National Night Out, with events held across the country as well as in Troy on August 3rd, is about bringing people together to improve safety and deter crime in our neighborhoods. In addition to building community, every one of us can take important precautions to decrease the chance of becoming a victim. Here are important phone numbers to keep at hand, followed by safety tips to ensure your safety.
Emergency situations: 911
Drug Tip Line: 270-5004
When walking on the street:
• look and act like you belong in your surroundings; be confident
• make eye contact with and notice the people around you; attackers are less likely to go after someone who could provide an accurate description of them
• avoid carrying so many things that your ability to move quickly and efficiently — should a threat arise – is hindered
• avoid carrying lots of valuables; if you must carry a purse or handbag, keep it close to your body to minimize the chances of theft. If your purse, wallet or cellphone is snatched, don’t fight. Turn it over rather than risk personal injury and report the incident as soon as possible.
• stay in well-lit areas; avoid short-cuts through parks, vacant lots and deserted places; walk with a friend when possible
• do not listen to music so loudly that you cannot hear someone approaching you
• Always keep your doors and accessible windows locked or secured; do not leave valuables around in plain view; use motion-sensor lighting around your home where needed
• Keep spare keys with a trusted neighbor or nearby shopkeeper, not under a doormat or planter, on a ledge, or in the mailbox.
• Illuminate or eliminate places an intruder might hide: the spaces between trees or shrubs, stairwells, alleys, hallways, and entry ways. Trim bushes so they don’t provide cover for criminals. Plant “hostile foliage” (i.e. roses or thorn bushes) in strategic locations to discourage intruders.
• If you are a homeowner or a landlord that has ongoing problems with people not respecting your property, such as strangers sitting on your stoop or porch, contact Troy’s Community Service Bureau at 270-4689 to see what your best recourse is.
And in the spirit of National Night Out, make sure you know your neighbors and that everyone is looking out for everyone else’s safety. That is what makes neighborhoods — and the people who live in them — safe!
For more information and useful strategies, go to the National Crime Prevention Council website at https://www.ncpc.org/resources/home-neighborhood-safety/.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Department of Public Safety also has safety tips posted; go to http://www.rpi.edu/dept/public_safety/pubs/safeliving.pdf