October is National Crime Prevention Month, and this year's theme is "lock it" (tip is originally from October 2003). The Crime Prevention Unit of the Springfield Police Department would like to offer these safety tips:
- According to the U.S. Department of Justice, car-related thefts are among the most common offenses requiring a police response. Most of these occur when the car is parked on the street or in the driveway of the home. Often, these vehicles are not even locked. Remove face plates from stereos and don't leave anything you would not want taken. Remember to always lock your vehicle even if you only plan to be away for a short time.
- Our homes have locks, so use them. Check to make sure that all doors leading from the outside have a good working lock system. This includes the door leading from the garage to the house. This door should be treated as an exterior door. These doors should have a good, working dead bolt with a throw which is at least 1-1½ inches long. The strike plates should have screws at least 3 inches long securing them to the door facing. A "key in the knob" type lock is easily defeated and should always be accompanied by a good dead bolt.
- Recently there have been a number of home burglaries which have occurred by first breaking into a vehicle parked in the driveway or in the street in front of the residence and taking the garage door opener. Access to the home is then gained by going through the garage and into the house which is often occupied by the sleeping occupants. The garage door opener is a key to your home and should not be left in your vehicle. Securing the door leading from the garage to the house as mentioned earlier will make it much more difficult to gain entry into the house.
So remember, when talking about your home (including storage sheds and out buildings) as well as vehicles, they have locks. Use them.