The Philippine National Police is committed to ensuring public safety and reducing the fear and the incidence of crime in the community. But there are many things each and every community member can do to reduce his or her chances of becoming a victim or prevent the incidence of crime from happening. Below are crime prevention tips for your home, your business, yourself and your family. We urge you to familiarize yourself with the information contained in this section and to make crime prevention, awareness and education a part of your everyday life.
Crime Prevention Tips
- Get to know your neighbors and all those residing in your street. They will be your partners in watching the activities in your block.
- Organize a Street Watch composed of neighbors as members. Be concerned and cooperate in watching activities on the block and reporting unusual or suspicious behavior to the police and the Street Watch Officer.
- Exchange names, home and work telephone numbers among members. Prepare diagram of the block or neighborhood where you belong for easy identification of households in case an emergency or crime incident occurs. The diagram should contain the house number, telephone numbers and occupants' names. The emergency and police department telephone numbers should be included in the diagram.
- Look after you neighbor’s house when he is away and ask him to look after yours. This includes collecting your mail, newspapers and other deliveries which would indicate at a glance that no one is home.
- Attend meetings called by your Street Watch Officer. Find out about the crime situation in your area and what you can do about them. Share information and experiences with your neighbors.
- Get to know your police chief and members of the police station in your area. Write down the station’s emergency hotline number in a place you can easily see in case you will need police advise or assistance. Use your police force – they are ready, willing and able to keep you, your family and your neighborhood safe and sound.
Emergency Call 117
An emergency call is defined as a situation where a person’s life or property is in danger or threatened. In-progress calls are where crimes are being committed at the time of your report.
Examples of Emergency Calls
- Accidents with injuries
- Attempted suicides
- Rescue calls
- Ambulance calls
- Persons injured or bleeding
- All fire calls
- Strangers forcibly entering a house
- Strangers carrying household articles, appliances from neighbor’s house
- Someone trying to gain entrance to your home
- Group of persons with weapons preparing to fight
- Automobiles stopping to pick up a person walking along the street and it looks that the person doesn’t want to go, especially young children.
- Armed robberies
A non-emergency call is a situation where a person’s life and property is not in immediate danger. Included under this definition are crimes against property, crimes against persons where the victim is not injured and offenders are not at or near the scene. However, a police officer is needed to respond, investigate and take a report.
Examples of Non-Emergency Calls
- Smashed doors or windows in unoccupied homes or stores
- Abandoned car on the street.
- Persons loitering near school.
- Information and rumors of impending crimes.
- Persistent anonymous calls.
- Suspicious looking persons following your moves while shopping or on your way home.
- Late discovery of crimes against persons or property.
Information the emergency operator will want to know:
- A description of the emergency you are reporting. (What did you observe?)
- The address or location of the emergency you are reporting.
- Your name, address and telephone number.
- Number of persons involved.
- Descriptions of the persons involved.
- Direction taken by the escaping suspects.
- Is suspect in a vehicle or on foot?
- Plate number and description of vehicle.
- Other details and circumstances.
Keeping the family Safe
- Make sure you and members of your family know the whereabouts of everyone for the day. Place a “whereabouts” board in the kitchen or family room where family members can post their schedules or destinations for the day.
- Instruct all family members and household help not to entertain strangers at the gate or on the phone. Children should be especially trained not to converse with strangers on the phone. Transactions, if any, should be done outside the gate. This will prevent closer observation of your premises or the household layout.
- Teach your family and household helps to verify the identity of phone callers before identifying themselves.
- Never give out information on the whereabouts of family members to just anyone on the phone. Friends or relatives should be politely asked to call again so they can personally talk to the person they are looking for. Should the unknown caller insist on asking to speak to each and every family member, ask for his name and politely say the message will be relayed and that he should call back again. Call the police for assistance if you
- repeatedly receive anonymous phone calls.
- Instruct family members and your house help that designated family member must be contacted in an emergency or if there are dubious characters at your door or on your phone. List the important phone numbers in the front or back page of your directory for easy access.
- Be aware of phone swindlers who call in and report that one family member has been in an accident and is asking for the family member or household help to bring cash or other valuable to a certain place. Verify with another family member before acting on this.
- Verify the identity of callers at your gate before opening the door. Use peepholes provided on gates and doors for this purpose. Should the stranger be a repairman, electrician or the like, verify his identity by calling the service office.
- Advise your children to refrain from playing/loitering on streets outside your residence where they are highly vulnerable to abduction. Advice your children never to leave home without telling you of their destination and expected time of arrival.
Keeping the Children Safe
- Do a background check of anyone you intend to employ i.e. baby-sitter, gardener, domestic helper, driver or security guard. It is possible that the kidnappers would be utilizing such persons to infiltrate your residence to acquire vital information on household valuable, routines, layout and patterns.
- Teach your children not to talk to strangers or accept anything from strangers, especially in school. Should they be approached, tell them to report the incident to school authorities.
- Ask your children’s school not to give out any information regarding your children to anybody. Insist that strict guidelines be followed regarding persons authorized to pick-up your children. Other than those duly authorized by you, your children should not be allowed to leave with any other person without prior authorization from you. For security, children should be asked to talk to the parent authorizing their release. This will help ensure protection against kidnappers who call and claim to be the child’s parents.
Crime Prevention Starts With You And Your Family
More often than not, crimes occur because we open ourselves and our families to criminal opportunities. Talking to strangers, absence of security procedures for anonymous callers, taking for granted one’s safety outside the home, etc. make us easy prey to criminals. In the fight against crime, knowing that the worst can happen makes you less prone to be a victim and more confident of avoiding disasters.
Protecting yourself, your family and your home is a matter of responsibility that cannot be taken on by anyone else. You can make the difference.
Securing your Home and your Belongings
There are three things you can do to help reduce burglary:
- Make your home burglar-proof.
- Mark your belongings that burglars are most likely to steal.
- Be alert to report suspicious persons and unusual activities to the police before a crime may occur.
What can you do?
- Ensure all doors and windows have locks in working condition. Keep only that is used to enter the house open, all other entry points to your household should be securely locked to prevent unnoticed entry into your home.
- Make it a habit to check that all doors and windows are locked at night before going to sleep. The dark of night is a most ready camouflage for robbers and other criminals.
- Outside your home: Prune lower tree limbs – don’t provide the thief with a natural ladder into second floor windows. Keep the view to your house open – criminals love to hide behind tall fences or overgrown bushes while breaking into your home.
- Keeps porches, yards, and all entrances to your house and garage well lighted. Leave lights on inside your house when you go out for the evening.
- Keep a record of the important information (especially make, model number, serial number) of all household facilities and equipment, such as TV, radio, video cassette recorder, refrigerator, VCR, washing machine. Have an inventory of your jewelry and other precious items and documents like birth, baptismal and marriage certificates.
- Store cash and other valuable in the bank. Hiding them inside locked drawers does not guarantee that they will be safe from the knowing eyes and practiced moves of robbers.
- Bring in all outdoor equipment (bicycles, garden hose, mower, etc.) at night. Leaving these valuables out in the garden or street is an open invitation to robbers and thieves.
- Protect your house from prying eyes by using curtains or drapes.
- Provide family members with their own keys to the house. This is safer than leaving the key in a “secret” place, one that can be discovered by any person who takes the time to watch your movements when you leave your home and come back at night.
- If you and your family are going on a vacation, ask a neighbor to watch your home, or ask a relative to stay in your home while you are away. An empty house is a prime target for criminal elements.
If you are under threat…
If there are suspicious sounds or shadows in your home, try to contract the police quietly so as not to let the intruders know that you are aware of their presence. Most robbers are after the property inside your home, and are more prone to working swiftly and quietly to avoid any physical or violent encounters.
If you awake to the sound of an intruder, you have several options:
- Lie quietly to avoid attracting attention to yourself, hoping that they will leave you undisturbed.
- You may choose to open lights and make noise by moving around thereby warning them that you are awake, and scaring them into leaving your home. Even if you are alone in the house, you may speak loudly to an imaginary companion.
- If you see signs of a break-in or suspicious persons inside your home, do not attempt to go in as the robbers may still be inside. Go to your nearest neighbor and call the police for immediate assistance.
- Remain calm and do not panic. Although a robber would prefer to avoid confrontation, they are easily agitated and more prone to uncalled for abuse or violence.
- Try to talk it out with the robbers. If you are up to it. This will delay them, and allow for alternative action on your part, if the situation allows.
- Note all peculiarities and mannerisms of the robbers, if you come face-to-face with them. Tattoo marks, physical defects, moles and speech mannerisms will help in giving the police a more solid description of the robbers.
Safety Tips on the Streets
- Day or night, do not walk in dark streets, alleys and unsafe shortcuts.
- Stay away from dark isolated places or vacant lots at night. These areas are hangouts of criminals. Do not take chances.
- Do not walk between parked cars in parking lots. Avoid walking alone in unlit and uncertain places. At night, wait for buses, taxicabs or jeepneys in well-lighted areas.
- When going to economically depressed areas (slums/squatter’s area) communities, do not wear expensive jewelry and carry substantial cash. If you decide to go to such places, remove your jewelry; this may save your life or limbs.
- Do not flash a lot of cash around when travelling. Money attracts the “bad eggs.”
- When in a bus or jeepney, do not extend your hand out the window; your watch/jewelry could be snatched or your hand injured by another vehicle.
- When you ride a cab, take the habit of getting the name of the cab, its plate number, and the cab driver’s name. This will be handy in case you leave something in the cab or if the driver tries to hurt or rob you.
- Be careful with what you carry when riding on a crowded bus. If you are to carry so many things, take a cab home and check the cab well before alighting.
- If you are to visit someone, call him/her for your expected time of arrival. This will be helpful in case an accident happens on the way. It is also advisable to always inform your relatives or neighbors where you are going and for how long you will be away.
Safety in Commercial Centers
- Never try to buy something from the sidewalks; instead, go to a department store. The goods may be a little more expensive there but it is safer since you avoid thieves, pickpockets and sidewalk hawkers.
- Never grab a bargain sold gold watch, diamond ring or anything from the sidewalk. You are likely to be gypped with a stolen good and could be later on charged with theft.
- Never exchange your wrist watch, expensive pen or gold ring for “a found diamond ring”. Never bargain or argue with strangers in the streets. Ignore them and just leave.
- Never go with a stranger to get a bargain article. You may be robbed or gypped at the
- back street.
Tips for Women
- If someone is talking you, seek the help of security guards (when inside a building) and then call or go to the nearest police block/station in your area.
- Do not ride a jeepney if there are no female passengers inside, wait for the next vehicles. It is safer to take a bus if you are commuting alone at night. Sit near the driver if passengers are predominantly male.
- Do not hitch a ride with a person you do not know very well. It is always safer to take the bus, jeepney or taxicab.
- Avoid watching movies alone; always take someone with you – a relative or trusted friend.
- Ask somebody to accompany you when traveling, especially if night will overtake you.
- Always carry in your bag a whistle or anything that may be used to sound alarm when in danger. Scream or shout for help when you are in danger of being attacked.
For Foreign Tourists and Visitors
- Do not carry restricted items in the Philippines such as contraband, illegal drugs, firearms, ammunition and explosive materials. To know more, contact your country embassy;
- Always keep your baggage in view, especially at the airport, your hotel, and when getting in and out of vehicles;
- Keep all bags securely fastened and beware of pickpockets;
- Beware of deception practices;
- All taxis are equipped with electronic fare meters, as stipulated by law. Do not accept illegal transport services; Take note of the taxi plate number and photograph the taxi;
- Don't carry large amounts of cash or valuables on your person. Keep them in the hotel safe. If you use your room safe, avoid a PIN/code which can be easily guessed from your personal particulars;
- Only buy merchandise from reputable shops;
- Be alert for credit card skimming swipe the card yourself; Withdraw money on safe ATM locations.
- Always obtain a receipt for goods purchased;
- Never buy imitation or counterfeit brand name goods, such as handbags and watches;
- Do not go to high risk, crime prone places. Consult your country embassy to know more information;
- Do not travel alone. Always travel in groups and leave a message to your friends or family about your travel plans in the country and
- Take note of the police contact number and location in your area or destination.