Crime Prevention Tips
Protect Yourself

How to Protect Yourself in a Parking Garage

  • If you must leave a key with a parking attendant, leave only your vehicle's ignition key. Do not leave anything attached to it with your name and address.
  • Don't park next to a van's sliding door.
  • Change from high heels or dress shoes to low flats or even sneakers when leaving work. They are better to run in.
  • At night, leave your office or building in the company of others. Don't leave alone after dark. If possible, have someone from your building security escort you, or call for police assistance.
  • Approach your vehicle with your keys already in your hand.
  • Look around your vehicle for any suspicious activity. If you see someone loitering around your vehicle, walk past until they leave.
  • Do a quick scan of your vehicle's interior before unlocking the door. Be sure to look in the back seat.
  • Keep your doors locked and your windows shut.
  • Be suspicious of anyone approaching your vehicle, whether passing out leaflets or asking for donations. Always leave the car windows up.
How To Protect Yourself While Shopping

  • Avoid shopping alone. Try to shop with a friend or relative, and during daylight hours, if possible.
  • Park your vehicle in a well-lit area. Put cell phones, GPS units, and other valuable devices out of sight.
  • Make sure your car is locked when walking away from it. Remember to take your vehicle's key fob with you. 
  • Know your surroundings. Keep an eye on the people in front of as well as behind you.
  • Carry your purse close to your body. Don't swing it loosely. Don't flash large amounts of cash.
  • Walk with confidence. Avoid talking to strangers.
  • Approach your vehicle with your keys already in your hand.
  • Try not to carry too many packages. Place all packages out of sight in your vehicle, preferably in the trunk.
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your windows shut.
  • If you see anything suspicious or if something just doesn't feel right, leave immediately and contact security or the police.
Protect Your Children

How To Safeguard Your Children

  • Teach them to never talk to strangers.
  • Teach them never to ride their bikes alone; always ride with a buddy and always wear their helmet(s).
  • Teach them to never play in the street.
  • Teach them to always look both ways and watch for cars before entering or crossing the street.
  • Establish neighborhood boundaries in which they may play.
  • Teach them to never open the door to a stranger when home alone.
  • Teach them that, when answering the telephone, never give out any personal information or let the person who calls know if they are alone (or that their parents are out of the house). 
  • Teach them to be sure to let their parents know exactly where they will be and for how long, and to always call and let them know if they decide to go somewhere else.
  • If they should see a gun, teach them to stop, don't touch, and call an adult. Guns are not always toys!
  • Teach them to never get into a car with someone they don't know.
  • If they feel threatened, teach them to run away as fast as they can.
  • Develop a secret password that must be used if someone unfamiliar is to pick them up from school or play.
  • If they come home and something about their house doesn't look right, teach them to go immediately to a neighbor's for help.
Prevent a Business Burglary

How To Prevent A Business Burglary

  • Install lighting at the front and back as well as near any side doors of your business. Try to eliminate as many shadows as possible.
  • Use only solid core doors. Be sure the door frames cannot easily be jimmied.
  • Use deadbolts and be sure to change the locks every time an employee with access to them leaves.
  • Install burglar-resistant glass or use wire mesh or iron bars over all glass, if allowed by local law.
  • Conduct a site safety check daily at upon store opening and closing. 
  • Ensure that side and rear windows are closed and locked at the end of the day. Check especially those windows of offices, bathrooms, and breakrooms. 
  • Arrange merchandise so that a passerby can see into the store. Keep your expensive merchandise away from the windows, toward the center of the store.
  • Keep front windows free from excess posters, signs, or visuals. These can make it easier for a burglar inside to be unseen by a passerby.
  • Install and use a drop safe. Limit the amount of cash in the register and post signs indicating that a drop safe is used and register only has limited cash, and leave the cash register empty and open at closing.
  • Check ventilation systems to ensure it can not be used to gain entry.
Protect Your Home

How to Prevent a Home Burglary

  • Invest in solid doors and good quality locks on doors and windows. This includes on all sliding glass doors as well. Make it not only difficult but also time consuming for a burglar to gain entry.
  • Whenever you go outside, lock the door and take the key with you, even if you are just stepping next door or out mowing the back yard.
  • Don't put valuables where they can be seen from the window, especially items that can be easily carried.
  • Be sure your garage door can be secured. Do not leave it open when you are away; an empty garage broadcasts your absence.
  • When you aren't home, use a timer set to turn interior lights on and off at varying intervals as though your home was still occupied.
  • Don't keep large amounts of cash or really valuable jewelry around the house.
  • If someone comes to your door asking to use the telephone, make the call yourself. Don't invite them in.
  • Don't hide a spare key under the door mat or under a flower pot. Thieves know all the good hiding places.
  • Plant thorny bushes under all windows. Trim back any trees or shrubs near doors and windows to eliminate hiding places for would-be theives.
  • Invest in a good security system along with motion sensor lights installed out of reach
  • Don't leave ladders outside. Keep any tools that could be used to break in your home safely locked away in a garage or shed.
  • Get a barking dog or "beware of dog" signs. If you own a dog and go out of town, have someone come in and care for your dog in your home.
  • Always double check doors at night and lock all windows.
  • Engrave all valuables such as stereos, microwaves, videocameras, with your driver's license number. (Engraving tools are available through the Larchmont Police Department.) Videotape the contents of your home. Keep the video and the list of all valuables in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box.
  • Residents are encouraged to sign up for Larchmont Police Department's Dark House Service / Security Check Request
Tips on Securing Doors and Windows

  • Exterior Doors: Many residential doors are of wood hollow-core construction and have poor locks. They are easily forced or kicked open. If you want better protection, you need to install solid doors and quality locks. For maximum protection, use metal doors. Do not use doors with glass panels.
  • Arcadia (sliding glass) Doors: Many burglars enter homes through poorly protected sliding glass doors. Additional locks and security measures here will prevent the door from being opened or lifted out of the track. Screws installed in the track above the sliding door frame will prevent the door from being lifted out of the track. Drill a pilot hole in the top track above, and slightly in, from each corner of the sliding door frame section and install a screw into each hole. Adjust the screws so that the head of the screw just barely clears the frame when it is moved back and forth. Auxilliary patio door locks may also be purchased and install easily.
  • Double Doors: These doors need solid security as they are easily jimmied or forced open. Flush lever bolts installed at the top and bottom of the doors are recommended. Make sure the bolt is long, sturdy and mounted into a solid door frame.
  • Doors with Windows: Doors with glass windows or glass ornamentation require double key deadbolt locks. This prevents the burglar from breaking the glass and reaching inside to unlock the door. The key to a double key deadbolt lock should be left in the lock at all times when someone is home (this is necessary to ensure easy exit in the event of a fire or other emergency).
  • Garage Doors: Standard locks on garage doors are easily pried, allowing a burglar access to your home without detection. Cane bolts and hasps are excellent protection. Make certain each side of the garage door is secured to prevent prying open a crawl space. The door leading from the garage into the house should be securely locked. The more barriers you provide against the burglar, the better protected you are.
  • Hinges: Many homes have doors which open to the outside, exposing the hinge pins. Despite your good strong lock, the burglar can remove the pins and lift the door from the frame. To prevent this, remove two opposing screws from each leaf of the hinge. Screw a long lag bolt into the frame side of the hinge leaf and saw off the head leaving about 1/2 inch protruding. Drill out the opposite hole to allow the bolt to enter when the door is closed. Do this to the top and bottom hinge plates. The hinge pins can now be removed by the burglar but the door will remain firmly in place. This technique is good for any door, no matter how the hinges have been placed.
  • Door Viewers: In order to avoid opening your door without knowing who is there, install a door viewer. This device has a wide angle lens to let you see someone standing outside your door without opening it.
  • Spring Latch: Some homes come equipped with this lock. It offers very little protection. The bolt can be slipped with a credit card or knife. This same lock, with a deadbolt latch, provides more protection, but it too can be forced open.
  • Deadbolt Locks: A deadbolt lock can provide good protection. When you turn the key, the lock mechanism slides a strong metal bolt from the door into the frame. When you buy a deadbolt lock, make sure:
    • The bolt extends at least one inch from the edge of the door.
    • The connecting screws that hold the lock together are on the inside of the door.
    • The strike plate is attached to the door frame with screws that measure at least three inches in length.
    • The cylinder has a steel guard around the key section. The cylinder guard should be tapered or rotate freely around the key section to prevent wrenching if it is twisted.
  • Single Cylinder Deadbolt A solid bolt, activated by a key from the outside or a knob on the inside, slides into the door frame. The lock cannot be slipped or easily pried. Deadbolt locks are only as good as the door and frame they are installed in.
  • Double Cylinder Deadbolt This lock is basically the same as the single cylinder deadbolt, except that it requires a key to be used from either side to function.
  • Rim Lock This lock has either horizontal or vertical deadbolts. It cannot be easily slipped, pried or forced with a wrench. This lock, like all others, requires a strong mounting surface and hardware to be effective.
  • Padlocks When selecting padlocks to secure your garage door, storage shed, fence gate or tool box, do not economize. Low priced locks are made from low quality materials and easily pried open or cut with bolt cutters. Look for these features when purchasing a padlock:
    • Double locking shackle at the toe and heel
    • Hardened steel shackle, the larger the diameter the better
    • Five pin tumbler
    • Key retaining feature (prevents removal of the key when unlocked)
    • A strong steel hasp should be used with the padlock
  • Sliding Windows: Sliding glass windows should be given the same security treatment as arcadia doors. Use the same supplementary locks or screws in the frame. Screws installed in the track above the sliding window frame will prevent the window from being lifted out of the track. Drill a pilot hole in the top track above each corner of the window frame and install a screw into each hole. Adjust the screws so that the head of the screw just barely clears the frame when it is moved back and forth.
  • Casement - Crank Windows: These windows are easily secured. The latch should close properly with the window tight. With the latch in a closed position, drill a small hole through the latch frame and handle. Insert a metal pin through the hole to lock the window.
    • For additional security, a small padlock can be used in place of the pin. Key operated replacement latches are also available from a locksmith or hardware store. Keep the key handy in case of emergency.
  • Double Hung Windows An easy, inexpensive way to secure your windows is to use the "pin" trick. Drill an angled hole through the top frame of the lower window partially into the frame of the upper window. Then insert the pin (a nail or an eyebolt which is slightly smaller in diameter than the hole). The window can't be opened until you remove the pin. Make a second set of holes with windows partially open so you can have ventilation without inviting intruders. You may also purchase special key locks for windows at a hardware store.
Protect Yourself While Traveling / On Vacation

Vacation Crime Prevention Tips

  • A vacation, a weekend away from home or a business trip should be a pleasant experience for you and your family. You can help make each trip more enjoyable by taking a few simple steps to reduce the possibility that your home will be broken into while you are gone. An empty house (or one that looks that way!) is a tempting target for a burglar. Use this checklist of tips to help safeguard your home while you're away.
  • Have good locks on all doors and windows, and USE THEM!
  • Make sure any broken windows, door or window locks are repaired.
  • Ask a neighbor to watch the house while you're away. It's a good ida to leave your vacation address and telephone number with a neighbor so you can be reached in case of an emergency.
  • Never leave your house key hidden outside your home.
  • Stop all deliveries, or arrange for a neighbor to pick up your mail, newspapers and packages.
  • Arrange for someone to mow your lawn, rake leaves and maintain the yard to give the home a lived-in look.
  • Have a neighbor place garbage cans at the curb on your normal pickup days and return them after the garbage pickup is made.
  • Plug in timers to turn lights and a radio or television on and off at appropriate times. This helps to disguise the fact that you are away.
  • Turn the bell or ringer on your telephone down low. If a burglar is around, he won't be alerted to your absence by a ringing phone.
  • Don't announce your absence on answering machine messages; leave your normal message on the machine.
  • Leave your blinds, shades and curtains in a normal position. Don't close them unless that is what you do when you are home.
  • Close and lock garage doors and windows. Ask a neighbor to occasionally park in your driveway. If you leave your car at home, park it as you normally would. Vehicles parked outside should be moved occasionally to appear that they are being used.
  • Secure storage sheds, attic entrances and gates.
  • Consider taking valuables to a bank safe deposit box.
  • Advise the Larchmont Police Department that you plan to be away. Patrol officers may have the opportunity to periodically check your home.
  • Engrave your valuables as recommended in Operation I.D. This simple step will allow your stolen property to be identified and returned to you if recovered by the police.
While Traveling
  • If you are driving, make sure your vehicle has been properly serviced and is in suitable condition for the journey.
  • Try to have specific directions and routes to your destination.
  • If you get lost, call the local police for directions or assistance.
  • Keep your vehicle doors and windows locked, even while you are it it!
  • At stop lights and other traffic delays, leave enough space in front of your vehicle so that you have an escape option in case of an emergency.
  • Let someone know the route you intend to travel and your itinerary. This will help authorities in locating you if there is a need to do so.
  • Plan your trip carefully and allow for factors such as weather, fatigue, facilities for lodging, food, and fuel.
  • Be sure you have sufficient money available; use travelers checks or credit cards instead of large amounts of cash..
  • Ask the hotel or motel staff about their security measures so you know what to expect.
  • Use the hotel safe to store your valuables during your stay.
Protect Your Vehicle

How to Prevent Motor Vehicle Theft

  • When you park your car, close the windows, lock the doors and take the key with you. 
  • If your vehicle uses a fob key, make it a habit to remove it from your vehicle at night. Many modern vehicles use fob keys. Forgetting to remove them is the most common mistake that thieves take advantage of when stealing cars. 
  • If you must leave a key with a parking attendant, leave only your vehicle's ignition key.
  • Install and use anti-theft devices, whether an alarm or a protective device like a club or a collar. Be sure to activate the device every time you leave your vehicle.
  • Park only in well-lighted areas near other vehicles.
  • Keep valuables out of sight, preferably locked away in the trunk.
  • Don't hide a spare key in a magnetic key box; thieves know all the hiding places.
  • At home, if possible, put your car away in a locked garage, or at least parked in the driveway.
  • If you have two cars and one of them is easy to break into, then park it in your driveway so it's blocked by the other car.
  • When you park your car, turn the front wheels to the left or right and put the emergency brake on. This locks the wheels, making it difficult for a thief to tow your car.
Protect Yourself at an ATM

How to Protect Yourself while at the Bank or using an ATM

  • Try to avoid using an ATM by yourself. Either take someone with you or only use an ATM when others are around.
  • If possible, avoid using an ATM after dark. If you must, choose one that is well lighted and does not have tall bushes nearby.
  • When you arrive at an ATM, look around. If you see anything that makes you uncomfortable or anyone who looks suspicious, do not stop. Either use an ATM at a different location or come back later. Notify the authorities.
  • Have your access card and any other documents you need ready when you approach an ATM. While you are fumbling with a wallet or purse, you are easy game for a thief.
  • If someone else is using the ATM when you arrive, avoid standing right behind them. Give them enough space to conduct their transaction in privacy.
  • Even while using the ATM, stay alert to your surroundings. Look up and around every few seconds while transacting your business.
  • Protect your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Do not enter your PIN if anyone else can see the screen. Shield your PIN from onlookers by using your body.
  • When your transaction is finished, be sure you have your card and your receipt, then leave immediately. Avoid counting or otherwise displaying large amounts of cash.
  • As you leave, keep a look out. Be alert for anything or anyone who appears suspicious. If you think you are being followed, go to an area with a lot of people and call the police.
  • Remember to be on the lookout for fake check scams: If someone asks for you to deposit their check in your account and withdraw/send the funds back to them, this is a fake check scam. Check deposits can take several hours or days until a bank flags it, but your funds can be withdrawn immediately. These scams can happen in-person, on the phone, via email, or through the mail.