Home Safety Tips

  • By Spokane C.O.P.S.
  • 04 May, 2016

Here are simple ways to improve the safety of your home.

Follow these tips to keep your home as safe as possible.

Start with the Front Door

Check who is at the door before opening it. Pause before opening the door to verify the visitor's identity. If you are unsure of the authenticity of the caller's identity, do NOT open the door. Never open the door to an unexpected caller who cannot provide adequate identification. If you feel uneasy about the visitor, simply do not allow the entrance to your home. If they persist in demanding entrance, call the local authorities and report the situation.

Request identification from visitors you don't know. If you do not recognize the visitor, request that they provide a photo identification to you by passing it under the door frame. If they do not comply, do not allow them to enter.

Install a door with a peep hole at the very least or, if possible, a video surveillance unit to visually verify a visitor's identity. Do not rely on this alone, remember to always ask for identification. If the visitor obscures his face or avoids standing in an area that can be easily observed by you without opening the door, beware and ask that they present themselves clearly. If they refuse to comply, report this encounter to 911 as suspicious activity and provide a detailed report of the incident.


General Safety for Your Home

Every exterior door needs a deadbolt . Equip every entryway into your home from the outside with a deadbolt locking mechanism. Also consider installing a professional security or alarm system with an access panel at each exterior door. If your home has a garage door, do not rely on the single lock present on most doors. Always install a padlock and keep it locked at all times. If the padlock is left open and unattended, a thief may remove the padlock and have a duplicate key made. Once the padlock is replaced by the thief, he can enter your garage at his convenience.

Leave interior light on while away. If you will be away from your home over night, leave an interior light turned on.

Do not hide spare key in obvious locations. Do not hide a spare door key over the doorframe, under the welcome mat, or rock.

Make a list of all your valuables. Keep an accurate log of your valuables including any identifying factors like serial numbers or engravings. It is also advised to mark all of your valuables to aid in your recovery of the items in the event that they are stolen.

Make arrangements before you leave on vacation.  Protecting your home while you're on vacation is just as important as protecting it while you're home. Check out our blog post for tips on home security while you're on vacation.

Join Block Watch. Help protect your neighbors and let thieves know that your neighborhood is watched by an active Block Watch and post Block Watch signs. If you see any suspicious activity, call 911 immediately.


Staying Safe in an Apartment

Make sure intercoms are working. If your complex has an intercom system, report any malfunctions to the landlord and insist upon prompt repair and maintenance of the system.

Don't let strangers into the apartment building. Never admit a person who claims to be visiting another resident of your building or a caller arrives who you do not recognize

Refer maintenance staff to the apartment manager. If a repairman or delivery person requests admittance for interior work or for a resident that is not at home, refer him to the office manager of your building.


Report all unusual activity to 911. 

Report all suspicious persons and activity in your building to 911 immediately . If you notice someone loitering or acting strangely, call 911 and give as many details as possible. Practice in memorizing distinguishing physical features of those around you. Guess heights and weights and then ask friends if you were correct. Try to pay attention to eye and hair color. Take note of tattoos or scars and what they resemble as well as their location on the body. Practice by mentally recording what a person is wearing and then look away to see how many details you can recall accurately such as color, layers of clothing, glasses, and style of shoes.


For more crime prevention information, follow us on Facebook , Twitter , Pinterest , and LinkedIn .

Want to make Spokane a safer place? Volunteer at your local C.O.P.S. shop with one of our crime prevention programs , from lifting fingerprints off of vehicles to catch car prowlers to organizing a block watch for your neighborhood.

Spokane C.O.P.S.

By Spokane C.O.P.S. 13 Oct, 2016
With recent headlines about a sex offender being released in Spokane (See Here and Here ), the best way to safeguard your neighborhoods and families is to be well informed. The Sex Offender Registry is a tool allowing citizens to access information on registered sex offenders. Here’s a breakdown on what you need to know.
By Spokane C.O.P.S. 07 Oct, 2016

Spokane C.O.P.S. is here with Safe Streets! Safe Streets is a step-by-step approach, channeling all your frustrations into a plan of action utilizing civil courts. Since nuisance houses are defined in the city municipal code, you can effectively take the owner of the house (whether they live there or the house is a rental property) to court for violating this ordinance. A judgment against the owner results in fines paid to affected neighbors.

Safe Streets is a community action guide for the city and county of Spokane that includes community policing tools for helping make your neighborhood safe and nuisance free. Safe Streets motivates individuals to participate at the most fundamental level of the democratic process to create a community that reflects the standards and moral of the residents. It also teaches the community how to maintain those standards. Safe Streets will show you how to recognize nuisance house danger signs,  organize your block, form a team with police and possible city officials, document a public nuisance, research property ownership, and deal with the cooperative and uncooperative property owners. Safe Streets empowers citizens to create a nuisance-free neighborhood that is a safe, clean, and a healthy environment for individuals and families.

Safe Streets can be a much faster way to get results than other options. Oftentimes, even repeated visits by the police is not enough to change behavior. But by facing legal action and potentially large fines for failure to act, owners often deal with the problem immediately as that is preferable to going to court.  The Safe Street program has been implemented over 450 times with successful results.

Stop by your neighborhood C.O.P.S. shop for more information.





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By Spokane C.O.P.S. 07 Sep, 2016

Over 7,000 cases of personal property theft have been recorded so far this year (up 4.5% from this time last year). In many of these cases, Spokane police officers are able to recover the stolen property...with no way of identifying the owner. When they can’t find the owner, the items eventually go to auction to free up much needed space in the police evidence facility. This raises an important question-if your property is stolen and recovered by police, would you be able to prove it’s yours?

That’s where Operation ID comes into play. The idea is to mark your valuable possessions with an identifying number (like your driver’s license number). Engraving a number helps deter theft since it’s harder to sell an ID-ed item to a pawn shop. If the item is stolen, the identifying number helps you prove ownership of the item to the police.

Operation ID also involves creating an inventory of the make and model of all ID-ed items, which you then put in a secure place. In the event of theft, fire damage, or other incident where you need to make a claim to your insurance company for item replacement, your information is ready for the insurance company.

Operation ID is a free service that only takes a few minutes. Bring your valuables to your local C.O.P.S. shop to borrow an engraver and pick up an inventory log.

Another property identification program is SpokaneBikeID.org , a city wide bike registration database. The information uploaded during registration is used by police to connect a recovered bike to its rightful owner. You can bring your bike by your local C.O.P.S. shop and our volunteers will register it for you (and you can get a free child’s helmet while supplies last).

For more crime prevention information, check out our Facebook , Twitter , Linkedin , and Pinterest .
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But there is one thing everyone can agree on: staying safe. And we here at Spokane C.O.P.S. are, as usual, committed to your safety. So we’ve created a list of a few things that you can do to help keep your kids safe as they head back to school.
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