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Spring Cleaning   |   Unsolicited Calls   |   Repair Frauds   |   Safety Tips at Home   |   Tips to Prevent Burglaries   |   Protection for You and Your Home  
How to Avoid Being a Victim   |   How to Detect an ATM Skimming Device   |   How to Describe a Suspect and Vehicle   |


Louisville Metro Police Department 7th Division

Crime Prevention Strategies


SPRING CLEANING (back to top of page)

Most folks think of spring as a time of cleaning indoors. Spring is also a good time to clean up outdoors around your home and to take an inventory of the outside of your home. Burglars like to target homes that are easy to break into and look for certain things around a home that make burglary easy. As a home owner it should be your goal to make your home as unattractive to prospective burglars as possible. Make sure all high bushes and hedges are cut back and away from windows as far as possible. Burglars like to hide behind bushes where they can work on windows and enter homes where their entry and exit are hidden by the bushes. Check all outside light fixtures to make sure bulbs are working and consider replacing standard light fixtures with motion detectors. Check all the locks on windows and doors to ensure they are locked and working properly and consider installing dead bolts on doors. Make sure your house numbers are visible from the street, on the house in a highly visible area and on the mail box; this will aid emergency responders in locating your home quickly. Finally, remember to take in all valuable property from you vehicle at night if it is left in the driveway or at the least do not leave expensive items in plain site in the vehicle.

Spring time a good time to update or create your home inventory sheet or security list. You don’t just do this for the police to identify your stolen property. You want to obtain the brand name, model number, serial number and value of the item. Take photos of valuables your jewelry or make videos of items, and list descriptions of location where the item is found in residence. If your home is burglarized or has fire damage, having a detailed inventory can help identify stolen items and make insurance claims easier to file. It will also help you prove to your insurance provider that you had that item and are not filing a false insurance claim. Make sure items like TV’s, DVD players, cameras, camcorders, jewelry, silver, computers, large appliances, game consoles, GPS and power tools are on the list. Remember to check the serial number twice (accuracy is important).

Once you have obtained the information on personal property from your residence, vehicles and garage, place the information in a computer file. Microsoft Excel is a wonderful computer program that can assist you. You can give a description, location, color, brand name, model number, serial number, caliber, value, and place photos in caption boxes. Save the file to your personal computer, thumb drive, and email the file to yourself at work or your personal email account, print out a hard copy and put in another location, like a safety deposit box, and your insurance agent, so if the computer is stolen or damaged by fire to always have a copy.

 **** Special Note*****

Certain weapons (handguns and rifles) and expensive jewelry may not be covered under your existing insurance provider. You need to check to see if your personal property will be covered if stolen or fire damage.



If you, a consumer, did not solicit the contractor who shows up at your door unannounced, then do not do business with that person. He or she may have an ulterior motive, or may have an accomplice who is waiting for the right time to enter your home with the intent to steal your valuables or your identity. 


The best safeguard is;

  • Make it a rule that you NEVER do business with someone you did not solicit.

  • NEVER give money, especially cash, “up front” for a job.

  • Call the Better Business Bureau before doing business with anyone. BBB can be reached at 583-6546. 

If you receive an unsolicited call: 


Remember, you did not ask to be called. DO NOT get pressured into accepting an offer 

  • It’s OK to say “No thank you!” and hang up

  • Ask them not to call again

  • Request written literature about an offer before making a decision

  • Be leery of those that can’t provide the requested information

  • Be careful of offers that are about to expire or are for a limited time only

  • These tactics are aimed at pressuring you 

  • NEVER send in money as a condition of picking up a prize 

  • Remember: If it’s free - its FREE!

  • Never give credit card numbers, social security numbers or bank account information to people you don’t know 

  • Report all suspicious requests to police 

  • Take your time and do your homework

  • ALWAYS follow your “gut” instinct

  • Ask them not to call you again


  • Usually aimed at big ticket items (house, car, appliances)Usually aimed at big ticket items (house, car, appliances)

  • Preys on a person’s lack of knowledge & expertise 

  • Repairs aimed at hard to get to places such as roofs, crawl spaces, etc. 

  • Sells a person on a bill of goods that warrants our trust of their opinion.

  • Be wary of unsolicited contractors - “If it isn’t broke - don’t fix it!”

  • Don’t fall for pressure tacticss

  • Get several opinions before making decision  

  • Check out a company’s credentials (Better Business Bureau))

  • Check the references of other consumers using a company’s service  

  • Get a contract proposal in writing outlining the conditions of work and terms of payment  

  • Deal with licensed and insured contractors    

  • NEVER pay for a job in advance - Negotiate a payment schedule and make the last payment contingent upon completed work    

 SAFETY TIPS WHILE AT HOME    (back to top of page)


A Visitor at Your Door

  • Know who is at your door 

  • Never open the door to a stranger - Use a one-way peep-hole

  • Establish the person’s identity and their purpose for the visit     

  • If they refuse to identify themselves contact police 

  • If you live in an apartment - contact the onsite manager 

  • If the visitor produces identification - consider checking with their business

  • If you are still uncomfortable ask them to return later - this allows you to contact a friend or neighbor  


1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.

2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.

3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste... and taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.

4. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it.

5. If it snows while you're out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway.

6. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don't let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it's set. That makes it too easy.

7. A good security company alarms the window over the sink.  Also alarm the windows on the second floor because they often access the master bedroom (and your jewelry). It's not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.

8. It's raining, you're fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door - understandable. But understand this: I don't take a day off because of bad weather.

9. I always knock first. If you answer, I'll ask for directions or offer to clean your gutters. (Don't take me up on it.)

10. Do you really think I won't look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.

11. Here's a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids' rooms.

12. You're right: I won't have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it's not bolted down, I'll take it with me.

13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system. If you're reluctant to leave your TV on while you're out of town, you can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates the flickering glow of a real television. (Find it at

14.  Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.

15. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.

16. I'll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he'll stop what he's doing and wait to hear it again. If he doesn't hear it again, he'll just go back to what he was doing. It's human nature.

17. I'm not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?

18. I love looking in your windows. I'm looking for signs that you're home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I'd like. I'll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets.

19. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It's easier than you think to look up your address. Parents: caution your kids about this. You see this every day.

20. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it's an invitation.

21. If you don't answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in.

Sources: Convicted burglars in North Carolina, Oregon, California, and Kentucky; security consultant Chris McGoey, who runs and Richard T. Wright, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St Louis, who interviewed 105 burglars for his book Burglars on the Job.

PROTECTION FOR YOU AND YOUR HOME:   (back to top of page)

WASP SPRAY.  A friend who is a receptionist in a high-risk area was concerned about someone coming into the office to rob them.  She asked the local police department about using pepper spray and they recommended to her that she get a can of wasp spray instead.  The wasp spray, they told her, can shoot up to twenty feet away and is a lot more accurate, while with the pepper spray, they have to get too close to you and could overpower you. The wasp spray temporarily blinds an attacker until they get to the hospital for an antidote. She keeps a can on her desk in the office and it doesn't attract attention from people like a can of pepper spray would. She also keeps one nearby at home for home protection.

PUT YOUR CAR KEYS BESIDE YOUR BED AT NIGHT.  If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get in your house, just press the panic button for your car. The alarm will be set off, and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the car battery dies. This tip came from a neighborhood watch coordinator. Next time you come home for the night and you start to put your keys away, think of this: It's a security alarm system that you probably already have and requires no installation. Test it. It will go off from most everywhere inside your house. It works if you park in your driveway or garage. If your car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break into your house, odds are the burglar/rapist won't stick around. After a few seconds all the neighbors will be looking out their windows to see who is out there and sure enough the criminal won't want that. And remember to carry your keys while walking to your car in a parking lot. The alarm can work the same way there.  

P.S. Would also be useful for any emergency, such as a heart attack, where you can't reach a phone. My Mom has suggested to my Dad that he carry his car keys with him in case he falls outside and she doesn't hear him. He can activate the car alarm and then she'll know there's a problem.


General Safety Tips you should always follow, whether you live in a big city or a small town.

Don’t develop a pattern of behavior. A pattern is what allows bad guys to plan an attack or ambush. It allows them to track your comings and goings. So they can plan when they can safely break into your apartment. Vary the times you come and go. Vary your routes to work, school, gym and coffeehouse Know your surroundings

Beware of what is normal in your neighborhood…or anyplace you frequent. Is that a new car on the street? Have those guys always hung out on that corner? Knowing what is normal allows you to notice the changes. Noticing changes makes you more aware of potential dangers. Those changes will cue you as to when something unexpected might be about to happen.

We have a “gut” for a reason. 99.9% of the time, going against it is bad form.  The number one clue that something isn’t right will more than likely come from inside of you. Your gut – That “something doesn’t seem ok here” feeling you get in your stomach. Don’t ignore it! There’s a reason we have those feelings. They’re ingrained from primal instincts, from millions of years ago, when we’d turn around and find a Tyrannosaurus Rex walking behind us, sizing us up for lunch. DO NOT IGNORE YOUR GUT. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. Trust your gut. You have it for a reason.

Situational Awareness is your best friend. Not using it turns your surroundings into your worst enemy. Yes, it’s fun to play Angry Birds on the subway. But don’t you think people are looking for those who are doing exactly that? If you’re busy throwing birds at pigs, or landing planes, or even reading a book on your device, the following things are happening: You’re focused almost entirely on whatever you’re doing, and not on your surroundings. You’re not holding onto your device with any level of strength – Rather, you’re just resting it on your hands. You can’t fling birds or turn pages if you’re grasping onto a device, so you don’t do it. Instead, you just rest it there, just waiting for someone to grab it and run off the train at the next open stop. In the end, I know we’re not going to stop using our devices in public places. That would defeat the entire purpose of the device. What we can do, though, is at least be more aware of our surroundings when we do it. Can we look up for a second after every level and just assess our situation? That’s not that hard to do.

Have your keys in your hands.  Whether going to your car, work or apartment, have your keys in your hand before you approach the door. This allows you quicker access through the door and avoids the major distraction of fumbling for keys as you reach the door. An attack is most likely to occur when you stop at a door and try to find your keys. Your head will be down and you will neither be looking around or listen for unusual sounds (like steps coming your way). Attacking a victim at this time also has the advantage of gaining access to whatever you were about to enter. Also, being hit with a large set of keys can often discourage an attack and holding the keys between your fingers and punching someone with them can make them very unhappy.

Small things we should all do, but rarely do. Wherever you are, a small powerful flashlight is one of the most important things you can have. Even with something as innocent as a power outage, think of all the places you’ll be on any given day that have no outside windows to let in light…hallways, stairs, elevators. A flashlight will always allow you to find your way to a safer place. In that same vein, don’t fall into the movie plot setup of investigating noises in the dark…that is why you have a cell phone and know how to call 911 (or just walk away) A whistle or other noisemaker is your friend. Attach a small whistle onto your keychain. There. Now it’s always there. Do NOT be afraid to use it to attract attention. Instead of yelling “HELP” when something goes wrong, yell “FIRE!” People are more likely to respond to “Fire” than to “help”.

Have a buddy system.  This doesn’t mean you always have to take a buddy when you go somewhere. It means letting someone know when you are doing something different or going someplace you haven’t been before… Also, when you plan to return, but it can be very useful if should you be stranded or injured in an area that doesn’t have cell coverage. You think it’s an exaggeration? Some very logical examples that could easily happen to you.

Don’t look like a Victim.  Victims of violent crimes like a mugging or robbery call attention to themselves by either being oblivious to their surroundings (defenseless) or by looking helpless (unable to defend themselves). Walk down a street with your head up and looking around. Make brief eye-contact, this takes away the element of surprise. Don’t hug either side of the sidewalk…especially not the inside where you have to pass close to doorways. Don’t text and walk at the same time. You’re screaming out “ROB ME!” Don’t stare (it can be taken as a challenge) but don’t be afraid to look at people (it isn’t an elevator). You can nod or smile if you’d like, but beware of offering an unintended invitation.



HOW TO DESCRIBE A SUSPECT AND VEHICLE (click here for printable document)   

INSTRUCTIONS: This form is to aid you describing a suspect or a suspect's vehicle. This does not take the place of phoning 911. In an emergency, do not take the time to fill in this form.
Date _____________________________
Time _____________________________
Location _____________________________
Direction of Travel _____________________________
Weapon _____________________________

Suspect Information

Male _____     Female _____
Adult _____     Juvenile _____     Approximate Age _____
Race _____________________________
Height __________     Weight __________
Hair Color _____________________________
Eye Color _____________________________
Mustache, beard, sideburns or other facial hair _____________________________
Tattoos, scars or other identifying marks _____________________________

Suspect's Clothing

Hat _____________________________
Glasses _____________________________
Shirt type and color _____________________________
Pants type and color _____________________________
Shoes _____________________________

Automobile Information

Make / Model_____________________________
Color _____________________________
Year _____________________________
Body style (2-door, 4-door, convertible, truck, etc.) _____________________________
License plate number _____________________________
Distinguishing features (spoiler, bumper stickers, tinting, damage, etc.) __________________


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