Security Tips

Automobile Safety

Securing your vehicle can be a simple and effective way to prevent crime. But it's also one of the most often overlooked actions. Many auto burglaries and thefts could be prevented simply by locking your doors. Here are some other tips:

  • Never leave keys in your car
  • Keep your doors locked and windows rolled all the way up
  • Maintain all interior lighting
  • Park in well-lit areas after dark
  • Conceal packages and valuables from public view (includes GPS devices)
  • Keep purses on the floor not in the seat when occupying your vehicle
  • Take your purse with you when you aren't in your vehicle
  • Purchase and use a locking fuel tank cap
  • Do not label keys with name, address or vehicle make/model
  • Do not store firearms, GPS devices, laptops or other electronics in your car
  • Learn and remember your tag number
  • Liability insurance is required, but comprehensive insurance is recommended also
  • Homeowners' or Renters' insurance will cover items taken from inside a vehicle

Safeguarding Children

Protecting our most precious resource is one of the chief reasons the police department exists. Here are some tips for keeping your children safe from harm in today's world.

Use a Child Seat

Comply with the law by using a correctly installed child safety seat. If you ever have any questions as to how to install a child safety seat come to the Dothan Police Department's front desk and ask to speak with a certified child safety seat instructor -- the police department has a number of certified instructors who can inspect your seat and show you how to install it. You needn't bring your child, but it is recommended so that they can ensure the best fit.

State law has the following requirements for child safety seats. If you do not conform to these requirements, you can receive a ticket for improper child restraint. These requirements are a minimum standard and you may choose to go above and beyond these requirements if you desire.

  • Rear-facing seat required for all children until they are 1-year-old or 20 pounds
  • Forward-facing seat required for children over 1 to 5 years old or more than 20 to 40 pounds
  • Belt-positioning booster seat until the child is 6-years-old
  • Properly fastened seat belt until the child is 15-years-old

Children should be required to remain in a properly fastened seat belt and be transported in the back seat of an automobile. Passenger airbags are not designed to work with the smaller and lighter frames of children's bodies. Also, children should not be permitted to ride in the bed of a pickup truck or any area of any vehicle not equipped with passenger restraint systems.

At the Playground

  • Make sure equipment has protective surfacing under it - mulch, wood chips, sand, fine gravel, or rubber matting.
  • Inspect equipment for damage, wear-and-tear and head entrapment hazards - openings that are closed on all sides and between 3-1/2 and 9 inches in size.
  • Always keep visual contact with your child.

At Play

  • Proper safety gear is a must: for softball and baseball - helmet; for bicycle - helmet; for skates and skateboard - helmet, elbow pads, wrist guards, gloves, knee pads; for scooter - helmet, wrist guards, knee and elbow pads.
  • Keep sports equipment in good condition.
  • Have your child take lessons for any new sport or physical activity.

Traffic Tips

  • Teach your child to cross streets only at corners, to use crosswalks, and to obey traffic signals.
  • Supervise all children under age 10 when crossing a street.
  • Your child needs to know to obey traffic signs and signals when on a scooter, skates, skateboard or bike - and to beware of cars at alleys and driveways.

Personal Safety

  • Keep doors and windows locked, and open the door only to people you know and trust.
  • If someone calls, say your parent can't come to the phone right now and take a message.
  • You'll need to decide with your child what the rules are about cooking, using tools and appliances, taking a shower or bath, having friends over, and going out.
  • Your child will also need to learn safety skills, such as where your first-aid kit is located and how to use it. Review with your child what to do in case of emergencies, including fire, a plumbing problem, or a power outage. Finally, ask your local Red Cross chapter, police or fire department about first-aid and safety courses for children.
  • Teach your child NO, GO, and TELL: If a stranger offers something or asks for help, say "NO", GO away quickly, and TELL a trusted adult what happened. Always have your child tell you where he/she is going and when he/she is expected back.

Sun Safety

  • To prevent skin cancer later in life, have your child wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 when outside - even on cloudy days.
  • Re-apply every 2 hours, or after swimming or sweating. Have your child wear long-sleeved clothes, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses. Avoid the sun from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm when it is strongest.

Home Alone

  • If your child must ever be alone at home, set up some house rules. Tell your child:
    • Go straight home after school.
    • Keep doors and windows locked, and open the door only to people you know and trust.
    • If someone calls, say your parent can't come to the phone right now and take a message.
    • You'll need to decide with your child what the rules are about cooking, using tools and appliances, taking a shower or bath, having friends over, and going out.

Home Security

  • When away, make your home look and sound occupied.
    • Use an inexpensive timer for lights and radio or TV.
    • Cancel newspaper and other daily deliveries.
    • Lock all windows and doors.
  • Make sure your locks work.
  • Use deadbolts!
  • Test the doorknob locks your are using now.
    • Open the door, lock it, and then try to push the bolt back into the door.
    • If you can push the bolt back into the door, then it is not safe.
  • Don't label your house and car keys. If you lose them, a simple check of the phone book will tell a burglarwhere to visit.
    • Color code keys to avoid burglars from identifying them and particular doors.
  • Don't put your name on the mailbox or the front door / yard.
    • A burglar can "case" your home, then call on the phone to see you're home.
  • Make sliding glass doors more secure.
    • This is a burglar's favorite entry point. Usually they are secluded and uneasily seen from neighboring yards and streets.
    • Use a "Charlie" bar or a similar device.
  • If a dog is welcomed at your house, great! Burglars and thieves will avoid angry or barking dogs.
  • Leave some outdoor lights on when away.
    • A security light can be installed at a low monthly charge.
    • Motion detector lights are very helpful. They automatically come on when nearby movement occurs.
  • During the day, leave drapes and blinds open so movement inside can be detected.
  • Look after your neighbors and have them look after you.
  • If you see anything suspicious, call the police or sheriff.
  • Don't intervene in an incident. You might get hurt.
  • Let your police department know when you are away from home.
  • Don't leave tools, ladders, or anything that might be used by a burglar lying outside.
  • Inventory your property, tools and valuables. Engraving an alphanumeric ID number (make one up and stick with it) or your name and phone number will aid in the recovery of stolen property.
  • Use a safety deposit box.