Crime Prevention and Safety
In today’s world, maintaining personal safety and actively protecting yourself from robberies, burglaries, and identity theft is a necessity. While methods of victimization can evolve based on technological advances and criminal trends, certain personal safety measures never go out of style. Other types of protective measures, such as those involving alarm systems and digital devices, may need to be modified as new threats emerge. Regardless of where you find yourself and your valuables, you can safeguard yourself from becoming a victim of crime at home, while traveling, or at work.
The Temple Police Department is committed to helping citizens and visitors protect themselves from becoming victims of crime. The following tips have been assembled to address crimes that are most prevalent – many of which can be prevented with some advance planning and precaution..
Local Emergency & Other Important Numbers
Bell County Sheriff Department
FBI (San Antonio)
Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center
National Response Center to Report Toxic Chemical & Oil Spills
Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Temple
Local Mental Health Authority Central County Services
Temple Fire Department
Temple Police Department
Texas Department of Public Safety
U.S. State Department
V. A. Hospital
- Develop a family security and emergency plan and have a family distress code and password.
- Keep all doors and windows locked, including the garage, even when you are at home.
- Don't open the door for strangers, peddlers, and unscheduled repairs or deliveries.
- Get to know your neighbors.
- Take part in your local Neighborhood Watch Program.
- Don't leave young children home alone.
- Don't talk to strangers, answer their questions, or go anywhere with a stranger.
- Always tell your parents where you are going, with whom, and when you will be back.
- Never tell anyone you are home alone.
- Do not give out information over the phone or internet about where you live, where you go to school, your age, or what you look like.
- Avoid unapproved websites and chat rooms.
- Avoid isolated areas, streets, and playgrounds.
- Tell your parents, teacher, or police if anyone tries to question, molest, or abduct you, or get you to go somewhere with them.
- Don’t provide personal information to unsolicited phone calls/ emails if in doubt verify who you are speaking to
- No government agency will call you asking for you to pay money. If in doubt schedule an appointment at their governmental building. Government agencies will never ask you to pay in gift cards.
- A hospital will not call you asking for payment prior to treating a loved one’s emergency
- Use and maintain adequate outside lighting (front, rear, and sides).
- Keep shrubs trimmed away from house.
- Outside doors should be solid wood or metal.
- Have good deadbolt locks on all outside doors.
- Have a peep hole on doors - especially front doors.
- Use bars and other items to secure and reinforce glass doors and windows.
- Don't hide keys outside.
- Have smoke alarms and fire extinguishers in several areas of the house.
- Have escape ladders for all 2nd floor rooms.
- Have an alarm system or watchdog to help deter criminals.
- Secure outside fuse boxes, utility switches and valves.
- Have a safe room with a solid door and lock, phone and radio (rooms without windows such as bathrooms are best).
- Keep emergency numbers posted by the phone, and program into speed dial (not necessary for 911).
When away from home for more than a day, do the following:
- Use timers for lights, TVs, and radio.
- Stop delivery of mail, newspapers, etc.
- Tell a trusted neighbor or the police that you will be away.
- Don't leave notes on the door.
- Always check your vehicle's exterior and interior before getting in.
- Keep your vehicle locked at all times even while driving.
- Don't pick up hitchhikers or strangers.
- Never leave your keys in your vehicle or leave it running while unattended, even if you are just going to be away for a minute.
- Know your license plate number.
- If you have a car alarm, use it.
- If your vehicle is equipped with a remote start button, use it.
- Avoid parking your vehicle on the street at night if possible.
- Don't leave valuables such as purses, briefcases, laptops, and cell phones in the passenger compartment overnight or when vehicle is unoccupied for long periods of time.
- Wear your seat belt always.
- Keep your vehicle in good working order and the fuel tank at least half full.
- Make sure your spare tire is inflated and the jack is in working order.
- Keep a flashlight, tools, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, and a first aid kit in your vehicle.
- Don’t leave the spare keys to a loved one’s vehicle inside your car.
- Follow the Vehicle Security tips when traveling.
- If traveling by air, arrive at the airport early.
- Check with the airport and airline for information on arrival times and security restrictions.
- Move through the security checkpoint as soon as possible.
- Keep your bags and all other items with you at all times.
- Be aware of unattended bags and packages.
- Be aware of suspicious persons and activity.
- Report suspicious activity, persons, and bags to security.
- Pay attention and follow all security and safety guidance provided by the airport and airlines.
When traveling to other countries:
- Check with the U.S. State Department for security and travel advisories at their website or call 202-647-5225.
- Learn a few key phrases in the local language, such as "I need help, call the police or a doctor" etc.
- Try to be inconspicuous and avoid wearing things that identify you as an American.
- Avoid high-risk areas such as demonstrations.
Suspicious Mail Precautions
It has been several years since widespread and well publicized incidents involving the mailing of harmful substances via mail were reported. Nonetheless, your local and Federal law enforcement agencies do remind you to remain vigilant about the mail you receive.
SUSPICIOUS MAIL CHARACTERISTICS
Mail should be considered suspicious if meets some of the following requirements:
- No return address, or return address differs from postmark
- Foreign postmarks and writing, or misspelled words
- Addressed to title only or wrong title with name
- Marked personal, confidential, private, special delivery, or do not x-ray, etc.
- Excessive postage
- Peculiar odors (such as shoe polish or almonds)
- Oily stains, ink stains, discoloration, or crystallization of wrapper
- Wires, strings, or foil sticking out
- Excessive tape or sealing material or inner sealed enclosure
- Items containing a powder-like or unusual substance
- Unusual or abnormal shape, size, or weight
- Lopsided or uneven, rigid or bulky
- Don't open, touch, move, shake, or immerse in water any suspicious packages or letters.
- Don't cut tape, strings, or other wrappings.
- Don't taste or smell package or its contents.
- Do report all suspicious packages and letters to the authorities.
- Do wash your hands immediately after handling the mail.
- If suspicious mail is believed to be a bomb, evacuate the building and call 911.
- If suspicious mail is believed to contain a chemical or biological agent isolate the area and those exposed. If exposed wash hands and exposed skin with warm soapy water. Call 911.
- If suspicious mail is believed to contain a radiological threat, evacuate the area and call 911.
- Keep a 2-week supply of non-perishable foods and water on hand.
- If possible, keep a 2-week supply of essential prescription medications on hand.
- Have candles, flashlights and spare batteries on hand.
- Have a battery-powered radio on hand.
- Maintain good health and hygiene and stay current on your immunizations.
- If you develop flu-like symptoms or have a sore that turns black, seek medical attention.
- If any of your animals become seriously ill or die unexpectedly from an unknown cause, contact your veterinarian or animal control.
- In case of an emergency, try to stay calm and use common sense.
- Be a good observer, pay attention to details and write them down.
Know how to describe people and vehicles. Make note of as many of the following identifiers as possible:
- Approximate age, height, weight and build
- Clothing: hat, coat/jacket, shirt, pants, dress, shoes.
- Color of eyes
- Glasses, if worn
- Hair color and length
- Scars, marks, tattoos
- License plate number (include state or color)
- Special identifiers such as tinted windows, special rims, dents, decals, etc.