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We, at the Centreville Police Department, are concerned about your safety. Below are some helpful hints in keeping you and your family safe.
Doors should be metal clad or solid core wood construction. A deadlock, in addition to the key-in-the-knob lock, is essential. Use a wide-angle viewer rather than a door chain to observe callers. A screen door or storm door offers additional protection if kept locked.
All ground floor windows should have some means of locking the window. Keep your windows closed and locked when you are away. Screens and storm windows should be securely fastened to the structure. It is NOT recommended to nail your windows closed as you may need to open the windows in a hurry in case of a fire.
Keep your second floor secure by trimming tree branches away from the house to prevent climbing, and do not store ladders where a burglar can use them. Lock all windows while you are away. Take the same precautions as with ground windows.
The garage door should always be closed and locked. Make sure that you treat the entrance door from the garage to your house the same as any other door. A burglar in your garage can work on the garage door undetected.
Treat all exterior doors on the rear and sides of your home as probable targets for entry. Since they may be less observable from the street and by neighbors than your front entrance, you may need to take extra precautions.
Each exterior entrance-including the garage door should be well lighted. Post lights in your yard or floodlights mounted under the eaves to prevent blind spots where burglars can hide. Low-cost controls for exterior lights will turn them on and off at specified times, or light sensors will illuminate them from dusk to dawn.
When you are away from home - whether on vacation or just for the evening - keep some interior lights burning. To create the appearance that someone is at home, use a timer to turn lights on and off at normal times. A radio playing adds to the illusion that the house is occupied.
When placing trees, bushes, and flowers remember to keep doorways, windows, and porches clear. Remember that the bushes that provide you with privacy also give a burglar a place to hide. Keep the yard up kept giving the presence that someone is staying there.
Talk with your neighbors about your concern about burglary. Tell them what you are doing to protect your home. Ask them to report any suspicious persons or activities around your home to the police. Good neighbors make safe neighbors.
The internet can be a fun and safe place to surf. However, there are those individuals that are out there that may wish to do harm to yourself as well as your children and that is why we have this section for computer/internet safety.
Parents, make sure you know what sites and the kind of sites that your children are visiting. Remember in chat rooms the peson you are talking to may not be the person he/she says he/she is. It is best never to give out any type of identifying information in the chat room, such as your home address, school name, telephone number, email address, or information that can lead that person to you.
Be extremely cautious about anyone wanting to meet with you and play it safe. Meet that person in a public place and have some friends with you for your safety. NEVER let your children make actual contact with a person they have met over the internet without supervision and other people present.
Be cautious of anything on social media and e-commerce sites. That age-old saying "if it sounds too good to be true, chances are it is."
Report to your internet service provider any threatening or obscene suggestive messages that you get, contact the police department if you feel the message is strange or weird.
Set some rules and guidelines for the computer and make a little reminder sheet and post near the computer. Also, think about using a program to limit access to certain types of sites.
Place your computer in a room where you are able to see the screen while your child is on the computer. Monitor the time your child is on the internet.
If yhou receive anything that you feel is weird or strange do not hesitate to notify the police department.
Safety tips from the FBI
Never give out identifying information such a Name, Home Address, School Name, or Telephone Number in a public message such as at a chat room or on social media sites. Never send a person a picture of you without first checking with your parent or guardian.
Never respond to messages or social media items that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, threatening, or make you feel uncomfortable.
Be careful when someone offers you something for nothing, such as gifts and money. Be very careful about any offers that involve your coming to a meeting or having someone visit your house.
Tell your parent or guardian right away if you come across any informtion that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Never arrange a face-to-face meeting without telling your parent or guardian. If your parent or guardian agrees to the meeting, make sure that you meet in a public place and have a parent or guardian with you.
Remember that people online may not be who they seem. Because you can't hear the person it would be easy for someone to misrepresent him or herself. Thus, someone indicating that "she" is a "12-year-old-girl" could in reality be an older man.
Be sure that you are dealing with someone that you and your parents know and trust before giving out any personal information about yourself via Email.
Get to know your "online friends" just as you get to know all of your other friends.
Would your Child Know What To Do If:
He/she got lost at a shopping mall, a nice, friendly stranger offered a ride home after school, a babysitter wanted to play a secret game that no one would know about, or a friend dared him/her to hitchhike.
Start with the basics
Rehearse with your child his or her full name, address, and phone number including area code, and how to make emergency phone calls from home and public phones. Practice on an unplugged phone.
Teach your child to go to a store clerk or security guard and ask for help if you become separated in a store or shopping mall. Tell them never to go into the parking lot alone. And when possible, accompany your child to the restroom.
Tell your child never to accept gifts or rides from someone he or she does not know well. Your child should never go anywhere with another adult, even one who says you have sent him or her. Adopt a family code word to be used if you have to ask a third party to pick up your child and make sure your child knows never to hitchhike.
Teach your children that no one, not even someone they know, has the right to touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable. Tell them they have the right to say "NO" to an adult in this situation.
At School or at Play
Walk the neighborhood with your child. Pick out the safest route to school and friends' houses. Avoid dangerous places like alleys and wooded areas. Identify safe places to go in an emergency, like a neighbor's house, a block parent, or an open store.
Encourage your children to walk and play with friends, not alone, and to stay in well-lighted open areas where others can see them. Teach your child to walk confidently and stay alert to what's going on.
Don't hang a house key to a child's neck. It's a telltale sign that you won't be home when they return from school. Put it inside a pocket or sock.
Encourage your child to look out for other kids' safety and to stay away from strangers who hang around playgrounds, public restrooms, and empty buildings. A stranger is someone the child doesn't know well. Teach your child to remember and report to you the license plate numbers of people who offer rides, hang around playgrounds, or appear to follow them. If a stranger tries to follow or grab your child, teach him or her to scream "Stay away from me" or "This person is trying to hurt me" and run to the nearest place where people are around.
At The Home
Make sure your children reach you by telephone, wherever you are. Have your child check in with you at work or with a neighbor when she or he gets home.
Caution your children about answering the phone and accidentally letting a stranger know he or she is alone. The child should say that their parents are busy and take a message.
Put important phone numbers near all your home phones Police, Fire, Poison Control Center, Mom and Dad at work, Neighbor.
Agree on rules for having friends over or going to someone's house when no adult is present.
Work out an escape plan in case of fire.
Tell your child never to open the door to a stranger when home alone. Teach your child how to work door and window locks.
Choosing Daycare Centers/Babysitters
Find out as much as you can about the caretaker's reputation and whether there have been any complaints in the past. Is the caretaker licensed or regulated in any way? What are their qualifications? Have background checks been made? Have you asked for or checked references?
Drop-in unannounced, periodically, to ensure that quality of care meets your standards. Observe how the children relate to the caretakers.
Ask about the philosophy and practice of discipline. And then ask your child the same questions.
Make sure there is ongoing parent involvement. Compare notes with other parents. And, most important, talk with your child daily about how things are going and investigate problems that worry you or becomes chronic.