Talk suggests ways to prevent crime
05/25/2011
Carroll County Times

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Trust your instincts. That was one of the main messages at the Springtime Safety crime prevention talk at the South Carroll Senior and Community Center Tuesday.

Bruce Lohr, community crime prevention specialist with the Maryland Community Crime Prevention Institute, gave the talk and also answered questions, handed out brochures and offered other giveaways.

This was the second of five county senior centers that Lohr is visiting to give the safety talks.

Lohr suggested things like car, elevator and home safety tips. Though mostly seniors were in attendance, his advice will benefit people of all ages.

When parking a car, one should always lock the doors and remove the keys from the vehicle.

"Even for a quick errand," he said.

When on an elevator with others, rather then step to the back on the elevator, stay near the control panel when possible. The control panel will allow people to call for help or get the elevator to stop at the next floor if there is a problem.

When parking in a lot or a garage, ask a security guard to walk you back to your vehicle or travel with a friend for extra security. Also make sure the area is well-lit if out at night, Lohr said.

For safety in the home, make sure not to let strangers into the house.

"Nobody comes into your home unless you validate it," he said.

Sometimes people should even be wary of identification cards, since fake ones can be made with a computer. Lohr suggested calling the agency a potential visitor claims to work for to verify they are who they say they are.

Screens on windows and security chains on doors will not stop intruders, Lohr said. Make sure windows are shut and doors are locked.

"Don't make it easy for the bad guy," he said.

Lohr also suggested adding lighting to homes.

"Lighting is one of the best deterrents to crime there is," he said.

Sheila Martin, of Marriottsville, said she knew most of the safety tips but learned a lot about the fake IDs. She plans to practice what Lohr said and appreciated the animated way he gave his presentation.

"It makes it more interesting when he puts humor in it," she said.

Jeannette Vasbinder, of Eldersburg, said he mentioned good tips she hadn't thought about before, like the importance of lighting all around the exits of the house. She has a light at her front door but now may install extra lighting at other entrances, she said.

"I plan to make changes about going around by myself," she said.