Safety Tips

The CMPD Crime Prevention Unit has put together a few tips on various ways to protect yourself in given situations involving:

Personal Safety Tips

Your personal safety does not have to be left up to chance. Though you can not eliminate all possibility of becoming a victim, there are steps you can take to reduce the odds. An attacker looks for essentially three things when picking a victim: Vulnerability, Accessibility and Availability


Personal Safety Tips

Practicing the following personal safety tips as you go about your daily activities may make you less attractive to a would be criminal. BE ALERT!! Know who is near you and what activities going on around you.

  • Walk with authority, look ahead and scan your surroundings
  • Do not walk in poorly lit areas.
  • Avoid standing at a bus stop alone, especially at night.
  • If approached by someone in a car, change your direction and enter a crowded store or business.
  • Carry a cell phone and some type of safety device (i.e.: flashlight, whistle, pepper spray and etc) when walking at night.
  • Be alert to someone who asks for directions and/or continues to engage you in conversation.
  • Obey all of the robber's orders. Keep all communication with the robber short and simple. Don't argue!
  • Be identification conscious. Observe your attacker's personal appearance, type of weapon used, and type of vehicle so you can accurately describe them to police.
  • Immediately report the incident to the police and do not hang up until the police arrive.

For additional information please review the following personal safety tips:

When Traveling and Using Hotels: Security-wise travelers need to learn how to travel safely. This awareness begins with a realization that they must take reasonable precautions to protect themselves and their personal property. When traveling, remember not to let go of your common sense. Once you enter your room, make sure everything is in working order - this means the lights, the phone, the locks, the shower... everything! Here are some safety tips to make your hotel stay more enjoyable:
  • Keep your eyes on your luggage; accompany your luggage to your room with the bellman.
  • Request a key that does not have a room number on it. Do not display keys in public or leave them on a restaurant table or other places where they can be stolen.
  • Women travelers should inquire in advance about the lock system of a hotel. An electronic key control system with key cards that are reprogrammed for each guest affords the most security.
  • Have the key in hand to avoid fumbling with it in the hallway. This helps you focus on being aware of your surroundings.
  • If you see loiterers in the hallway near your room, just pass by your door and turn around the corner or pretend you forgot something. Go to the front desk and report the incident.
  • Do not open the door to just anyone. Verify the person's identity by calling the front desk. Do not invite strangers to your room for any reason.
  • Be aware of fire exits location.
  • Do not display cash or expensive jewelry or important documents; use in room safes.
  • Ensure that sliding glass doors or windows and connective room doors are locked.
  • If traveling with children, provide adult supervision and know their whereabouts at all times.
  • Women travelers should choose a hotel where the surrounding streets and parking lots are well lit and where everyone must enter through a central lobby.
  • When completing a guest registry, consider using your first initial and last name. Register with your business address rather than your home address.

Date Rape Drugs
These are drugs that are sometimes used to assist a person commit sexual assault. Sexual assault is any type of sexual activity that a person does not agree to. It can include inappropriate touching, sexual intercourse, rape, and attempted rape. Because of the effects of these drugs, victims may be physically helpless, unable to refuse sex, and can't remember what happened. There are at least three date rape drugs: GHB (gamma hydroxybutyric acid); Rohypnol (flunitrazepam); Ketamine (ketamine hydrochloride). These drugs often have no color, smell, or taste and are easily added to flavored drinks without the victim's knowledge.

What effects do these drugs have on the body? The drugs can affect you quickly. The length of time that the effects last varies. It depends on how much of the drug is taken and if the drug is mixed with other substances, like alcohol. Alcohol can worsen the drug's effects and can cause more health problems. GHB, Rohypnol and Ketamine may cause the following problems: drowsiness, dizziness, problems seeing, and unconsciousness (black out), seizures, memory laps, problems breathing, tremors, vomiting, dream-like feeling, coma and death.

What can you do to avoid becoming a victim of these drugs?
  • Don't accept open drinks (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) from others who you do not know or do not trust; this includes drinks that come in a glass.
  • When in bars or clubs always get your drink directly from the bartender and do not take your eyes off the bartender or your order; don't use the waitress or let somebody go to the bar for you.
  • At parties, only accept drinks in close containers: bottles, cans.
  • Never leave your drink unattended or turn your back on your table.
  • Do not drink from open beverage sources like punch bowls, pitchers or tubs.
  • Keep your eyes and ears open; if there is talk of date rape drugs or if friends seem "too intoxicated" for what they have taken, leave the party or club immediately, and call the police!


Youth Safety

We are all concerned with the well being and safety of our children. As parents we want to always be there to protect them. The reality is that we cannot always be there. Therefore it is very important to help children make good decisions when they are on their own.


Youth Safety

Officer Blue, Cadet Jasmine and Explorer Zack team up with Officer Blue’s Kids Crew to help children learn important lessons about safety. Officer Blue’s Very Bzz-z-z-y Day! is a coloring story book filled with valuable lessons for children with activities to reemphases these safety tips. Each book comes with a Child Identification Kit. This coloring story book presents all information in both English and Spanish.

Parents educate your children by discussing what to do and not to do in various situations. Help them to know how to SAY "NO," GET AWAY and TELL SOMEONE if a situation does occur.

Here are some general safety tips for parents to help their children stay safe:
  • Instruct your child on how to contact the Police Department, Fire Department or Ambulance by dialing 911 and how to contact a known family member or responsible trustworthy neighbor or adult should an emergency arise.
  • Check your child's route to and from school. Call attention to any dangerous spots such as vacant lots, alleyways, etc. Advise them what to do if a strange person follows or approaches them.
  • Instruct your child's school to notify you immediately if your child is absent. Inform the principal who is authorized to pick your child up from school. Try to have the same person pick your child up every day when possible.
  • Instruct your child to never take a ride from any strangers even if the person says that they are there to pick them up because their mom or dad sent them.
  • Choose a secret code word to use with your child in case of an emergency. Tell your child never to go with anyone who does not know this code word.
  • Advise your child what to do if they feel lost. Help them to identify the safest place to go or person to ask for help in reuniting them with you or other caregiver. Examples of safe helpers could be a uniformed law-enforcement or security officer, store salesperson with a nametag, person with a nametag who is working at the information booth.
  • Teach your child to tell you if anyone asks them to keep a secret, offer them gifts or money, or asks to take their picture.
  • Teach your child to always tell you if something happened while they were away from you that made them feel uncomfortable in anyway.

Especially for Younger Children:
  • Teach children their parent's names, phone number, including area code and your full address.
  • Teach your child how to use the telephone to make emergency, local and long distance calls and how to reach the operator.
  • Never allow your child to use a public restroom unattended.
  • Don't "personalize" your child's clothing or accessories with his/her name. Children may respond to a stranger who calls them by name.
  • Teach your child that a stranger is someone that neither you nor they know well.

Especially for Teens:
  • As you always want to know where your child is, let your child know where you are or will be.
  • Talk to your child. Listen to your child. Find out what they're thinking, and what they're feeling. Every day, know whom they hang out with, what they do, and where they're going. Not only will it help you influence and keep track of your child, but you also can get to know each other better.
  • Discuss the effects of alcohol and other drug use and why they are especially bad for young people. The more your child knows, the better informed their decisions will be about drug use.
  • Advise your child what to do if there is drinking or drug use occurring at a party and make it easy for your teenager to leave - always have a back-up driver your teen can call for a ride home.
  • Insist that your teen NEVER accept a ride with someone who has been drinking or taking drugs.
  • Insist that your teen NEVER tolerate party activities that include vandalism, theft, sexual intimidation, assault or other illegal activity in addition to drinking or drug use. Encourage your teen to call 9-1-1 if necessary.

For additional information please review the following youth safety tips:
Child and Family Resource Guide

If your child is missing, call 911. Do not wait. Have a recent picture of your child. Know his/her friends and hangouts. Have a good description of your child, including his/her clothing.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department - Missing Person Unit

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children -

If your child has been sexually abused, call 911. Do not wait. Do not bathe the child or change his/her clothes. If the suspect is a relative contact the department of Social Services at 704-336-2273, in addition to the Police.

If you have any questions concerning crime prevention topics please contact your
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department
601 East Trade Street
Charlotte, North Carolina 28202



Home Safety

If you are concerned about residential burglaries in your neighborhood, you do not have to feel powerless to change the situation. Most residential burglars look for crimes of opportunity. They pick what appears to be an easy mark. There are many steps that you can take to keep your home and your neighborhood safe. The most important step is for you and your neighbors to work together.


Home Safety

If you are concerned about residential burglaries in your neighborhood, you do not have to feel powerless to change the situation. Most residential burglars look for crimes of opportunity. They pick what appears to be an easy mark. There are many steps that you can take to keep your home and your neighborhood safe. The most important step is for you and your neighbors to work together.

What can you do?
  • Never allow people you do not know into your home, such as a door-to-door sales person, a person asking to use the phone or looking for a supposed neighbor.
  • Always keep your doors and windows locked day and night.
  • Never leave your garage door open.
  • Don't have your valuables visible through windows.
  • Keep ladders locked in the garage. Burglars can use them for access to otherwise inaccessible second story windows.
  • Don't forget when going on vacation to hold or to have someone pick up your mail/newspapers.
  • Don't hide a key outside for visiting friends and relatives.
  • Don't advertise new gifts or purchases. Break up the cartons before leaving them at the curb.
  • Call the police immediately when you see suspicious persons or activities
  • Get to know the police officers in your area.
  • If you live in an apartment complex let management know of any problems in the community.
  • Start or join a Neighborhood Watch Program(PDF, 320KB)
  • Learn how to make your home less attractive to criminals
    • Garage Burglary
    • Burglary Prevention Checklist
    • Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design
  • make a list of the serial numbers of your property and take photographs. You can also engrave your Driver's license number with an etching tool

If you see a burglar in action, get a good description of the person, their car and tag number. Write it down and call the police immediately!

If you are Burglarized:
  1. Do not enter your house if you return home and find signs that a burglary is taking place or has taken place. Go to a safe place immediately, such as a neighbor's home and call the police.
  2. If you enter into your home and find evidence of a burglary, call the police immediately. Do not touch anything or move anything around. Give the police a chance to gather evidence that may have been left.
  3. Try to determine what has been taken and prepare a list of stolen items (with serial numbers if possible) to assist police in their investigation.

If you would like a police officer to conduct a Security Survey and make suggestions on ways to improve the physical security of your residence please contact your community coordinator.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department
601 East Trade Street
Charlotte, North Carolina 28202


Business Safety

Businesses spend billions of dollars on crime prevention devices and insurance annually. In order to fully optimize these investments, they have to utilize proper crime prevention techniques to help make the business less vulnerable to criminals.


Business Safety

  • Post "We Are a Drug-Free Workplace" or similar signs in areas where employees routinely travel and can easily be seen. Post similar signs where job applicants can see them.
  • Circulate substance-abuse prevention education materials (e.g., pamphlets/videos) to all supervisors, managers and other employees annually. A short reminder notice of your drug free workplace company policy should be included inside pay envelopes at least once per calendar quarter.
  • Perform pre-employment drug testing on every new hire. Those testing "positive" for drugs should have their employment offer immediately rescinded no matter how qualified they might otherwise appear to be for the position and no matter how badly you need to fill the position.
  • Include a statement - "Employment subject to passing a drug test" or "We drug test all new hires" - in all help-wanted advertisements.
  • Randomly drug test at least 50 percent of your employee base annually. Depending on the number of employees, perform random testing at least monthly or weekly.
  • Test an employee for "reasonable suspicion" whenever reasonable cause is justified by virtue of their display of any behavioral or physical indicators of drug-use, including a dramatic change in work performance.
  • Arrange substance-abuse awareness training for supervisors and managers at least once per year. Such training will help them to identify the indicators of drug-use among their crew and teach them the most effective methods of isolating and preventing a possible drug-use related workplace problem before it becomes a crisis.
  • "Post-accident" drug test an employee whenever justified by serious injury, damaged/loss of property, or life. At least 40 states will consider a denial of workers' compensation benefits when an accident is caused by your employee whose post-accident drug test is positive for illicit drugs. The majority of those 40 states also will consider a denial of unemployment benefits for that same reason.
  • Use only federal/state certified labs for the analysis of all specimens that are sent to a lab.
  • Have all specimens that initially test "positive" (including those based upon results of on-site drug test devices or kits) re- tested by a certified lab.
  • Utilize the services of a medical review officer for all positive results.
  • Ensure that all test results of employees are kept strictly confidential! Inform only those with a "need to know" of final drug test results and maintain all results with strict security.
  • Impose all terms of the written testing policy strictly, fairly and equally with all employees.
  • American Crime Prevention Institute; The Complete Commercial and Retail Crime Prevention Manual; First Edition, June 2006, appendix 3, pgs 215-217.

    There are ways to get help for an individual you suspect has an alcohol or other drug problem. Talk to someone who can help - The Employee Assistance Program, the Human Resources Department or a supervisor. In a confidential manner, they discuss with the individual poor job performance, company policy regarding problems with alcohol and other drugs and treatment alternatives.
  • Workplace Violence
    • Employees
      • Is your office secure? Do you have easy- to-use phone systems with emergency buttons, sign-in policies for visitors, panic buttons, safe rooms, security guards, office access controls, good lighting, and safety training?
      • Does your employer take care in hiring and firing? Before hiring, are employment gaps, history, references, and criminal and educational records thoroughly examined? Are termination procedures defined clearly with attention to advance notice, severance pay, and placement services?
      • Could you recognize potentially violent employees? Signs of stress that could erupt into violence include: depression, frequent absences, talking in a louder-than-normal voice, being startled easily, increased irritability and impatience, and concentration and memory problems.
      • Are you encouraged to report unusual or worrisome behavior? Is there a clear, written policy that spells out procedures in cases of violence and sanctions for violators? Make sure you know to whom you should report unusual behaviors.
      • Do you work in a supportive, harmonious environment? Is there a culture of mutual respect? Does your employer provide an employee assistance program (EAP)?
    • Employers
      • Do you???
      • Thoroughly screen job applicants.
      • Create an employee-friendly work climate with good communication and respectful management style.
      • Make an effort to get to know your employees so management can recognize signs of trouble.
      • Publicize and act on a "zero tolerance" policy where everyone knows that violent, bullying, sabotaging, or harassing behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
      • Establish thoughtful, respectful, common-sense ways of handling layoffs and terminations.
      • Take swift action to deal with possible threats even if vague or only suspicious.
    • Dealing with Angry People/Confrontations
      • Give the angry person some choices -- This allows them to maintain some sense of control. For example, you might say, 'Mr. Jones, would you like to talk about your benefits first or you’re lost ID card?" Or, "Ms. Jones, do you want me to see what I can find out about your application on the computer or do you want to tell me the whole story first?"
      • Ask for clarification -- This is a good "slowing down" tactic when anger is rising. Example: "Mr. Jones, I know that you are upset, but can I stop you just one minute to make sure I understand what you've said so far so I can help? Did you say that your ID is lost or that you never got it in the mail?"
      • Watch your tone of voice -- Speaking calmly, slowly, quietly, and in an interested and concerned manner may be hard when someone is screaming at you, but if you scream back, use sarcasm, talk down to the person, or express anger, this will only make the complaining person more angry!
      • Be assertive -- In your calm tone of voice, you can also show self-confidence, control and a positive manner. For example, 'Ms. Jones, I know that you are upset, but I'm sure I can help you if we just take this one step at a time. Now, let me ask you ..."
      • Apologize or agree with them without making excuses or pointing out how they also contributed to the problem -- This may be the hardest thing to do since you may have done nothing wrong, but you can probably find something to apologize for or agree with to calm the person and encourage cooperation. Even starting out with a phrase as simple as "I'm sorry that happened ..." can be helpful.
      • Ask a simple favor -- Stop, pause, and ask some simple favor. For example, "Ms. Jones, excuse me, but can we step across the hall to another area so you can have some privacy while we talk?" Or "Mr. Jones, can you hand me that pad of paper, so I can take some notes on what you're telling me?"
      • Increase personal space -- Move back if necessary to put a distance of 3 to 5 feet between you and your upset visitor.
      • Watch your body language -- Avoid quick gestures and use small, slow gestures instead keeping your palms up rather than down. Never touch the person yourself to try to escort him/her from the area. Even a gentle push or holding the person's arm may be interpreted as an assault by an agitated individual. And the person may respond with violence towards you or file a lawsuit later.
    • Taxi Driver Safety
      1. Radio and the dispatcher. These are your most vital assets in the vehicle. The dispatcher can assist you in most any event that would occur. Know how to use the radio correctly.
      2. Be alert and aware. Don’t allow yourself to become complacent and obtain “tunnel-vision”.
      3. Do not flash or display your money.
      4. Size up your passenger - assess risk. Most passengers will pose some level of risk to you. Read them - assess them, then act accordingly. You must remember this point: Never underestimate anybody!
      5. Greet-and maintain eye contact with the fare when picking up.
      6. Know the city.
      7. Trust your instincts. All your life while you grew up you learned things and stored the experiences in your mind. These learned experiences make up our "data" banks. These banks provide us with knowledge and understanding. These banks are what cause your "instincts" to react. These reactions are very real. Your gut instinct will be right 99% of the time. Listen to what your body is telling you!
      8. Know emergency procedures.
      9. Always keep your windows rolled up. It doesn’t have to be all the way up. It can be open enough to speak through to someone.
      10. Always keep you doors locked. This is extremely important if you are sitting at a stand, or on the street. Often you may be reading a paper or book while waiting for that next trip, and you sure don't want someone to come up beside you on foot without you noticing them and jerking open your door and attacking you. This also provides you the method to force the customer into the rear seats if you wish, or to ensure they sit on the right side of the rear seat, not behind you if at all possible. The idea is not to be taken by surprise.
      11. Be extra careful late at night. The most dangerous hours for you to operate in are between 6:00 pm in the evening and 6:00 am in the morning. In particular, the darkest hours between 12:00 midnight and 04:00 am. Most assaults and robberies committed against taxi drivers occur during these late hours. At this time of the night, there a few people around as witnesses, and many of your customers will have been drinking, and liquor always causes trouble. And of course we all know, most criminals prefer to conduct their business in the dark hours. Even though these can be your most tiring hours, you cannot afford to be careless and unaware. You must maintain a high state of alertness during these periods of time.
      12. Be aware of passengers who give you "vague" instructions. This is usually a trap for armed robberies or other crimes to occur.
      13. Be careful of passenger seated behind you (Primary danger Zone). This is the seat where you are most vulnerable to an attack from a rear occupant.
      14. Keep an eye on suspicious passengers.
      15. Never tell customers you had a good shift. If the occupant is out to get you, you just told him you made a lot of money. Keep that to yourself.
      16. Carry a spare key.
      17. Never, ever, drive into alleys or back lanes.
      18. Know your location at all times.
      19. Check all emergency equipment at the start of shift.
      20. Never take more than 4 passengers.
      21. Encourage the use of credit or debit cards. This is less cash you will have on hand to be stolen if you are robbed.
      22. Do not be aggressive or argumentative.
      23. Keep calm - do not panic. Important potions of information are easily overlooked when you lose your wits. Remain focused if something happens to you.
      24. DO NOT RESIST a robbery (co-operate). The money isn’t worth your life.
      25. Look for an escape opportunity. If you can safely get away from criminal action, by all means take that step. Don’t do anything that would get yourself or others harmed.
      26. Memorize the suspect's description. Also, get a direction of travel, what type of weapon was used (if any) and if the suspect used another vehicle to get away from the scene.
    • Owners, management and employees should incorporate these basic steps into your daily business practices
      • Owners/Management:
        • Carefully screen all employees before hiring them.
        • Keep a minimum amount of money on hand.
        • Train employees on security measures and cash handling policies.
        • Provide employees with a place to adequately secure their belongings(such as purse, wallet, keys, coat and other valuables items) during work hours.
        • Insure all doors and windows are sturdy and have adequate locks.
        • Install adequate lighting inside and outside. Remember burglars look for dark places or some form of cover. A well illuminated property is less appealing.
        • Park Company vehicles away from the building at night where they do not block the view of entrances.
      • Employees:
        • Keep your purse, wallet, keys and other valuables items with you at all times or locked in a drawer or closet.
        • Check the identity of any strangers who are in your office. Ask whom they are visiting and if you can help them find that person. If they make you uncomfortable, inform security or management about your suspicions.
        • Always let someone know if you are going to be working early or late.
        • Report any broken or flickering lights, dimly lit corridors, doors that do not lock properly or broken windows. Don't wait for someone else to do it.
        • Be discreet. Don't advertise your social life or vacation plans and those of your coworkers to people visiting or calling your place of work.
      • Resources:


Transportation Safety

We are all concerned with the well being and safety of our children. As parents we want to always be there to protect them. The reality is that we cannot always be there. Therefore it is very important to help children make good decisions when they are on their own.


Transportation Safety

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department would like your help!

Don't allow someone to remove your valuables from the inside of your vehicle.

Please consider the following tips to prevent you from becoming a victim.
  • Always lock your doors and roll up your windows.
  • Never leave your car unattended with the engine running
  • Never leave valuable items in your vehicle.
  • Never leave registration/insurance card in the vehicle.
  • Have your VIN etched on all the windows of the car
  • Store packages in the trunk of your vehicle while shopping.
  • Remove your telephone, iPod, purse, briefcase, backpack, cash and even loose change each time you leave your vehicle.
  • Invest in an alarm system or theft deterrent device
  • Park in well lit areas at night.
  • Park your car in the driveway rather than the street.
  • Consider a car alarm for added protection.
  • Call 911 if you see any suspicious activity.

Encourage your family, friends and co-workers to keep valuables out of their vehicles at home, at work or while running errands. For additional transportation safety tips, please review the following information:
North Carolina law enforcement officers know first-hand the benefits of the seat belt law. More and more adults and children are surviving crashes with less serious injuries or none at all. Seat belts and safety seats are the reason why.

All drivers and passengers, in the rear seats as well as in the front seat, ages 16 and older must wear their seat belts. Children less than age 16 are covered by NC Child Passenger Safety Laws. North Carolina Law (NCGS 20-135.2A)

Road Safety While Driving

DRIVE SAFELY. Your safety is YOUR responsibility!

  • If conditions are good, drive:
    • No faster than then maximum limit
    • No slower than the minimum limit
  • Never drive faster than road, weather and traffic conditions allow. Always reduce speed when visibility is reduced.
  • Be alert and aware. Don't allow yourself to become complacent and obtain "tunnel-vision."
  • Never drive while fatigued. Being too tired or drowsy to drive impairs driving awareness and reaction skills needed to make split-second safety decisions on the road.
  • Drive sober. Alcohol and drugs are illegal, slow your reaction-time and distort reality.
  • Keep doors locked and windows up when driving alone or when parked. If you become lost, drive to a well-lit, public place before stopping, never alongside the road. Parking in well-lit areas, reduces the risk of someone approaching the vehicle without your knowledge. Don't become a victim of opportunity from carjackers
  • Never pick up hitchhikers. If someone appears to be stranded notify police rather than stopping to assist.
  • Have your keys out when approaching your car. Make sure to check underneath and inside of your car before entering it.
  • If you believe you are being followed, go to a well-lit public place and call the police... DON'T GO HOME! If you are bumped from behind and the situation seems suspicious, motion to the other driver to follow you to a public place, a police or fire station.
  • When stopped at an intersection or stoplight, leave enough space in front or your car for a quick getaway.
  • Always drive with your headlights on. See and be seen.
  • Always use your safety belt.
  • Keep your cell phone handy in the event an emergency call needs to be made.

Safety Recommendation by Modes of Transportation

Bus and Mass Transportation Safety
  • While waiting for buses, be aware of your immediate surroundings.
  • When using public transportation, keep valuables close and secured. Keep bags that you are carrying under your arms.
  • While sitting on buses, look aware and alert. Don't fall asleep.
  • If you are unsure of your destination, ask the driver and sit near the front of the bus.
  • Report anyone bothering you to the driver.

Taxi Driver Safety
  • Be alert and aware. Trust your instincts.
  • Know the city and the streets used to traverse the area quickly. Know your location at all times, in case you need to report it to dispatch in an emergency.
  • Know emergency procedures. Your most vital assets are your radio and dispatcher, who can assist you in the event of an emergency.
  • Greet and maintain eye contact with the fare when picking someone up. Size up your passenger as far as risk assessment, then act accordingly. Never underestimate anyone!
  • Encourage the use of credit or debit cards, leaving less cash on hand to entice the opportunity of being robbed.
  • Be aware of passengers who give you "vague" instructions. Never drive into alleys or back lanes away from public sight. This is usually a trap for armed robberies or other crimes to occur.
  • Be careful of passengers seated behind you (Primary Danger Zone). This is the seat where you are most vulnerable to an attack from a rear occupant.
  • Never take more than 4 passengers at a time.
  • Do not be aggressive or argumentative.

Bicycle Safety
  • Be aware of your surroundings, with special consideration for parked cars, cars that slow down beside you or pass you more than once, cars that follow you or cars at stop signs.
  • Park your bicycle in a well-lit and well-traveled area
  • Remember where you park your bike and have your padlock key ready.
  • Wear a bicycle helmet approved by the American National Safety Institute or the Snell Memorial Foundation. Most serious bicycle injuries are head injuries.
  • Observe all traffic signal (red lights, green lights, stop signs).
  • Follow the flow of traffic; ride on the right side of the street.
  • Watch for the other vehicles around you and anticipate their moves. Never take for granted that other drivers see you.
  • Be courteous. Give the right-of-way to pedestrians.
  • Keep your bike in perfect operating condition. That includes lights, tires, chain, pedals and brakes.
  • Use hand signals when turning and stopping.
  • Be alert. Look both ways before pulling out of a driveway or into the street.
  • Walk your bike across hazardous or busy intersections
  • Never carry packages or passengers that can obstruct your view.
  • Never ride toward oncoming traffic. (Drivers may swerve to avoid hitting you and cause an accident.)
  • And if you ride your bike at night, you should have a headlight/ headlamp visible from 300 feet, reflectors and/or lamp on the rear.

All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Safety

As of December 1st, 2006, the North Carolina ATV laws changed. From 1982-2001, there were 170 deaths in North Carolina from the use of ATVs. Of those, sixty-one were children under the age of sixteen. North Carolina is the tenth state in the nation for ATV deaths.
  • Helmets are now required by all drivers/riders on ATVs.
  • Children under the age of 11 cannot operate an ATV.
  • Children ages 8-11 cannot operate ATVs with more than 70cc.
  • Children ages 12-15 cannot operate an ATV with an engine size that exceeds 90 cc.
    1. Always wear protective gear. Use common sense.
    2. Take a driver's safety course
    3. Operate the ATV in the appropriate setting, do not speed, do not attempt tricks or stunts, only one rider should be on an ATV at a time of operation.

Airline Travel Safety
  • Be aware of “fellow travelers” that bump you, pretend to trip and grab you for support, or stop you to ask for the time or for directions. They are sometimes “distracters” who are working with a group of thieves who take advantage of your distraction to snatch your belongings.
  • Be careful when using airport ATM machines to insure no one is looking over your shoulder for you personal identification number. Also, be careful when using your credit card at a pay phone that an onlooker is not recording your number.
  • Be sure your entire luggage has identification tags both outside and inside. Label luggage with only last name and first initial, and use a business address and phone number if possible. Never leave luggage unattended. Don’t hook purse or laptop computers to hooks on the rest room stalls; thieves can grab them.
  • Leave expensive jewelry and bags at home, as they attract attention.
  • When taking a taxi, ask the driver to estimate the fare before you get into the cab.
  • Fly non-stop if possible. This could avoid the possibility of luggage being lost during a transfer. It also could prevent the possibility of being stuck somewhere for a long period of time which could cause you to become tired and vulnerable.

Boating and Marina Safety
  • Always remove the key from the ignition when you’re not using the boat. Fasten the boat itself to a fixed object, using a steel cable or chain with a heavy-duty lock. Don’t leave valuable items in an unattended boat.
  • If you store your boat at home, keep it either in a locked garage or in a fenced-in, locked back yard. Lock removable parts (such as a battery) in your home or garage.
  • If you live in an apartment building or condominium, don’t leave your boat in the parking lot without some kind of anti-theft device on it. The lot should have good lighting at night.
  • If you want to keep the boat in water at a marina, choose a reputable one with full-time security and good lighting.
  • Install an alarm (preferably a combination burglar/fire alarm) wired to the ignition. Have a second, hidden switch in case the thief jumps the first one. Be prepared in case your boat is stolen, because a determined thief can foil the best preventive measures.
  • Record all serial and identification numbers and keep them at home. Hide a second set of numbers somewhere on the boat so you can prove ownership if the thief removes the original set.
  • Don’t leave registration and title papers on the boat.
  • Take photos of the boat from several angles. If it is stolen, give police a full description (including ID numbers) immediately.
  • Every person on board needs a properly fitting personal flotation device.
  • All boaters should make sure their fire extinguisher is fully charged.
  • A throwable life ring or approved buoyant cushion should be carried and readily available.
  • If you are on the lake at night, make sure all of the navigational lights are in proper working order.

Seat Belts and Child Safety Seats

Making the decision to buckle up every time you get into an automobile is definitely a smart move.

North Carolina law enforcement officers know first-hand the benefits of the seat belt law. More and more adults and children are surviving crashes with less serious injuries or none at all and seat belts and safety seats are the reason why.

North Carolina law (NCGS 20-135.2A) requires all drivers and front seat passengers to be buckled up. Children less than 16 years of age must be buckled up in any seating position in the car. Children less than 8 years of age AND 80 lbs must be secured in a child passenger restraint system (NCGS 20-137.1). Drivers are responsible for passengers less than 16. Front seat passengers 16 and older are responsible for themselves. Persons violating the child restraint law are subject to a $25.00 fine plus current court costs. Persons violating the seat belt law are subject to a $25.00 fine plus a $75.00 court cost fee.

Effective December 1, 2006:
All drivers and passengers, in the rear seats as well as in the front seat, ages 16 and older must wear their seat belts. Children less than age 16 are covered by NC Child Passenger Safety Laws.

  • Seat belts reduce your chances of being killed or seriously injured in a crash by 50 percent.
  • Wearing seat belts helps you control the car in emergency situations, making you more likely to avoid an accident.
  • Wearing your seat belt also prevents you from getting a traffic ticket.


Internet Safety

A few tips to keep your personal and business computers safe from viruses and internet breaches.


Internet Safety

Internet safety begins with securing your home/business computer
  • Keep your virus protection software updated regularly.
  • Keep your operation system software updated regularly.
  • Install and run spyware-monitoring software.
  • Use a firewall program or install a hardware firewall, especially if you have high-speed internet access which maintains continuous internet connection.
  • Install or activate a pop-up window blocker.
  • Make regular back-ups of all important information.

Enjoy the internet safely
  • Use a strong password – a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Example: Prevent-Crime-911
  • Change your password frequently, at lease twice a year.
  • Use unique passwords. Do not use the same password on all accounts.
  • Do not write down your password, remember it.
  • Do not use the links provided in emails to access a webpage. Type the web address for the company directly into the browser.
  • Be suspicious of any emails with urgent request for personal or financial information.
  • Do not give out your personal information through emails or online forms unless you confirm that you are dealing with a legitimately secure site.
  • A secure web address begins with https:// rather than just http://
  • Read website privacy policy prior to submitting information online.
  • When submitting information also look for the lock or key icon on the browser's status bar.
  • Do not download files from unknown email addresses.
  • Do not use the unsubscribe link in spam emails. This only notifies them that your email address is valid and they do not remove you from their list.
  • To report an internet crime file a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at

Internet Safety for Children
  • Never tell anyone your home address, telephone number or school name without asking a parent, and never share personal information publicly online (like in a chat room or newsgroup/message board post).
  • Don't give your password to anyone but your parents-not even your best friend.
  • Never say you'll meet someone in person without asking your parents first.
  • Always tell a parent, librarian or teacher about any threatening or bad language you see online.
  • Don't accept things from strangers (e-mails, files, links or URLs).
  • If someone says something that makes you feel unsafe or funny, notify your parents, librarian or teacher and leave the chat room or website.


Mobile Device Theft Prevention

A few tips to keep your personal cellphone/tablet and the information on it safe from thieves trying to make a quick buck.


Mobile Device Theft Prevention

  • Save the box when you buy your phone – the label has important info in case of theft or write down your serial number and IMEI number by accessing “Settings” and save in case of theft
  • Download and enable “Find my iPhone” or “Android Device Manager” on your mobile phone or tablet
  • ALWAYS use a password and secure your device
  • Know your passwords for iTunes or Google Play so you can access the device remotely
  • NEVER leave your mobile device in your vehicle, on a counter at a store or bathroom. ALWAYS put it back in your pocket or purse
  • ALWAYS call 911 as soon as possible after a theft – the faster we can track a device, the greater the likelihood it will be recovered
  • Make sure an officer responds to your location when you report a device theft
  • For additional information on what the community can do to safeguard their mobile devices please visit:


Fraud Prevention

It's not always easy to spot con artists. They're smart, extremely believable, and aggressive. They invade your home by telephone and email, advertise in well-known newspapers and magazines, through your mail box or at your door.


Fraud Prevention

It's not always easy to spot con artists. They're smart, extremely believable, and aggressive. They invade your home by telephone and email, advertise in well-known newspapers and magazines, through your mail box or at your door.

  • Ask Questions
  • Listen Carefully
  • Refuse to be pressured
  • Ask for things in writing
    • Full description
    • Total cost
    • Name/Address/Telephone Number
    • A hand shake is not good enough
  • Read and understand any contract before you sign it
  • Check references and ask for names of past customers
  • Always get a written receipt when buying something
  • Keep good records

Additional Prevention Information:
  • Credit Card Safety
    Ways in which cards can be illegally obtained:
    1. Purse snatching
    2. Burglary
    3. Pick pocketing
    4. Auto thefts
    5. Mugging
    6. Murder
    7. Lost cards
    8. Skimming

    A skimmer is a small hand held or wireless device that captures card holder data contained on the magnetic stripe of the credit or debit card. Skimmers can hold information from hundreds of cards. The information is downloaded from the skimmer to a computer and then can be sent any where in the world.

    Your card can be skimmed at an ATM, gas station, restaurant or any other place your card is swiped. Radio frequency identification (RFID) cards can be skimmed wirelessly with a device held near your card, even from inside your wallet or purse. RFID can be easily blocked by utilizing an RFID-blocking card sleeve, wallet or purse.

    According to Bankrate, credit card skimming has become a worldwide problem. Card losses due to skimming exceed $1 billion a year.

    10 ways to protect credit Cards
    1. Never leave your card unattended at work.
    2. Don’t leave your cards in your car.
    3. Do not write down your personal identification number (PIN). Memorize it.
    4. Always make sure your card is returned to you after a purchase.
    5. Always keep your cards in a secure location especially when traveling.
    6. Report lost or stolen cards immediately.
    7. Sign the back of new cards as soon as you get it with a permanent marker and destroy unwanted cards so no one else can use them.
    8. Make a list of your cards and their numbers. This information is vital for reporting lost or stolen cards.
    9. Always check your monthly statement. Make sure the charges are yours and report any discrepancies.
    10. Only give your credit card information over the phone if you have placed the call to make a purchase from a reputable company
  • Telemarketing Fraud
    Scam artists will pressure you to send money or provide your credit card number or other personal information immediately. DON’T DO IT.

    Once you’ve fallen for a telemarketing scam, you will gain a reputation as an easy target and, chances are, you’ll be called again and again.

    Warning Signs:
    • High pressure sales tactics
    • Insist on an immediate decision
      • “You must act now or the offer won’t last”
    • The offer sounds to good to be true
    • Request for your credit card number for any purpose other than to make a purchase
    • They offer to send someone to your home or office to pick up the money, or some other method such as overnight mail to get your funds more quickly
    • A statement that something is “ free,” followed by a requirement that you pay for something
      • You’ve won a “free gift, vacation, or prize.” But you have to pay for “postage and handling” or other charges
    • An investment that is “without risk”
      • You can’t afford to miss this “high-profit, no-risk offer”
    • A suggestion that you should make a purchase or investment on the basis of “trust”
      • You don’t need to check out the company with your family, lawyer, accountant, etc.

    Tips on how to avoid being a telemarketing victim:
    • Don't allow yourself to be pushed into a hurried decision.
    • Always request written information, by mail, about the product, service, investment or charity and about the organization that's offering it.
    • Check out the company or organization.
    • Don't make any investment or purchase you don't fully understand.
    • Pay for services only after you have they have been delivered
    • If an investment or major purchase is involved, request that information also be sent to your accountant, financial adviser, banker, or attorney for evaluation and an opinion.
    • Ask what recourse you would have if you make a purchase and aren't satisfied.
    • Beware of testimonials that you may have no way of verifying.
    • Before giving money to a charity or making an investment, find out what percentage actually goes to the charity or investment.
    • Don't provide personal financial information over the phone unless you are absolutely certain the caller has a bona fide need to know.
    • If necessary, hang up the phone.
    • Do tell children in your household never to give personal information to callers and teach them how to spot fraud calls
  • Identity Theft - See the accordion tab for ID Theft

Warning signs:
  • Demands immediate action ("Today Only" or "Last Chance")
  • Offers to send someone to your home to pick up payment or for you to send it overnight mail
  • Unwilling to provide written information
  • Tells you the deal is a secret
  • If something sounds to good to be true, it probably isn't true

Safety Tips:
  • When in doubt about a product or business, contact the Better Business Bureau
  • Never do business with a person who approaches you on the street
  • Never give cash for a check
  • Be very cautious of cash-only deals
  • Never give someone a blank check or let them help you fill it out.
  • If you rent an apartment and pay in cash always get a receipt immediately
  • Do not enter contests, accept free gifts or prizes unless you clearly understand your obligation
  • Make sure your mail box is secure and promptly remove mail

Home Improvement:
  • Be suspicious of anyone going door to door to solicit work
  • Do not pay for work up front (GS 14-104)
  • Do not allow yourself to be told that repairs are necessary immediately
  • Do not rely on the word of some one you do not know
  • Never allow someone you do not know to enter in your home
  • Ask for references
  • Ask to see contractor's insurance information. Contractors should carry workers' compensation, property damage and personal liability insurance. Also check expiration dates to insure coverage does not expire prior to the project completion date.
  • Get a written contract. Be sure to read it before signing it.
    • A full description of work to be performed
    • Total Cost of the job
    • A firm completion date
    • The contractor's license number
    • All warranty information
    • Address and phone number of the contractor
  • Beware of anyone that tells you the deal is a secret and that you must not tell anyone
  • Do not allow your decision to be influenced by greed
  • If something sounds to good to be true, it probably isn't true

Be a Wise Consumer:
  • Don't buy health products or treatments that include: a promise for a quick and dramatic cure, testimonials, appeals to emotion instead of reason, or a single product that cures many ills. Medical "cures" can be dangerous to your health. A health care practitioner should be consulted before taking any of these products.
  • Look closely at offers that come in the mail. Con artists often use official-looking forms with bold graphics that look like invoices to lure victims. These include "free vacations," phony inheritance schemes, fees charged for normally free services, credit card repair, phony job opportunities, and unsolicited merchandise. If you receive items in the mail that you did not order you are under no obligation to pay for them.
  • Be suspicious of ads that promise quick cash working from your home. After you've paid for the supplies or a how-to book to get started, you often find there's no market for the product and there's no way to get your money back.
  • Listen carefully to the name of a charity requesting money. Fraudulent charities often use names that sound like a reputable, well-known organization such as the American Cancer Association (instead of the American Cancer Society). Ask for a financial report before you donate; a reputable charity will always send you one.
  • Investigate before you invest. Never make an investment with a stranger over the phone. Beware of promises that include the terms "get rich quick", or "a once in a lifetime opportunity."
  • Use common sense in dealing with auto repairs. Get a written estimate, read it carefully, and never give a repair shop permission to "fix everything."
  • Never get involved with chain letters (pyramid schemes) and foreign lotteries. The only persons who benefit are the promoters of the scheme. Chain letters and participation in foreign lotteries are prohibited by U.S. federal law.

If you are a victim:
  • Call 911, if the crime occurred in Mecklenburg County and give as much information as you can about the person(s) involved. Also provide a copy of your records (receipts/contracts/advertisement).
  • If the suspect is located in another jurisdiction, the report has to be made in that jurisdiction.
  • To report an internet crime file a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at


Crime Prevention Through Environment Design

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) suggests that the form and arrangements of buildings and of open spaces can either encourage or discourage crime. CPTED attempts to reduce crime and the fear of crime by reducing criminal opportunity and fostering positive social interaction among the users of a space.


Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) suggests that the form and arrangements of buildings and of open spaces can either encourage or discourage crime. CPTED attempts to reduce crime and the fear of crime by reducing criminal opportunity and fostering positive social interaction among the users of a space.

CPTED Defined - The proper design and effective use of the built environment can lead to a reduction in the fear of crime and the incidence of crime, and to improvement in the quality of life. The three elements of CPTED are Territoriality, Surveillance, and Access Control. When used together, these elements strengthen total premise security and personal safety.

Territoriality is a persons' desire to protect territory that they feel is their own and have a certain respect for the territory of others. The extent to which someone will defend territory depends on their personal investment in or responsibility for that property. For example, a homeowner is likely to risk his/her life to defend his home against an intruder who is threatening their spouse or child.

Here are some economical steps you can take to increase the visibility of your business:
  • Clearly define your property through the use of natural or manmade borders
  • Business and Community Watch Programs

Surveillance: Criminals do not want to be seen. To defend your property you must be able to see any illegal acts taking place. Placing physical features, activities, and people in ways that maximize the ability to see what's going on discourages crime.

The following tips can help you maximize the visibility to your business or residence:
  • Improve indoor and outdoor lighting.
  • Illuminate all entrances, exits, and parking areas
  • Clear windows of all clutter
  • Trim and maintain all landscaping
  • Place restrooms in high traffic areas
  • Involve the entire community in your surveillance efforts

Access Control: Properly located entrances, exits, fencing, and lighting can direct both foot and automobile traffic in ways that discourage crime. Access Control denies or restricts access to a crime target, and it also increases the perceived risks of the offender by controlling or restricting their movement.

Listed are some ways to help you control access to your properties:
  • Reduce the number of entrances and exits
  • Have guests/visitors sign in
  • Fence or rope off problem areas

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department encourages its community members to do their part to establishing a safe and secure environment by incorporating these three basic elements into their security practices.


Gun Safety Tips

Parents can reduce a child's exposure to guns and ultimately protect a child's life by taking these common-sense steps for safety.


Gun Safety Tips


Gun Safety: Prevention Tips for Parents

Parents can reduce a child's exposure to guns and ultimately protect a child's life by taking these five steps:

  • Keep guns away from children.
    The safest thing for your family is not to keep a gun in the house. But, if you keep a gun at home, unload and lock it away. Use a gun safe and, at minimum, a gun lock.  If you don't have a gun lock, check with CMPD
  • Keep all ammunition separate from the gun.
  • Make sure that your children know the dangers of guns. Teach them not to handle or touch guns.
    Too often, we assume that children will know what to do if they see a gun at someone's home or elsewhere in the community. Unfortunately, many children and teens do not realize that handling a gun just once can lead to tragedy.When children come across an unsupervised gun or another child with a gun, teach them that they should not touch the gun and should immediately get help from a parent or trusted adult. Before your child visits a friend's home, find out if there is a gun in the home.
  • Talk to your children about guns and violence.
    Explain to them that we all have strong emotions like anger and fear, but that these feelings can be expressed in ways other than striking others or using weapons.

    Demonstrate healthy ways to express anger and disagreement. Support your children when they have used positive means of resolving conflict. During positive conflict resolution, children:

    • Talk about feelings, rather than act them out
    • Make choices to avoid fights
    • Get help from trusted adults
  • Firearm Awareness, Safety and Proficiency training must be a condition of Firearm ownership.
    • In order to be proficient, confident and above all else safe, with gun ownership, firearms training should be sought through a reputable Firearms Training Center/Dealer.
    • Firearms Safety, Awareness and Education can be found at the NCDHHS: Firearm Safety Awareness and Education page.