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Crime prevention tips for you and your family

Updated December 23, 2009

The Cerritos Sheriff’s Station/Community Safety Center offers the following information on how to better protect you and your family from becoming victims of crime. Cerritos residents are encouraged to practice the following two-step approach to crime prevention.

Remove the opportunity

In order for a crime to be committed, there must be an opportunity available to the potential criminal. These opportunities come in the forms of open doors or windows at a residence or valuable items left visible on dashboards and seats of vehicles. An opportunity can be exploited when a person walks away from a stroller or shopping basket that contains a purse, checkbook or wallet. Using an ATM at night by yourself also presents an opportunity to criminals.

The first step for successful crime prevention is to remove these opportunities by thinking about the security of your personal property and the safety of yourself and your family. Simple things such as securing all doors and windows before leaving your home and never leaving items in plain sight in your vehicle can greatly reduce your risk of becoming a victim. Never leave an open garage door unattended, and do not leave property where it can be easily taken. When you shop at night, have someone accompany you, and when you walk in a parking lot, always look around to see who or what is near you. Constantly be aware of your surroundings and the conditions you create that can make you or your property vulnerable.

Be the eyes and ears of law enforcement

The second step to preventing crime is to be the eyes and ears of law enforcement in the community. With approximately 54,000 people in Cerritos, there are not enough Deputies to be in all areas of the City at once. This is the case in every city in Southern California. While patrol personnel assigned to the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station are proactive in their duties and make many contacts that result in quality arrests, they may not always be aware of every suspicious activity occurring in the City. By being the eyes and ears of law enforcement, residents can play a key role in assisting the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station by reporting any circumstances that should be investigated. Deputies can drive down street after street and observe many people and vehicles. They do not necessarily know if those people and vehicles belong in the neighborhood. However, the residents of the block often know which people and vehicles are out of place.

Unfortunately, many citizens dismiss suspicious activities or vehicles as not being significant enough to call the Sheriff’s Department, or they are simply embarrassed to do so. Please do not hesitate to contact the Sheriff’s Department if you feel uneasy about a certain situation. Deputies want to be directed to situations like these as their contact can stop a crime before it happens or determine that the individual(s) involved are acting in a law-abiding manner. Either way, the Deputies can better protect the community by knowing the information provided by the local residents.

We are all responsible for helping to maintain a safe City. By removing the enticement of a potential criminal to victimize us, by calling suspicious activity to the attention of the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station, and by letting the professional peace officers do their jobs, we can make National Crime Prevention Month a spirit to maintain 365 days a year.

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