Crime Prevention

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Crime Prevention Tips

The goal of the Decatur Police Department is to help citizens avoid becoming the victims of crimes. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself, your home and your family.

> Tips for Reporting Information (MS Word)

Robbery Prevention

  • Cooperate with the robber – do exactly as you are told, do not argue, do not move too quickly or reach for anything.
  • Keep it short and smooth – the longer the robbery takes, the more nervous the robber is. The average robbery takes less than two minutes.
  • Don’t resist – don’t fight, use weapons or chase the robbers.
  • Be observant – observe the person(s) involved for the purpose of describing clothing and physical features. Observe the means of escape, direction of travel and description of vehicle.
  • Call Police (911) after the robbery – stay on the phone until police tell you to hang up; record the suspect(s) description on a piece of paper.
  • Protect the crime scene – don’t touch anything in case the suspect left fingerprints or other physical evidence crucial to the investigation.

>Robbery Prevention (MS Word) 

Entering Auto and Burglary Prevention 

  • Lock your car doors even if the car is in your driveway.
  • Do not leave cell phones, CDs, etc., in your car in plain view. Place items of value in your car trunk.
  • Lock all exterior house doors and windows.
  • If you have a security alarm use it, even while you are at home and sleeping.
  • Some burglars peer into windows or doors to see if they can “smash and grab” items such as a wallet or purse. Keep such items where they can’t be seen from outside.
  • Call the Decatur Police Department if you see or hear anything unusual or suspicious: Non-emergency 404-373-6551 ; Emergency 911.

> Auto and Burglary Prevention (MS Word) 

Protecting Your Home

  • Outside doors should be solid wood or metal. Hollow doors are easily broken through.
  • Make sure all outside doors have good locks and make sure you use the locks.
  • Make sure all hinges are on the inside so the hinge pin cannot be removed.
  • Never hide keys outside in a "secret" place. Burglars can usually find these places.
  • Make sure all windows have good locks and use those locks.
  • Secure sliding glass doors. Burglars will look for sliding glass doors because they are the easiest to open.
  • Trim overgrown bushes and shrubs. Don't give a burglar a natural hiding place. 
  • Make sure all entrances are well lit. A dark house is a more inviting target.
  • If you go out of town, have a neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers. Also arrange to put some of your lights on timers.
  • Turn the phone ringer on low. A burglar close by can hear that nobody is answering the phone, indicating an unoccupied home. 
  • Never leave notes on the door saying you're gone and specifying the time of your return. 
  • Don't allow people you do not know into your house. They could be legitimate, but they could be trying to see what you have of value.

Protecting Yourself and Your Family

  • Stay alert at all times and aware of your surroundings.
  • Get to know the neighborhood and your neighbors. Know what businesses and restaurants are open late. Know where police and fire stations are located. 
  • When walking or jogging, use busy streets. Avoid shortcuts through deserted parks, vacant lots and unlit areas.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a place or area, leave.
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash. If you do carry cash, don't display it in public.
  • Separate house keys from car keys. A woman should not keep her keys in her purse. This way if a purse is stolen she still has her keys.
  • Beware of pickpockets, especially in crowded areas. They often work in pairs and one will bump you while the other is picking your pocket.
  • Avoid wearing excessive jewelry.
  • Don't discuss personal information with strangers.
  • Keep names and phone numbers of friends and relatives with you in case of emergency.
  • If you are approached on the street and the person demands your purse or wallet, don't fight him/her. The item can be replaced but you cannot. 
  • Make sure children know their address, phone number and parents' names.
  • When banking and using an ATM, never walk away from the machine or teller's window with cash in your hand. Put it away before leaving.
  • Avoid using ATMs at night. The Decatur Police Department maintains an ATM in the front lobby of the police station.
  • Take all receipts with you.
  • As always, if you feel uncomfortable where you are, leave immediately. 
  • If you see someone breaking into your car or home, DO NOT confront the suspect. Call the police immediately at 911. 

Door-to-Door Solicitation 
Is someone soliciting door-to-door in your neighborhood? Please remember that:

  • Anyone soliciting door-to-door must have an approved door-to-door Solicitation Permit.
  • This requires completing a permit application and submitting it to the police department for approval. The department conducts a background check on each individual involved in the solicitation process.
  • If a permit request is approved, each door-to-door solicitor is required to have the signed permit in his/her possession at all times.

 Preventing Theft

  • Thefts usually occur between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Place power tools and lawn equipment in areas that are locked and not easily accessible.
  • Active neighborhood watch involvement is encouraged and will assist Decatur police officers in efforts to end this type of criminal activity.
  • Be cautious of people soliciting yard work.
  • Be observant of any suspicious activity in your community.

Protecting Your Vehicle
Most thefts and break-ins are crimes of opportunity. That means it would not have occurred if the owner had taken a few preventive steps. Here are just a few: 

  • Always try to park in a well-lit, heavily traveled area.
  • When you park always roll up the windows, lock the doors and take the keys with you.
  • Never leave your car running unattended no matter how long you plan on being away from it.
  • If you have a garage, use it. 
  • Install and activate anti-theft devices.
  • Take all belongings with you or lock them in the trunk.
  • When selling a car, don't let a stranger take it for a test drive alone.
  • Record the serial numbers for stereos and car phones.
  • Get wheel nuts and a fuel cap that lock.
  • Carry a card with you that lists the following: license plate, make and model of vehicle and vehicle identification number (VIN). 
  • Don't leave any kind of ownership papers in the car. If the car is stolen these items can help the thief show ownership of your vehicle.
  • When you park, turn the wheels towards the curb, leave the car in gear and apply the emergency brake. 
  • Consider etching your VIN into all windows, T-tops, and other expensive, removable parts. This will aid the police in identifying stolen auto parts.
  • Drop a business card or something like it down the window slot into the door panel. This could help police in identifying stolen auto parts.
  • Check periodically to make sure your VIN plate is still intact. This is a small metal plate that is usually located on the driver's side where the windshield and dash meet.

Driver Safety
Even though car jacking and other vehicular crimes receive a lot of media attention, they occur infrequently. Nevertheless, there are several ways you can protect yourself and passengers when out and about in your vehicle. 

  • Lock all doors even if you are driving only a short distance.
  • Always look inside the car before entering.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.
  • Avoid asking strangers for directions. 
  • Remain alert at all times.
  • When parking in a parking lot or deck, leave only the ignition key with the attendant.
  • When approaching your vehicle, already have your keys out and ready. Avoid standing at the door fumbling around for them.
  • Keep your car in good condition and keep the gas tank at least 1/4 full.
  • Plan alternative routes to your destination. This way if the primary route is closed or inaccessible, you can get to your destination safely in familiar territory.
  • If your car breaks down, raise the hood and place emergency reflectors or flares. Then stay in the locked car. If someone stops and offers to help ask them through a closed or cracked window to call the police for you. 


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