Safety Tips

Citizens can do a lot to help with their own safety by being aware of their surroundings while at home, walking, riding in an automobile, etc. The Laurel Police Department is happy to provide you with some important safety tips we've collected. We encourage you to put these tips into practice so that you, your family, your personal possessions and your community will be a lot safer.

Home Security Tips

Never automatically open your door. Make sure you know who is on the other side before you open it. Insist on identification from repair and sales persons. If in doubt, call their company for identification. Don't rely on their ID. Look up the company name and phone number in the phone book directly.

  • Do not admit persons asking to use your telephone. Offer to make the call for them.
  • If you live in an apartment, be attentive and careful if you are alone in the laundry room or garage by yourself, especially late at night.
  • Secure all outside doors with deadbolt locks. Outer doors should be 1 3/4 inch thick solid core wood or metal.
  • Have good lighting at all entrances.
  • Add auxiliary locks to sliding glass doors to prevent lifting and sliding.
  • Add auxiliary locks on all windows to prevent lifting and sliding.
  • Know your neighbors and work out a mutual watch and warning system to prevent burglaries and other break-ins.
  • If you come home and find a door or window open or signs of forced entry, do not enter. Call the police for assistance.
  • Identify our belongings by engraving your drivers license number on your possessions.
  • Use automatic times to turn indoor lights on and off to give the appearance you are home.
  • Stop mail and other deliveries when you are gone for any length of time, or have a trusted neighbor pick them up for you.
  • Do not hide spare keys. Give keys to trusted neighbors.
  • Close and lock doors and windows every time you leave your home.
  • Install a peephole viewer in your door.
  • Have your locks re-keyed every time you move into a new house or apartment.

Personal Security Tips

  • If you are going to be traveling, tell people where you are, where you are going and when you expect to arrive.
  • Don't discuss travel plans in front of strangers.
  • Guard your credit and phone calling cards! Don't read out credit card numbers with people listening or punch in numbers on the phone with people watching.
  • If someone threatens you and demands cash or your car, give it up!
  • Don't leave your purse unattended in your desk or a shopping cart and don't set it on the floor in a bathroom stall or dangle from your arm while walking.
  • Report suspicious persons to the police or building security.
  • Don't give your phone number or address to solicitors unless you know who they are.
  • If you think a "Deal" is too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Use extreme caution when using ATMs at night. Don't use ATMs alone if possible. Don't dawdle and don't flash cards.
  • You lock your car when you're not in it - lock it when you are in it.
  • Keep a flashlight in your car's glove box in case of an emergency.
  • Park in well lit areas. Don't leave valuables in plain sight.
  • Don't argue with people on the highway. Don't cause confrontations in traffic.
  • Don't dash into a convenience store with your car running. Turn your car off and take the keys when you pay for self-service gasoline.
  • Carry your car keys on a different ring from your house keys and have them ready before reaching your car.
  • When stopping at a traffic light, leave enough space between you and the car ahead of you to pull away if necessary.

Walking Safety Tips

  • If you can avoid it, do not walk alone at night on dark streets.
  • Don't try any shortcuts in vacant lots, etc.
  • Stay close to the curb and away from brushes, dark doorways and other places where a would-be mugger or rapist may be lurking. Walk in lighted areas and carry a flashlight and whistle.
  • If you think you are being followed, turn to look at the possible source of danger.
  • Carry a whistle sound device or yell "fire" if you need help, if you feel in danger.
  • Stay in well-lighted areas and have your house or car keys available in your hand.
  • Never let your purse dangle. Hold it close to your body, and never set it down on store counters, restaurants or bus seats. Carry a handbag alarm.
  • Make sure you always have the right change for making a telephone call.
  • Never take a ride from a stranger no matter how tired or loaded with parcels you are.
  • Do not get near a strange car to answer questions. Keep your safe distance.

Bicycle Safety

Each year, more than half a million bicyclists visit the doctor or the emergency room after crashing on their bikes. It's important to teach children bicycle safety. The Laurel Police Department participates in bicycle safety training.

  • Wear a helmet. Studies have shown that wearing a bicycle helmet can reduce head injuries by up to 85%. select a helmet that fits snugly and comfortably. Always wear a helmet yourself to set a good example. In many places, helmets are legally required, particularly for children.
  • Wear clothes that make them more visible. Clothing should be light in color and close-fitting to avoid being caught in the bicycle's moving parts. Books and other loose items should be secured to a properly installed carrier or carried in a backpack, never in the hands.
  • Obey the rules of the road. These include traffic signs, signals and road markings.
  • Look both ways. seven out of ten car-bicycle crashes occur at driveways or other intersections. A child should walk his/her bicycle across busy streets and at corners or crosswalks.
  • Be cautious if allowed to bike at night. If a child is older and is permitted to ride at night, ensure that he/she wears reflective clothing or materials (especially on ankles, wrists, back and helmet), he/she rides in areas that are familiar and on streets that are brightly lighted, and his/her bike has a headlight and front and rear reflectors.
  • Protect bikes against theft. A bicycle can be stolen from just about any place, but simple precautions can deter would-be thieves. Remember, most bikes that are stolen were not locked!
  • Always lock a bicycle securely, whether gone for a few minutes or a few hours. Use a U-lock, securing both wheels and the frame to a stationary object (such as a post, fence, tree or bike rack) that makes it impossible to lift the bike off. For extra security, add a chain or cable with a good padlock.
  • Record the serial number of the bicycle and keep it in a safe place together with the sales receipt and a photograph of the bike.
  • Mark the bicycle with an engraver to deter thieves and to help the police in identifying and returning a stolen bike to the owner. Use a unique number such as a parent's driver's license number.

School Bus Safety

Parents: Please instruct your children on how to behave in the school bus. Here are a few safety tips you can follow as a guide line for safe busing practices.

Inside the School Bus

This school bus is like a classroom and the driver is like a teacher. You should behave like you would in the classroom:

  • Never leave your seat. A quick stop and you will be on the floor.
  • Do not throw things around the bus. You may hit the driver.
  • Keep the noise down - the driver can't think if you are all screaming back there.
  • Do not eat or drink on the bus. If you choke, the driver may not notice you and you will be in trouble.
  • Obey the driver when they speak to you, like you would your teacher.

Outside the School Bus

  • Walk 10 giant steps away from the front of the bus so the driver can see you ahead of them.
  • Wait until the driver signals you to go across the street.
  • Walk to the edge of the bus and look both ways for cars coming.
  • Cross the road when it is safe to do so.

Street Safety Tips For Kids

  • Keep in mind who your friends are. True friends would never put you in a risky or dangerous situation.
  • Travel the same way back and forth to school. Make sure your parents know the route.
  • Know safe places to go in your neighborhood. Watch for the block parent signs in the windows.
  • Never brad about your possession of money, stereos, or expensive clothing.
  • Tell your parents where you are going and when you will be expected to come home. These are one of the first questions the police ask when you have gone missing.
  • Never get into a car with anyone you don't know and trust!
  • If you are being followed, change direction, cross the street, jog if you have to.
  • Go to the nearest well lighted area or to a store or a residence if you absolutely have to and use the phone to call the police.

Parents, Give Your Kids a Good Foundation

  • Teach your child that he/she should never play or go places alone.
  • Teach your children how to yell to get attention. Child abductors in prison today say that when their potential victims yelled for help, they left them alone.
  • Do not buy items that display your child's name. It could give an abductor the advantage of seeming to know your child.
  • Create a "lost and found" plan which includes where you will meet if separated and which kind of strangers your child can go to for help.
  • Teach your children to not be tricked or forced into going places with people who offer them candy, pets, or toys. Make sure they always check where they can go with you first.
  • Let your children know that when they are home alone, they should never open the door to a stranger. If they answer the telephone, don't let them tell the caller that they are home alone.
  • Make sure your child knows their telephone number (including area code) and how to contact 911.

Other Crime Prevention Resources

The internet is full of useful and important safety tips.

Visit the Official Page of D.A.R.E. featuring Kids Club, News and Events!

The National Crime Prevention Council, On-Line Resource Center offers crime prevention tops for self, home, and family; community policing; neighborhood building; plus information on McGruff the Crime Dog and his nephew, Scruff. Find out how you can help, "Take A Bite Out Of Crime!".

View the National Crime Prevention Council website.

The City of Laurel and the Laurel Police Department support the work of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. "Help Find A Missing Child!"

View the Missing and Exploited Children website.

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National Center for Missing and Exploited Children