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Wisconsin Department of Health Services

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Crime Prevention

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Home Security Personal Protection

Home Security

Every 15 minutes someone in Wisconsin is robbed. More than 30,000 home robberies occur every year.  With each break-in, valuables are lost and lives are disrupted.  Many victims will never feel safe in their homes again.  Serious break-ins may involve violence and even murder.  Most thieves are looking for an "easy mark."  You can discourage thieves with a few simple actions.

Tips on Home Security

  • Light the outside of your home to make it more visible to your neighbors. Outside motion detector lights can make it almost impossible for a burglar to enter without being seen.

  • Trim bushes near doors to reduce hiding places for burglars.

  • Install dead-bolt locks on all outside doors. Make sure you can unlock all doors from the inside without a key to allow a quick escape from a fire.

  • Install peepholes in all outside doors.

  • Use "Operation Identification". Contact your local police to borrow an engraver to mark stereos, computers, cameras, lawnmowers and tools. In Wisconsin you should write "WI" followed by your driver’s license number (if you have one). Put Operation I.D. stickers (from the police) on windows near your front and back doors. These stickers tell burglars that your things will be hard to sell.

  • Don’t keep expensive jewelry, collectibles, or large amounts of cash in your home.

  • Keep a list of your valuables and their serial numbers. A videotape, photograph, or sales receipts will help with insurance claims.

  • Install locks on windows. All sliding doors should have "ventilation locks". Screens and storms should be latched on the inside. Include locks on garage and basement windows.

  • Don’t advertise your absence. Never leave a message on your answering machine that says you are away for a few days or on vacation. Before you leave, set timers so that lights, TVs, and radios go on and off. Have someone pick up the mail, pick up newspapers, set out trash, mow the lawn or shovel snow.

  • Close your garage door. An empty garage says you’re not at home. Thieves can easily steal bikes, lawnmowers, snow blowers and other valuables. Burglars can close the garage door and take their time breaking into your home.  

  • Lock your car and keep valuables out of sight. Don’t store the title for your car in the glove compartment. You will need it to prove ownership if the car is stolen.

  • If possible, install a garage door opener with a light. A remote opener and a lighted garage will help you enter and leave your home safely. Test the door to make sure it reverses easily when it hits something.

Personal Protection

Any of us may be crime victims.  The most common crimes involve burglary and theft.  But reports of car jacking, child abductions, and assaults create fear among many Americans. You can reduce your family’s risk by being aware and prepared.

Tips on Personal Safety  

  • Keep your doors locked at all times.

  • Never open your door to a stranger. Use your peephole to see who is at the door before you open it. Ask for identification before allowing a meter reader or repair person into your home.

  • Keep your car doors locked while you are driving and while the car is parked.

  • Don’t give your name, address, charge card number or Social Security number to an unknown caller. Never give your name or address on your message machine. Say something like: "I’m sorry we are unable to take your call now. Please leave a message at the tone."

  • Never surprise a burglar. If you see something that makes you think your home may have been robbed, do not go in. Go to a safe place and call the police. The burglar may still be around.

  • Don’t flash large amounts of cash or jewelry in public.

  • Be extra careful in areas with high crime rates, especially at night.

  • Tips to Protect Your Children from Crime:
     

    • Never leave small children alone in a public place. Have young children walk to school with a brother, sister or friend. Don’t allow young children to roam the neighborhood, trick or treat, or sell things door-to-door without an adult.

    • Tell children not to answer the door if they are alone.

    • Teach children telephone safety. Children who are alone should tell callers that their parents are unable to come to the telephone. Warn them not to give their name or address to an unknown caller.

    • Talk to children about crime and safety. Warn them not to talk to strangers. Remind them not to enter a car or home of a stranger.

    • Teach children how to use 911 or another emergency telephone number. Leave a number so that babysitters can reach someone in an emergency.

    • Teach children their home telephone number and address. Show them how to call home from a pay phone even without money.

For more information on Crime and Personal safety, call your local police department.

Prepared by the
Wisconsin Dept of Health Services
Division of Public Health
Bureau of Environmental Health

 Last Revised: February 13, 2014