Utah Department of Public Safety

Emergency Management - Utah Homeland Security Task Force

Here is what you can do to help:

Violence can happen to anyone, anytime and anywhere. It can happen to you! You must be prepared and have a plan to avoid becoming the victim of a crime. Here is what you can do to help safeguard your community:

  • Be alert!
  • Promptly report criminal or suspicious activity to your local law enforcement agency.
  • Avoid becoming vulnerable by staying out of dangerous environments.
  • Stairwells, parking lots and dark secluded places are frequent crime scenes.
  • Look for unauthorized persons loitering around public buildings or infrastructures, or taking inappropriate photographs of active security measures employed at the site.
  • Report those with unauthorized credentials.
  • If you are walking alone at night, stay in well lighted areas.
  • If you see a suspicious person approaching you, cross to the other side of the street.
  • Go to where there are other people.
  • MOST IMPORTANT: If you see something dangerous or if you become suspicious of possible illegal or terrorist-related activity, call 911 immediately.

Security At Home And While Traveling:

While most of these items pertain to temporary living quarters, some apply to all situations.

  • When approaching your home or hotel room, always have the entry key in hand.
  • If renting a hotel room, avoid one-way streets, dead ends and secluded areas. Select a well-lit neighborhood.
  • If located in a commercial setting, examine the type of clientele that are attracted to the area.
  • Check on availability of police, fire and ambulance services.
  • When renting a hotel room, try to obtain one on the 2nd to 5th floor. Ground floor units are more susceptible to break-ins. Emergency equipment may have difficulty reaching higher floors.
  • Ensure your room blends in with others in the neighborhood; don't display obviously U.S. or government affiliated decorations.
  • Locks should be on all gates, doors, windows, and should be used. Intercoms and entry door peepholes should be used. Don't open doors until you have identified persons desiring entry.
  • Beware of unexpected deliveries or workers. Refuse them entry until you can ensure their authenticity. Check their identification and if necessary call their firm or your landlord, to verify.
  • Use louvered windows, especially on the ground floor. Close the curtains and window shades, especially in the evening. Consider security grilles or bars on windows and doors (especially in high crime areas), but be certain you allow for quick exit in an emergency.
  • Keep entrances, exits, and stairways well lit and visible. Clear shrubbery that conceals entryways and allows hiding places for attackers. Leave your porch light on at night.
  • Don't mark your keys with your name, address, or other identifying information. Don't hide a key under the doormat or rock. If you must, leave one with a trusted neighbor. Have locks replaced if keys are lost or stolen.
  • Learn how to properly operate all locks. Many people simply close entrance doors without using a key. This may lock the door, but does not engage a deadbolt that provides much greater security. If you have no deadbolt on your door, install one immediately.
  • Consider a safe or other heavy container for securing valuables. Bolt it to the floor or secure it to a fixed object.
  • When away, leave on a light or television to make it appear that someone is home. Sequential timers are helpful to turn on lights intermittently in various parts of your home.
  • Have emergency telephone numbers readily available (police, fire department, ambulance, hospital, public utilities).
  • Parking your vehicle in a locked, private garage is best. Avoid parking directly on the street, but if you must, get into the habit of checking your vehicle for tampering prior to entry and operation.
  • If you are going to be away for more than a day or two: Arrange to have someone collect your mail and newspapers while you are away; Hire someone to cut your grass and arrange a neighbor to park a car in your driveway overnight; Ask a trusted neighbor to report unusual or suspicious activity to the police or to your security officer; Leave a spare house key and contact number with this trusted friend.

Everyday Driving And Vehicle Security:

  • Keep your vehicle well maintained and your tank at least half full.
  • Walk to your vehicle with keys in your hand, ready to use. Don't loiter en route to your car.
  • Perform a quick check of your vehicle exterior and interior before unlocking. Look for any signs of tampering. If something appears suspicious, notify the police and stay away from the vehicle until it is determined to be safe.
  • Once you enter your vehicle, lock your doors immediately and put the key in the ignition. Keep doors locked at all times.
  • Keep your windows up until you are moving. It is best to keep your windows up when traveling in town. If you must lower them, do so only slightly.
  • Always lock your vehicle when unattended and safeguard keys. Do not leave valuables in your car.
  • When having your vehicle serviced, provide only vehicle keys.
  • Park in secured lots when possible. If unavailable, park in a well lit area that is not secluded.
  • Be aware of the vehicles in front, behind, and to the sides or your car. Pay attention to the occupants.
  • Avoid public protest demonstrations or known "trouble" areas.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.
  • Know the location of police and fire stations, military installations or any well lighted public area. Go to one if you think you are being followed, do not go home. Try to record the description of the pursuing vehicle, its license number and occupants.
  • In an emergency, drive on flat tires until reaching a well-lighted, well-traveled, safe area.

When Flying:

  • Try to book non-stop, direct flights to destinations. The fewer the stops and plane changes, the better.
  • Exchange a small amount of money before you leave for tips, snacks, taxis or incidental costs.
  • Travel in conservative clothing that does not make you stand out as a U.S. citizen.
  • Pack your own luggage. Never let it out of your sight until it has been checked through. Do not accept any packages or items for packing with your luggage or hand carried items.
  • Use civilian addresses for tickets, luggage tags, reservations and other travel documents. Place your name and address inside each piece of luggage in addition to your luggage tags.
  • Don't loiter around the ticket counter, baggage check-in, or security screening area. Go through security as quickly as possible and to the boarding area. If you want to use shops, restaurants and restrooms, do so in the security area, not in the main terminal.
  • Beware of unattended baggage; report it immediately.
  • If a hijacking or similar incident occurs: Discreetly conceal government identification; Do not volunteer your affiliation, but if questioned do not deny it; Avoid doing anything that will draw attention to you; Carefully observe captors and get a detailed physical description; If a rescue attempt is made, get down and stay still until the situation is completely resolved and you are told to get up. Security forces will generally target anyone who is moving.
  • While on a commercial airliner, be aware of the nearest exit (fore and aft). Count the number of rows of seats to the closest exit. In the event of an impending crash landing, do not place your feet under the seat in front of you. In stead, brace them on the back of the seat in front of you to avoid breaking both legs upon impact. Plan to exit the aircraft immediately.

Tips For Everywhere:

  • Don't discuss personal matters such as travel plans, your job, or your family with people you don't know.
  • Learn the area, the culture, local customs, history of criminal activity and local laws.
  • Become familiar with your surroundings. You must know what is normal to be able to detect what is unusual.
  • Always have local coins or calling cards for pay phones. Know how to use the local phone system and the number for emergencies.
  • Keep a low profile. When in a foreign country, don't advertise U.S. citizenship. Dress and behave conservatively. Avoid styles that don't fit in the local area such as American cowboy boots and hats, T-shirts, or baseball caps, and try to blend in.
  • Don't wear clothing with slogans or symbols that may be offensive. Remember, different cultures have different values and beliefs. When in doubt, be conservative.
  • Be polite and low key. Avoid loud conversations and arguments.
  • Don't flash large sums of money. Never carry documents, credit cards or large sums of money that you don't need with you.
  • Avoid going out alone, especially at night. Avoid secluded areas, poorly lit streets and narrow alleys.
  • When shopping, or in other contacts, remember, "Deals too good to be true" usually are.
[Last Update - Friday, 08-Mar-2013 16:25:39 MST]