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Crime Prevention > Personal Safety

Safety in the Home | Safety in the Workplace | Safety on the Street | Safety While Travelling | Senior Safety | Professional Home Visitors | Protecting Yourself From Sexual Assault

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Safety In The Home

Many people operate under the assumption that concerns for personal safety apply only to someone who is away from the comfort of his or her home.  A person should not take anything for granted when it comes to their safety. It is important to TakeAction regarding your personal safety in all situations, including the home.

ASSESSING AN AREA BEFORE MOVING IN

Some of the things that you should consider before purchasing a home, or moving into a rental property are:

  • What is the proximity to transit from the home? How far will you be required to walk to and from transit facilities, and what is the neighbourhood like when it is dark out?

  • How close are the schools in the area? How far will your children be required to walk to and from education facilities?

  • What is the traffic flow in the area, and what is the density and availability of sidewalks?

  • What is the quality of the overall street lighting? This will involve visiting the neighbourhood being considered after dark. Some areas are quite different after the sun goes down and it is recommended you visit them before you purchase a new house or move to a rental property.

  • What is the general maintenance standard of surrounding properties, streets and parkland? This is a good indicator of the concern that residents have for their neighbourhood and will tell you much about the area you are considering moving into.

  • Is there a Neighbourhood Watch Program operating in the area? This is another important indicator of the type of neighbourhood you are considering moving into. An active Neighbourhood Watch Block indicates that at least 66% of the residents want their community to be as crime free as possible.

  • Is there a Block Parent in the vicinity? This may be important for your children or yourself. A Block Parent is someone who is willing to help out their neighbours when they require it.

STRANGERS AT THE DOOR

Reports of strangers robbing victims who answer their door are all too prevalent in today’s headlines. Here are some steps you can take to prevent such an occurrence from happening to you or your family:

  • Keep doors and windows secure at all times.

  • Place a peephole in the door so you can look out and see who is on the other side.

  • Do not open the door to anyone you do not know without some kind of verification of identification. If you are not satisfied with the identification – do not open the door. It is your home and you do not have to allow any access to it.

  • If a stranger comes to the door asking you to make a telephone call, do not open the door. Offer to make the call for them.

  • Never give out personal information to any stranger who comes to your door.

  • Do not let anyone who comes to your door know that you are alone in the residence.

  • You do not have to participate in surveys – that is your choice.

  • If a stranger comes to your door and refuses to leave, advise them that you will call the police. Do not panic or argue, but be firm and state your intent confidently.

  • At night, surround your house with adequate lighting. (sensor lights, floodlights, etc)

  • Make sure that you properly educate your children regarding the actions they should take if a stranger comes to the door.

SERVICE AND DELIVERY PEOPLE

  • If possible, have all service and delivery people attend your residence by appointment or prior arrangement.
  • Do not hide keys around the outside of your house for the delivery person to use while you are not home. This invites trouble.
  • Do not leave valuables open to view or to a delivery person who is unattended while in your premises.
  • If you do not like who you see when the delivery or service person attends – you can send them away.
  • Ask for identification from any delivery or service personnel who attend your residence.
  • Be sure to utilize reputable and reliable businesses for service calls. Take the time to check on references regarding any company that you plan to have perform work or service for you.

TELEPHONE SAFETY

  • Do not provide personal information to someone you do not know.
  • Remember, no matter whom they say they are, you cannot visually identify a telephone caller. They could be anyone!
  • Do not hesitate to use telephone security screening codes such as Call Trace (*57); Call Block (*67) and Call Return (*69).
  • If a caller refuses to identify him or herself to you – HANG UP the telephone.
  • If a caller asks what number they have called, ask them what number they dialed.
  • Do not divulge to anyone that you are home alone.
  • Teach your children proper phone etiquette and safe telephone practices.
  • If you are receiving annoying or harassing telephone calls, activate the MTS call trace feature (*57). Notify the police immediately if the calls are life threatening. If the calls are annoying or harassing document the date, time and nature of the calls and assemble a record of calls before contacting the police. Never stay on the telephone and react to an annoying or harassing caller. Hang up immediately.
  • If you wish to respond to telemarketing calls or surveys ask for their telephone number and offer to call them back. Never give out a credit card number over the telephone.
  • Consider answering machines as useful tools for screening telephone calls.

OTHER THINGS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER

  • Take all precautions regarding proper storage of firearms, toxins, medicines and all flammable materials.
  • Install fire, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Do not use double cylinder deadbolts – these are not legal in residences.
  • Display house address numbers on the front and back of the residence for all to see.
  • Use exterior motion lighting and interior light timers.
  • Display alarm permits, system stickers and Neighbourhood Watch stickers in a prominent place.
  • Apply the 3-foot / 7-foot rule to maintain open sight lines around your residence. Shrubs should be trimmed so they are no higher than 3 feet from the ground and tree boughs overhead should be trimmed so they are no lower than 7 feet.
  • If you return home and find that it has been broken into and you suspect someone may still be inside, go to a place of safety and call 911 immediately.
  • Be a good witness; watch for suspicious activity in your neighbourhood and immediately report anything suspicious to the police.
  • Consider a Safe Room in your house. In the unlikely event that you are home when a break-in occurs, make all attempts to get out of the home and go to a place of safety where you can immediately call 911. However, if you can not get out of the home - have a designated safe room inside your residence (ex: master bedroom). A safe room should have a strong door, a good lock and a telephone from which you can immediately call 911 for emergency police response.

If you wish more information or have any questions about Personal Safety In Your Home, please contact the Winnipeg Police Service Community Relations Unit at 204-986-6322 or via email.


If you would like a Police Officer to provide a Power Point Presentation on this topic you can forward your request via one of three ways:
  • email your request to wps-communityrelations@winnipeg.ca
  • fax your request to 204-957-2450
  • mail your request to:
    Unit Commander
    Community Relations Unit
    P.O Box 1680
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    Canada R3C 2Z7
Due to demand, we request you contact us at least six weeks prior to the event. Most presentations are one hour in duration and handouts are provided. The presentation is free of charge - room to be supplied by the organization requesting the presentation, with a minimum of 20 attendees.

 

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Last update: August 1, 2012

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