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251 West Plant St.
Winter Garden, FL 34787

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Safety Tips

Last Update: October 03 2012

PERSONAL SAFETY

  • Stay alert and tuned in to your surroundings wherever you are.
  • Don’t be taken by surprise. Be aware and be prepared.
  • Stand tall and walk confidently. Don’t show fear. Don’t look like a victim.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a place or situation, leave right away and get help if necessary.

ON FOOT

  • Choose busy streets and avoid going through vacant lots, alleys, or other deserted areas. At night, walk in well-lit areas whenever possible.
  • Try not to walk or jog alone. Take a friend or neighbor along for company.
  • Get to know the neighborhoods and neighbors where you live and work.
  • Carry your purse close to your body and keep a firm grip on it.

IN YOUR CAR

  • Always lock your car and take the keys, even if you’ll be gone only a short time.
  • Keep your car in good running condition and keep the tank at least one-quarter full.
  • Lock doors while driving.
  • If your car breaks down, raise the hood and place emergency reflectors or flares. Then stay in the locked car. When someone stops to help, don’t get out. Ask him or her, through a closed or cracked window, to telephone the police to come and help.
  • If you’re coming or going after dark, park in a well-lit area that will still be well-lit when you return.
  • Be especially alert when using enclosed parking garages. Don’t walk into an area if you feel uncomfortable.
  • Leave only your ignition key with a parking attendant. Don’t leave your house key, garage door opener, or other important items in your car.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.
  • Control your keys. Never leave an identification tag on your key ring. If your keys are lost or stolen, it could help a thief locate your car and burglarize your home.
  • If carrying packages or valuable items, store them in your trunk. If you do leave packages, clothing or other articles in the car, make sure they are out of sight.
  • Keep your car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and a complete description in a safe place at home. Since 1969, the federal government has required manufactures to engrave a unique number, the VIN, on all passenger cars in one visible and several hidden locations. One VIN is engraved on a metal plate on the dashboard near the windshield. VIN’s of stolen cars are registered with the FBI’s National Crime Information Center.
  • License plates frequently are stolen from cars used in other crimes. Get in the habit of checking your plates when you drive.

WHEN USING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

  • When using the bus, be sure to have your fare out and ready before you leave home, office or store.
  • Plan your route to use the busiest, best-lit stop possible, both to get on and off a bus. If you must wait, stay near the attendant’s stand or in the best-lit area available.
  • Keep your purse, shopping bag, backpack, packages, etc. in your lap, on your arm, or between your feet–not by themselves on an empty seat.
  • Sit near the driver but not right next to the door.
  • Don’t let yourself doze off on a bus. It can make you an easy target.

ATM MACHINE

  • Try to plan your visits to the automatic teller during the day rather than after dark.
  • Choose an ATM location that is in a busy public place.
  • Avoid making withdrawals in isolated areas.
  • If at all possible, take along a friend who can watch the surroundings while you are conducting your transactions.
  • Pre-plan your transaction carefully and don’t spend too much time at the machine.
  • When you make a withdrawal, quickly place the money in your purse or wallet and leave as soon as you finish your transaction.
  • Watch out for suspicious-looking people waiting around an ATM–they may not really be customers. If someone offers to let you go ahead of them, decline politely and leave.
  • When visiting a drive-through ATM, keep your doors locked and be prepared to drive away quickly. If anyone approaches your car on foot, roll up your window and drive off.
  • If you have not finished your transaction and you are approached by a suspicious character, press the CANCEL button, receive your card and leave quickly.

 

Keeping Kids Safe

A great thing about kids is their natural trust in people, especially in adults. It’s sometimes hard for parents to teach children to balance this trust with caution. But kids today need to know common-sense rules that can help keep them safe and build the self-confidence they need to handle emergencies.

MAKE SURE YOUR KIDS KNOW!

  • How to call 911 in emergencies and how to use a public phone. Help them practice making emergency phone calls. Be sure emergency numbers–police, fire, poison control and emergency medical–are by all phones.
  • Their full name, address, and phone number (including the area code), plus your work phone number. If you have a cell phone, teach your children these numbers as well.
  • How to walk confidently and stay alert to what’s going on around them.
  • To walk and play with friends, not alone.
  • To refuse rides or gifts from anyone, unless it’s someone both you and your child know and trust.
  • To tell a trusted adult immediately if anyone, no matter whom, touches them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.
  • SAFEGUARD YOUR CHILDREN
  • Learn about warning signs that your child might be involved with drugs or gangs.
  • Spend time listening to your children or just being with then. Help them find positive, fun activities that they can take part in.
  • Always know about your child’s activities.
  • Know where your child is and when he or she will return.
  • Be sure you and your child are clear on your rules and expectations for activities. Make absolutely clear what is OK and what is not.
  • Teach your child Internet safety tips. The people they talk to online might not be who they say they are.

HOME ALONE! WHAT KIDS SHOULD KNOW...

  • What steps you want them to follow when they get home, such as phoning you at work or a neighbor or grandparent who is at home.
  • Not to let strangers, adults or children into the home for any reason.
  • Not to tell telephone callers that they’re alone.
  • That door and window locks must always be used. Be sure your children know how to work them.
  • Not to go into the home if a door is ajar or a window is broken but to go to a neighbor’s house or public phone and call the police.
  • Your rules about acceptable activities when you are not at home. Be very clear.

INTERNET SAFETY TIPS FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN

  • Clear, simple, easy-to-read house rules should be posted on or near the monitor. Create your own computer rules or print the Internet Safety Pledge. The pledge can be signed by adults and children and should be periodically reviewed
  • Look into safeguarding programs or options your online service provider might offer. These may include monitoring or filtering capabilities.
  • Always read a website's privacy policy before giving any personal information. Also make sure that a website offers a secure connection before giving credit card information.
  • Websites for children are not permitted to request personal information without a parent's permission. Talk to children about what personal information is and why you should never give it to people online.
  • If children use chat or e-mail, talk to them about never meeting in person with anyone they first "met" online.
  • Talk to children about not responding to offensive or dangerous e-mail, chat, or other communications. Report any such communication to local law enforcement. Do not delete the offensive or dangerous e-mail; turn off the monitor, and contact local law enforcement.
  • Keep the computer in the family room or another open area of your home.
  • Get informed about computers and the Internet.
  • Let children show you what they can do online, and visit their favorite sites.
  • Have children use child-friendly search engines when completing homework.
  • Know who children are exchanging e-mail with, and only let them use chat areas when you can supervise. NetSmartz recommends limiting chatroom access to child-friendly chat sites.
  • Be aware of any other computers your child may be using.
  • Internet accounts should be in the parent's name with parents having the primary screenname, controlling passwords, and using blocking and/or filtering devices.
  • Children should not complete a profile for a service provider and children's screennames should be nondescript so as not to identify that the user is a child.
  • Talk to children about what to do if they see something that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused. Show them how to turn off the monitor and emphasize that it's not their fault if they see something upsetting. Remind children to tell a trusted adult if they see something that bothers them online.
  • Consider using filtering or monitoring software for your computer. Filtering products that use whitelisting, which only allows a child access to a preapproved list of sites, are recommended for children in this age group. NetSmartz does not advocate using filters only; education is a key part of prevention.
  • If you suspect online "stalking" or sexual exploitation of a child, report it to your local law-enforcement agency. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has a system for identifying online predators and child pornographers and contributing to law-enforcement investigations. It's called the CyberTipline®. Leads forwarded to the site will be acknowledged and shared with the appropriate law-enforcement agency for investigation.

SAFE AT HOME

  • Make sure all doors to the outside are metal or solid.
  • Make sure all doors to the outside have good, sturdy locks.
  • Use the locks you have. Always lock up your home when you go out, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
  • Secure sliding glass doors with commercially available bars or locks.
  • Make sure your windows, especially at ground level, have good locks and use them.
  • Make sure all porches and other possible entrances are well-lit.
  • Trim any bushes or trees that hide doors or windows. Keep ladders, tools, toys, and recreational equipment inside when you’re not using them.
  • Don’t hide your house keys under the doormat or in a flowerpot. It’s much wiser to give an extra key to a trusted neighbor.
  • Keep written records of all furniture, jewelry and electronic products. If possible, keep these records in a safe deposit box, fireproof safe, or other secure place. Take pictures or a video, and keep purchase information and serial numbers if available. These help law enforcement agencies track recovered items.
  • Clearly display your house number so police and other emergency vehicles can find your home quickly.
  • If you see a screen that has been cut, broken windows, or a door that’s been left open, don’t go in. Call the police.
  • If you hear a noise that sounds like someone breaking in or moving around, quietly call the police and wait calmly until they arrive. If you can leave safely, do so. Otherwise, lock yourself in a room you are in and stay on the phone with the dispatcher.

WHEN YOU GO AWAY

  • Ask a trusted neighbor to collect your mail and newspaper.
  • Leave word about when you’re leaving, when you’ll return, and how you can be reached in an emergency.
  • Put automatic timers on at least two lights (and possibly a radio) to help your home look and sound lived-in.

 

We Can Help!

The Winter Garden Police Department can assist you with your crime prevention and safety efforts. The Department has personnel who can provide various services, such as:

  • Security checks for homes and for businesses located in the City at no cost.
  • Crime prevention presentations for civic and social organizations, homeowner’s associations, Neighborhood Watch groups, and businesses to help reduce the risk of robbery, theft, burglary, sexual assault, etc.
  • Bicycle Registration. Registrations can be made by bringing your bicycle to the police station where an identification number will be stamped into the frame.
  • Making periodic House Checks when you are away from home for an extended period of time. You can request a House Check by coming to the Police Department in person or contacting the Police Department by telephone at 407-656-3636.
  • Golf Cart Registration can be made by contacting the Police Department and requesting registration of your golf cart. You will need to have the make, model, serial number and any unique identifying marks ready to give to the police officer.