibility while enjoying outdoor activities. Cross streets where drivers can readily see you, and remember not to cross streets between parked cars where drivers might not see until it’s too late. Drivers should use extra caution is residential areas, and never let distractions, such as phones, steer your attention away from the road.

Distracted Driving

Just like protecting your home, digital safety is important for your family too! PSO recommends parents and guardians talk with children about safe and appropriate behavior online. Predators can easily lie about their identity and motive for speaking with children online. Open conversations can prepare kids with the valuable information they need to protect themselves from becoming victims to online predators. As digital technology and the internet evolves, criminals are presented with new methods to commit cybercrime and scams. Recognizing a scam is the first step in preventing yourself from becoming a victim. If you receive a phone call you think may be a scam, hang up and call the number listed online for that business instead. Scammers will stress pressure to act immediately, and request specific payment methods such as gift cards or money transfers in a scam.  Reputable businesses won’t request payment in the form of gift cards. 

By taking a few simple steps and being cautious, you can prevent yourself from becoming a victim in a variety of crimes. Sharing these tips with your family and friends can keep Pasco County a safe place for all. This Crime Prevention Month, take time to evaluate your safety practices and help keep our communities safe.

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