The prevention of crime is the primary goal of the Golden Police Department. Toward that end, we think it is important to provide citizens with safety tips and information so that they, too, can take a stand against crime.
This section provides information for businesses and individuals. To obtain additional information, or to schedule a presentation for your business or organization, please contact the Community Services Unit.
Golden Safety Academy
Most criminals are opportunists. Victims often unwittingly create opportunities for criminals. A business door being left unlocked after closing, for example. Awareness for the potential of crime empowers individuals and businesses to act more cautiously, thus reducing or eliminating the opportunity. It requires, for many, a change in the way they think, as well as infusing a healthy suspicion into our daily lives and activities.
Businesses can take an active role in reducing criminal opportunity in and around their property by participating in a variety of crime prevention initiatives.
In its most simple form, this is a group of businesses that form a relationship between store owners and employees within a particular area. By watching out for each other, businesses can maintain a safer working and shopping atmosphere within and around their establishment.
Businesses can reduce their vulnerability to crime in many ways. Security measures like updated locks, lighting, and alarms can make any establishment a less attractive target for criminals. Contact the Community Services Unit to have your business assessed for security recommendations.
Parking Lot Security
Car-jacking, auto break-ins, car thefts, armed robberies, rapes – parking lots present all these dangers and more. It is important for the owner or manager of a parking lot to make the lot as safe as possible. To accomplish this, businesses should create a security plan that includes appropriate signage, emergency telephones, alarms (duress and elevator), good lighting, video surveillance, security patrols, and good access control.
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)
Crime Prevention Officers can review plans of new developments, buildings, or any other proposed structures to be built along with major renovations of existing structures for recommendations to prevent crime even before construction begins. This process is called Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and its objective is to have structures designed with crime prevention tactics incorporated to reduce the probability of crime.
Identity theft or fraud, the taking of a victim’s identity to obtain credit, apply for loans, rent an apartment, file bankruptcy, or obtain a job, is the fastest-growing crime in America, affecting almost half a million new victims each year.
Armed with a computer and key pieces of someone’s identifying information, today’s thieves can steal without ever leaving the comfort of their home. Having information such as your name, address, date of birth, and social security number enables the identity thief to commit numerous forms of fraud. The thieves can take over the victim’s financial accounts, open new bank accounts, purchase automobiles, apply for loans, credit cards and social security benefits, and establish services with utility and phone companies. All of this can leave you in a lurch when they don’t pay.
Learn more about protecting your personal information with out Identity Theft Tips & Action Steps.
Residential Safety Tips
The Bureau of Justice Statistics defines household burglary as “unlawful or forcible entry or attempted entry of a residence.” This crime usually, but not always, involves theft. The illegal entry may be made by force, such as breaking a window or slashing a screen, or may be made without force by entering through an unlocked door or an open window. As long as the person entering has no legal right to be present in the structure, including a garage, shed or other structure on the premises, a burglary has occurred.
Of all the major criminal offenses, residential burglary is perhaps the most common. A burglary is reported every 15 seconds in the United States. 67 percent of all burglaries involve forcible entry, with over half (52 percent) occurring during the daylight hours. Most residential burglaries are crimes of opportunity. The burglars devote very little time to advance planning and they are looking for quick, safe targets. Thus, the more a homeowner does to keep the home from looking like an easy target, the safer the home usually is.
Intrusion alarm systems, or burglar alarms, can provide valuable protection if installed correctly by a reliable vendor and, above all, used responsibly. The existence of an alarm system is a major determining factor in the selection of an intruder’s targets; most would prefer to go elsewhere when faced with the possibility of an alarm. Commercial and residential alarm permits are available through the City of Golden and are good through December 31 of the year filed. The permit application is available by download below, or a copy may be picked up at the Golden Police Station at 911 10th St.
You can take several steps to reduce false alarms. The first is to identify their causes.
1. For homeowners, some of the common causes are:
- Using incorrect keypad codes. 49% of the time the wrong code was entered.
- Failing to train authorized users.
- Failure to secure doors and windows once the alarm is turned on.
- Failure to set the right alarm mode; homeowners set the alarm for “Away” mode instead of “Stay” mode and then remain on-site or have wandering pets.
- Re-entering the home just after leaving without disarming (assuming the exit delay is long enough to compensate).
- Objects hanging by or around motion detectors.
- Weak system batteries.
- Faulty equipment.
- Acts of nature (strong winds, electrical storms, etc.).
False alarms due to faulty equipment or acts of nature are rare. The single largest cause of false alarms is human error.
2. Before activating your alarm system:
- Lock all protected doors and windows.
- Keep pets, balloons, fans, heaters, plants, curtains, seasonal decorations, etc. away from motion sensor areas.
- Educate alarm system users
- Train them on how to operate your system.
- They should have knowledge of correct arming codes, pass codes, telephone numbers and procedures for canceling accidental alarm activations.
3. Notify your security company if you plan on going on vacation:
- Tell them what days you will be gone.
- Tell them whether or not anyone is authorized to be in your home while you are away.
- Update your emergency contact information, including who has keys to your home.
- Give them a number to reach you, preferably a cell phone number, should your alarm system activate while you are away.
4. Have your security company check and service your system regularly:
- Routine maintenance can help prevent many false alarms.
- It is a recognized fact that good lighting is a deterrent to crime. It not only makes the area safer for the homeowner, but also forces the intruder to work in an area where he may be exposed and reported to the police.
- Lighting should be placed in an area that cannot be easily reached by an intruder and should light entry doors and carports or garages.
- Photocell or motion detection lighting can be helpful for the forgetful homeowner. Photocell lighting turns on automatically at dusk and off at dawn as long as the switch inside the home stays on. Motion detection lighting is helpful if a light is disruptive to neighbors. This type of light would be activated by motion in the area.
Landscaping and Plant Materials
Bushes, trees, and shrubbery can conceal a potential intruder as he attempts entry into a window or door, or waits in hiding for the homeowner. Trim shrubbery and trees so doors and windows are visible to neighbors and from the street. Prune trees so they can’t help a thief climb to second story windows.
- Ground plants (shrubbery and bushes) within four (4) feet of any sidewalks, driveways, doors or gates should be no taller than two (2) feet.
- Ground plants between four (4) feet and eight (8) feet of any sidewalks, driveways doors or gates should be no taller than four (4) feet.
- Ground plants under windows should be maintained at a height that is below the window sill.
- Trees should be trimmed to that lower branched are more than six (6) feet off the ground.
- Planting spiny or thorny plants along fences and under windows can discourage possible burglars.
Doors are usually the burglar’s first choice of entry into a home. Believe it or not, some residents leave exterior doors unlocked. In other entries, the burglar simply breaks the door or a side light and reaches in and unlocks the door.
- Exterior doors should be of solid core (wood, not composite materials) or steel, 2 ¾ inch thick is preferred.
- Entry doors should fit their frames tightly, with no more than 1/8 inch clearance between the door and the frame.
- Entry doors should have a wide angle (180º) door viewer to permit the occupant to see visitors without opening the door.
Deadbolt locks, installed correctly, provide good protection for an entry door.
- The bolt should extend a least 1” from the front edge of the door (called a 1” throw).
- The connecting screws that hold the lock together should be on the inside of the door.
- The strike plate should be attached to the door frame with screws that measure at least 3” in length.
- The cylinder should have a steel guard – a ring around the key section. The cylinder guard should be tapered or rotate around the key section (if twisted) to prevent wrenching.
Windows can be a way for a burglar to enter a home. The primary interest in securing windows is to eliminate entry by prying open or breaking a small area of glass to reach a single latch.
- Double Hung Windows – These are the most common type of window found in homes. Factory supplied locks are easily jimmied or pried open and represent only temporary obstacles to the determined burglar
- Casement, Hopper, or Awning Windows – These window styles generally hinge or pivot at one point and the locks used on such windows may have lever handles that actually pull the windows tightly closed. They may also have cranks located on the frame which, when rotated, extend the windows to the open position. In most cases, the locks used with these styles are reasonable secure.
- Basement Windows – Basement windows in a house often represent a unique security problem. Basement windows are nearly always located at or below grade. This makes the window difficult to secure and particularly vulnerable to intrusion. Window glass can be replaced with a polycarbonate material giving the windows extra strength to withstand repeated blows. Ornamental security bars or grills covering the inside or outside of a window can be a good way to keep out burglars. If not installed correctly, however, such security precautions could trap the occupant inside during an emergency such as a fire. If security bars or grills are installed on windows, there should be at least one window in each room that can be released or removed from the inside without a key or special tool. They should never be installed on the windows of sleeping rooms.
Senior citizens represent the most rapidly growing segment of the population in the United States. Although national surveys indicate that senior citizens are the least victimized age group, they often exhibit the greatest fear of crime. This fear can at least partially be contributed to their fear of personal vulnerability. These are some basic safety tip. Additional information can be obtained by contacting the Community Services Unit.
Safety at the Door
- Don’t open the door unless you know your visitor.
- Have a through-the-door viewer installed on each exterior door.
- If the person is a salesman or representative, verify their information with the business before opening the door. Refuse to deal with anyone who will not provide this information before opening the door.
- Someone may knock at the door and ask to use your telephone for an emergency. Never open the door. Take the information and make the call for them.
- Call 9-1-1 immediately if you believe you are in danger.
- If a telephone call is obscene, hang up the phone but do not slam the receiver down.
- If a telephone call is threatening, contact the police department immediately.
- Never allow yourself to be drawn into a conversation with an unknown caller in which you reveal your name, address, marital status, or anything to indicate you are alone.
- Don’t let a caller know you are angry or upset. This is the reaction they want and will often encourage them.
- Any offer that sounds too good to be true probably is.
- Legitimate sweepstakes or prize offers don’t ask for payment because it is illegal. If you are asked for payment in order to receive a prize, it is probably a scam.
- If a caller asks for a donation but won’t tell you exactly how the money will be used and how you can verify the charity, it is probably a scam.
Deterring the Burglar
- Never carry identification on your key ring or holder.
- Don’t hide a spare key outside your door…burglars know where to look.
- Always lock exterior doors, even when you are home.
- Avoid chain locks on doors. They are easily broken.
Vacation Safety Tips
Before Leaving, Secure Your Residence
- Have good locks on doors and windows.
- Make sure your house looks lived in, not empty.
- Leave shades and blinds in a normal position.
- Ask a neighbor to watch your house.
- Test your smoke and burglar alarms.
- Stop ALL deliveries – mail, newspaper.
- Arrange for someone to mow your lawn.
- Have your neighbor put your garbage cans out/in.
- Plug in timers to turn lights and a radio or TV on/off.
- If you have call forwarding on your phone, forward your phone calls to a trusted friend or relative.
- Don’t announce your absence on your answering machine.
- Ask the police department to place your house on a “Vacation Watch“.
On the Road
- Never carry large amounts of cash; use travelers checks.
- Do not stop to offer help to a stranded motorist. Go to the nearest telephone and call for help or use your cell phone.
- If your car breaks down, raise your hood and attach a white flag to the antenna or door handle. If someone stops to help, it is advisable that you stay in your locked car and ask them to call police or a garage. If you must abandon your car, keep all passengers together.
- Do not carry your plane tickets or passport in open view.
- Females should carry their purses under their arms.