Security surveys and Neighborhood Watch information is available to any Westminster resident or business free of charge by the Westminster Police Public Information Unit. For more information, call 303-658-4421 or 303-658-4422.
Auto Thefts and Criminal Trespass to Motor Vehicles
Tips to avoid being the victim of an auto theft and/or a trespass to your motor vehicle:
- Lock your car and roll up the windows.
- Park your car in a well-lit area when possible.
- Don't leave your keys in the car or a spare key hidden in the vehicle.
- Don't leave your car unattended while it is running.
- Don't store valuables or packages in your car.
- If you have a removable stereo, remove it when the car is being left unattended.
- Use a device such as the "club" to lock steering column.
- Install an alarm system in your car.
Keep garage doors closed even when you are home.
- Join a Neighborhood Watch program and get to know our neighbors
- Report suspicious persons and cars to the police immediately.
- Record serial numbers on valuable items.
- Engrave valuable items with an "owner applied number".
- Consider installing an alarm and familiarize yourself with its operation to avoid chronic false alarms.
- If you have a dog, allow it access indoors when you are not home.
- Have a security survey done on your home.
Transactions Through the Classified Ads
- Conduct the transaction at a bank or other financial institution to serve as an intermediary and to verify funds.
- Do not take a personal check, cashiers check, or certified check without verifying its authenticity. Any of these documents can be easily forged. Cash is the safest form of payment.
- Question the information contained on checks, and verify the identity of the person you are conducting business with.
- If the deal seems too good to be true -- it probably is.
ATM, Wallet, Purse Safety
Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) have greatly assisted the banking world by providing ease and convenience. However, at the same time they have created opportunities for crimes to be committed. Listed below are a few tips for keeping you and your money safe:
- Be aware of your surroundings, particularly at night. If you see or sense suspicious persons or situations, do not use the ATM at this time.
- Create a unique pin number, and don't have it written on the back of your ATM card.
- Use your body as a shield when entering your PIN code.
- If you are using a drive-up ATM be sure the other car windows and doors are locked.
- At night, park close to the ATM in a well-lighted area.
- After retrieving your money from the machine, quickly secure the money in your pocket, purse or wallet. Don't walk away from the machine with the money out in the open.
- Attempt to use ATM machines that you are familiar with, and use those that are inside the bank lobbies, rather than free-standing machines located on the outside of buildings. (Some ATMs will lock you inside until your transaction is complete, and not allow others in the building.)
- Be careful what information you provide to Web sites.
- Do not give out identifying information, such as name, address, age, telephone number, etc.
- Use a good virus detection program.
- Remember -- what you read online may not be true. Any offer that is "too good to be true" probably is.
- Be careful about offers that involve you coming to a meeting or having someone visit your house.
- Do not give out your credit card information or Social Security number online unless the latest security protocols are in place.
- Do not trust a Web site just because it claims to be secure.
- Read the fine print.
- Know what your children are doing and learn about the tips for parents with children on the Internet.
- Do not leave outgoing mail in cluster boxes or your personal mailbox with the flag up. Criminals drive neighborhoods and will steal outgoing mail (especially bill payments) and then chemically wash and alter your checks to use for their own purposes.
- Monitor your account statements and track the transactions that you make to ensure that you will catch fraudulent transactions quickly.
- When in a checkout line at a retail or grocery store, do not flash the contents of your wallet -- especially cash or credit cards.
- Be cautious when wearing obviously expensive jewelry in public.
- Don't keep large sums of cash in your home or business. Make routine deposits to your bank.
- Be very aware of who is around you when using an ATM. If someone is loitering nearby, leave and call the police.
- When traveling in your vehicle, keep your doors locked (night or day).
- Travel with a companion in an unfamiliar place or at night.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Studies show that people who cooperate and hand over their valuables when confronted by a robber substantially increase their chances of being unharmed during a robbery. If you see anyone who seems suspicious, call the police immediately.
- The Westminster Police Department offers a Mock Robbery Training Program for businesses through the Public Information Unit. If you would like more information, contact the Public Information Unit at 303-658-4421 or 303-658-4427.
The hustle and bustle of holiday shopping is something many of us look forward to every year. With the excitement of the holidays fast approaching and a New Year in sight, it can cause a person to become distracted. One can easily become the victim of a crime. Following the tips below can help see you through the holiday season safely:
- Maintain awareness of your surroundings. Criminals look for preoccupied victims.
- If you must carry a purse, keep it zipped and close to your body.
- Consider carrying your valuables in a fanny pack or under your clothing.
- Try to make purchases with credit cards or checks.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
- If possible make your expensive purchases at the end of your shopping, this limits the time that you are exposed to becoming a victim.
- Leave the stores well before closing time to avoid dark, empty parking lots.
- Avoid shopping to the point of exhaustion; you are more alert when you are less tired.
- Keep your packages and purses close to you when you sit down to take a break or use the restroom.
- Never leave packages unattended.
- Don't overburden yourself with packages. Store them in the trunk of your vehicle so they cannot be seen through windows.
- Carry small amounts of cash, and do not carry all your credit cards. Be aware of people looking into your wallet while you are the check out counter.
During the holidays, the Westminster Police Department increases patrol at busy retail centers.
Holiday Home Safety
- Keep gifts hidden from view through outside windows.
- After opening gifts, break down cardboard boxes of expensive gifts before putting the trash out to the curb.