Keep gifts and valuables out of sight in your car. Lock your packages in the trunk.
At night park in a well-lighted area, and remember where you’ve parked.
Shop with a friend, especially at night. If you are alone try to walk near other people.
Make sure your children know to go to a store employee or security officer if lost.
Lock your doors immediately after entering your vehicle.
Place wallets in your front pants pocket, instead of a back or jacket pocket.
Have your keys ready to enter your vehicle when you approach it. Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay with a check or credit card whenever possible.
In The Mall
Carry only receipts and small change in your purse.
If you take a break in a restaurant or restroom, don't place your purse or packages on the floor.
Never let your child use a public restroom alone; these are favorite places for kidnapers and people who like harming children.
Try to make your most expensive purchases last. This will reduce your exposure to costly losses.
Never use a video arcade or toy store as a baby sitter. Predators are on the prowl for unattended children. Malls and shopping centers are prime locations for abductions according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
Avoid using bathrooms that are tucked away in a back area of a mall concourse or department. If you can, find a bathroom near the mall's food court.
Credit Card Precautions
Make sure your card is used only for one transaction, watch transactions carefully. Be aware of card skimming.
Never give out information about your credit card to any phone solicitor.
Immediately report the theft or loss of credit cards.
Never give out your social security number to a phone solicitor or store clerk.
Do not carry your social security card in your wallet or purse. Keep it at home in a secure location.
Do not use your credit card to purchase items on the Internet unless you initiated the contact and make sure the site is secure and encrypted.
Cancel all credit cards that you haven’t used in the last six months. Open credit accounts with a zero balance are prime targets for identity theft.
When Driving Around Town
Keep your vehicle doors locked at all times. Carjackers often target vehicles at stop signs and traffic lights.
Drive in the centre lane to make it harder for would-be carjackers to approach your vehicle.
At intersections leave room between your vehicle and others for an escape.
Don't stop to help someone with car trouble, use your cell phone to call police.
Don't stop for flashing headlights. Police don’t use this method to stop vehicles.
If your car breaks down, stay inside until police or a road service arrives.
If someone motions that your car has a problem or your vehicle is "bumped," don't stop. Stay in your car, ensure your doors are locked, and drive to a public place. Carjackers will sometimes use this method to get you out of your vehicle. It’s called the “Bump and Rob”.
Park in well lit areas where there is plenty of pedestrian traffic.
Wait until you get to your vehicle before deactivating your alarm. Deactivating the alarm prior to arriving at your vehicle; will give a criminal your intended destination.
If you feel that you are being followed to your vehicle, re-enter the store and have security escort you to your vehicle.
When you arrive at your vehicle, look under and in the back seat of your car before entering.
At ATM Machines
When possible, use ATMs during the day.
Avoid using ATMs late at night, most ATM crimes occur after normal banking hours.
If you need to use an ATM at night, use one inside a busy establishment.
Before using an outside ATM, make sure no one is loitering in the area..."Be aware of your surroundings. "Use only well lit, secure ATM locations.
Make sure you block the view of others nearby when you enter your personal identification number (PIN).
After the transaction be sure to remove your card from the ATM, take receipts with you, and quickly place your card and money in your pocket.
Do not count your money at the ATM. Criminals have been known to watch ATM transactions and size-up potential victims.
If you are followed after making an ATM transaction, go immediately to a heavily-populated, well-lighted area and call thepolice.
If you are attacked at an ATM don't resist. Cooperate and give up your money, then notify the police.
Travelling Out Of Town
Leave a house key with a trusted neighbour.
Make your home look occupied. Use timers on your lights, radios and TVs.
Do not stop newspaper and mail delivery. Have a friend or trusted neighbour pick up your newspaper and mail each day.
Plan your route in advance and choose well-travelled roads.
Tell someone where you are going, the route you are taking, and your expected times of departure and arrival.
Become aware of the latest weather reports for your local area, the route you will be travelling, and your destination.
In a Hotel or Motel
Use all locking devices on your door.
Don't answer a knock on the door (or open the door) without verifying who is there.
Ensure all sliding glass doors, windows, and any connecting room doors are locked.
Don't display room keys or swipe cards in public or leave them where someone can steal them.
When returning to your room late at night, use the hotel main entrance.
Report all suspicious activity to the hotel management.
Don't draw attention to yourself by displaying large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry.
Place all valuables in a hotel/motel safe deposit box.
For additional information contact the Maryland Crime Prevention Association at (410) 596-5346
or Maryland Community Crime Prevention Institute at