The holidays are over, and it’s time for all of us to settle back into our normal routines. It’s also the time of year to start thinking about our New Year’s resolutions. Whether you’re looking to kick old habits or create new ones, it’s important to consider some easy routines you can create to help protect yourself and your family from becoming a victim of crime.
When creating safety routines, get your whole family involved. This is a great opportunity to start teaching your kids about safety and developing smart habits for their future.
Here are a few safe habits to help get your family started:
Always lock your doors, even if you’re home. Make it a habit for anyone in your house to always lock the door behind them. Whether you’re returning home, waiting for other family members to arrive home, working in your garage or out in the yard, your door should always be locked. Make sure that everyone who needs a key has one, and carries it with them. Instead of leaving spare keys hidden outside your residence, consider leaving one with a closeby friend or neighbor that you trust.
Don’t leave your vehicle to warm up with keys in the ignition. It can take less than 30 seconds for someone to drive away with your car if you’ve left the keys in the ignition. That’s less time than it takes for you to walk back inside your house and pour your coffee into a travel mug. If you don’t have an automatic starter and you need to warm up your car, make sure that you are outside with it. Being in a cold car is better than having no car.
If you are set on leaving your vehicle with the keys inside of it, at least make sure that the doors to the vehicle are locked and that you’ve invested in a steering wheel lock. Children or pets, under any circumstances, should never be left alone in a running vehicle.
Create a bedtime routine. Create a routine with your family to make sure that your residence and vehicle(s) are secure before you go to bed. Make sure that you check that all windows are shut, doors are locked, garage is closed, and keys and garage door openers are removed from vehicles. Assign tasks to different members of your family to get everyone involved and to start developing these safety habits while your kids are young.
For example, after brushing their teeth, have your kids check that all the windows in your house are shut and doors are locked, including any doors leading to the garage. By combining the activity with a habit that is already done daily, you will have more success at remembering to lock all doors.
Report suspicious people, vehicles, or activity. Make it a habit to report any suspicious activity in your neighborhood to us. You know what’s normal for your street and when something might be out of place, and we rely on you to let us know when that’s the case. By reporting a suspicious person or vehicle you may save yourself or a neighbor from being the victim of a break-in, theft, or worse. Call 403-266-1234 to report suspicious activity, or call 9-1-1 for an emergency or if you see a crime being committed.
Have a safe start to your New Year!
Roger Chaffin is the Chief of Police for the Calgary Police Service.
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