Crime Prevention Tips

Home Invasion Safety Tips

Home invasions are particularly frightening because they violate our private space and the one place that we think of as our sanctuary.

The most common point of attack is through the front door or garage. Sometimes the home invaders will simply kick open the door and confront everyone inside.

More common is when the home invaders knock on the door first or ring the bell. The home invader hopes that the occupant will simply open the door, without question, in response to their knock. Unfortunately, many people do just that. Home invaders will sometimes use a ruse or impersonation to get you to open the door. They have been known to pretend to be delivering a package, flowers or lie about an accident like hitting your parked car.

Once the door is opened for them, the home invaders will use an explosive amount of force and threats to gain control of the home and produce fear in the victims. Once the occupants are under control the robbers will begin to collect your valuables.

Remember these important security steps:
  • Install solid core door, heavy duty locks, and window security devices.
  • Use four three-inch screws to secure heavy duty lock strike plates.
  • Use the door peephole BEFORE opening the door.
  • Use your porch light to help you see clearly.
  • Never rely on a chain-latch as a barrier to partially open the door.
  • Never open the door to strangers or solicitors.
  • Call the police if the stranger acts suspicious.
  • Alert your neighbors to suspicious solicitors.
  • Hold a family meeting to discuss home security plans.
  • Relinquish only your car key to garage or parking lot attendants, etc. Always retain custody of your house key.
  • Be highly selective in whom you admit. (Offenders are often friends or acquaintances of their victims).
  • Require identification of repairman, servicemen, etc. (Offenders sometimes pose as phone repairmen, policemen, fire inspectors, etc.).
  • Do not let phone callers know that you are alone.
  • Keep doors and windows locked.
  • Keep shades or drapes drawn after dark.


According to the Unsolved Mysteries Web site, home invasion robbers prey on the kindness of strangers. If a stranger comes to your door asking to use the phone, offer to make the call for them, but never open the door to them -- not even if they claim to be in danger.
  • Be suspicious if you have not ordered an item for delivery or if the officer is being vague. If unsure, confirm the person's identity by calling their company or precinct.
  • Avoid reckless displays of wealth that might attract the attention of criminals. Home invasion robbers often follow their victims home after witnessing evidence of wealth on the part of the victim.
  • If you see someone outside of your home or apartment building that looks suspicious, contact the authorities and ask them to investigate.

Home Security Checklist

  • Every exterior door should have a dead-bolt lock with a one inch throw.
  • Secure sliding glass doors with a commercial lock or wooden dowel in the track.
  • Don't hide keys to your locks outside, leave them with a trusted neighbor.
  • Teach your children safety rules concerning locking doors, windows, and answering the door and telephone.
  • Make sure all porches, entrances and yards are well-lighted.
  • Use automatic timers on lighting.
  • Prune shrubbery that hides doors or windows as they may hide prowlers.
  • Keep your yard well maintained. Store all ladders, tools, bicycles in your basement or garage when not in use.
  • Investigate various alarm systems before a considered purchase. Check smoke detectors and alarm systems monthly.
  • Teach your family what to do in an emergency, such as a fire or an intruder.
  • Know your neighbors and conditions that may contribute to crime and public safety
  • The Police Department will provide an engraver to identify personal property. Document serial numbers of all possessions.

How To Be Street and Shopping Safe

  1. Drive and park your car with your doors locked at all times.
  2. Lock all packages and other valuables in the trunk. Keep them out of sight to the public.
  3. It is best not to shop alone.
  4. Walk confidently. Be alert, taking notice who passes and who is behind you.
  5. Avoid shortcuts that pass through dark or unknown areas. Use well lit and traveled areas of access.
  6. Avoid large and cumbersome purses. Hold your purse tightly against against your body. Keep your wallet in a front pocket or a buttoned hip pocket.
  7. Carry as little cash as possible.
  8. Be cautious of personal possessions while in fitting rooms and waiting in checkout lines.
  9. Keep track of all credit cards and checking accounts. Immediately report any lost card or bank account to the police and the financial institution.
  10. Consider carrying a whistle or some type of noisemaker. If you find yourself in trouble, use it.
  11. Carrying a weapon can ask for trouble. It can easily be turned against you.
  12. When returning to your car, be observant. Look around, under and inside your vehicle. Have your key ready prior to arrival.
  13. If you are being followed, drive directly to the police station, hospital or other safe public place.
  14. In the event you are accosted, do not delay in following the perpetrators demand for your property.

Identity and Credit Card Theft Prevention

Jury Duty Scam
The Police Department would like to share with you the latest scam that is spreading quickly.

Most citizens take a summons for jury duty seriously. A new and ominous kind of fraud has surfaced where the caller claims to be a jury coordinator. If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your social security number and date of birth so he or she can verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant.

Give out any of this information and your identity was just stolen. This fraud has been reported so far in Florida, New York, Minnesota, Illinois, Colorado, Oregon, California, Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona and New Hampshire.

This scam is particularly insidious because they use intimidation over the phone to try to bully people into giving information by pretending they are with the court system.


  1. Carry only essential identification. Carry your Social Security card, birth certificate or passport only when you know you'll need them. Reduce your credit card accounts to a minimum.
  2. Do not leave your purse, wallet or cards on store counters, stay alert to surroundings. Always take receipts with you.
  3. Cut up, shred or otherwise destroy pre-approved credit offers, credit card statements, banking records and other documents with personal information before placing them in the trash or recycling. There are "Dumpster Divers."
  4. Do not keep ATM or personal identification numbers (PIN) or other passwords in your purse or wallet. Memorize them.
  5. Keep a list or photocopy of all your credit accounts and bank statements in a secure place, such as a lock box or locked file cabinet. Include account numbers, expiration dates and telephone numbers of customer service and fraud departments.
  6. Avoid giving out your credit card or personal information over the phone or the Internet, unless you are certain of the caller's identity. If possible, only give out when you have initiated the contact.
  7. Do not have your Social Security, driver's license or phone numbers printed on your checks.
  8. If your personal identification, drivers license, credit card, check, etc. has been stolen make a police report and notify the lending institution immediately.
  9. Order a credit report annually. Make sure the information is accurate and there are no discrepancies or unusual accounts.

EQUIFAX   (1-800-525-6258)
EXPERIAN   (1-888-397-3742)
TRANS UNION   (1-800-680-7289)
Consumer Assistance in Pittsburgh 1-800-727-2893
Federal Trade Commission

Contact the

USC Police

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or 911

Administration Office
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8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Non-Emergency Calls

1820 McLaughlin Run Road  Upper St. Clair, PA 15241
USC Police Department