Home Security

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"A man's house is his castle." --James Otis

Protect your castle by following these simple tips.
Is Your Home Secure?
While any home or neighborhood can be a target for theft, burglary is nearly always a crime of opportunity. Criminals often choose homes that seem unoccupied or those that seem easiest to access. You can prevent burglary at your home by following these simple tips.
  • Never hide spare keys around your home where someone can find them. Instead, consider keeping your spare key with a trusted friend, family member or neighbor.
  • Examine your locks, door frames and window frames. Are they made of quality materials, and are you using the locks on a regular basis? Make sure all sliding glass doors are installed properly, and that they are secured with a dowel, charley bar, broomstick or other type of security rod to prevent the door from sliding open. Keep windows and doors locked at all times – whether you are at home or away.
  • Lighting is one of the least expensive ways to protect your property. What is the lighting like in and around your home? Does it give away your family’s routines? Are the walkways and entryways well lit? Consider using photoelectric cells or timers for lights and other electronic devices when you are at work or out of town to give the impression that someone is home at different times.
  • Request a free security assessment of your home or business by contacting the Manassas City Police Department Community Services Section at 703-257-8092 or by submitting a request online.
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Keep Your Home Secure, Even While You're Away
Whether you're planning a visit to the Carolinas, or booking that long-awaited escape to the Caribbean, keep your home and belongings safe by following these simple tips.
  • Before leaving for an extended period of time, consider stopping paper or mail delivery to your home, or having a trusted friend or neighbor retrieve them for you while you are away.
  • Lighting is one of the least expensive ways to protect your property. Consider using photoelectric cells or timers for lights and other electronic devices when out of town to give the impression that someone is home at different times throughout the day and night.
  • Never broadcast the fact that your home will be unlived in while you're away - online or in person.
  • Request a free vacation check from the Manassas City Police Department online by calling the non-emergency number (703-257-8000) or submitting a request online.
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Reporting Suspicious Activity Keeps Everyone Safe
Keep yourself, your loved ones, and neighbors safe by reporting suspicious activity to the Police and following these tips.
  • Even when you're comfortable at home, be aware of your surroundings at all times. If anything looks out of place, it probably is. Call the Police if you see any suspicious activity and then if you choose to, follow up with your community association.
  • Never hesitate to call 9-1-1 when someone’s life or property is in danger. Remember, it’s always better to report too soon than to report too late! To provide the Police with information unrelated to an emergency, call the Manassas City Police Department’s non-emergency number at 703-257-8000.
  • Take the time to report any suspicious activity you observe to the Virginia Fusion Center's Tip Line by calling 1-877-4VA-TIPS (1-877-482-8477). The Fusion Center keeps track of suspicious incidents that may seem unrelated to you but are part of a larger investigation.

Graffiti Is an Ugly Crime
Some surfaces such as fences or walls of home are more inviting to graffiti than others. You can help crack down on the graffiti in your neighborhood by addressing concerns about the surface and length of walls and fences, examining any gaps in lighting and natural surveillance in the area, and helping to increase enforcement.
  • Hide graffiti-prone walls behind defensive shrubbery such as rose or holly bushes.
  • Use anti-graffiti paint on surfaces to prevent paint from sticking or to allow for easy removal.
  • Report all graffiti you find to the Police, take pictures, and remove it immediately. Repeat this process every time you find graffiti – not just the first time. Diligence pays off by sending a strong message to criminals that their graffiti will not be tolerated.
  • Learn more about The Problem of Graffiti as well as other topics by visiting the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) online.
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Closing the Door of Opportunity on Sales Scams
If you are at home during the day, you might be approached by someone who is selling a product door to door. Companies and individuals sell everything imaginable, from alarms, to magazine subscriptions, to financial products such as living trusts. Protect yourself from door to door scams by considering the following tips.
  • If visited by a person identifying him- or herself as a sales representative, do not allow the representative to enter your home.
  • While alarms are an excellent means of protecting homes and businesses, and most companies in Virginia are legitimate, some alarm companies stretch legitimacy in an attempt to make a quick buck while avoiding Virginia’s requirements for the industry. Often, their employees practice “high pressure” tactics by going door-to-door and sell relatively inexpensive alarm systems that generate most of their cost from the monitoring fees. The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) regulates electronic security sales to ensure that those persons learning about the valuables to be protected do not have a criminal history. Request to see his or her required DCJS-issued photograph registration card and take down the information from it. If you are interested in the product, you may contact DCJS directly at 804-786-4700 to verify the legitimacy of the representative and call him or her back later for an invited sales visit.
  • If the sales person is pushy, refuses to show a required registration card or otherwise acts suspicious, write down a description of the representative and of his or her vehicle, and immediately contact the Manassas City Police Department or other local law enforcement agency.
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Locking it Up on Locksmith Scams
Did you know that any business that sells, installs, or services locks must be licensed and registered by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS)? Learn below how you can make smarter decisions when choosing a locksmith.
Illegitimate locksmiths evade questions, do not always give a company name, and nearly always overcharge. On the other hand, legitimate locksmiths ask questions:
"When did you have the locks put on?"
"How old are the locks?"
"Do you have multiple locks on the door?"
If you contact a locksmith and he or she does not ask questions such as these when you request their services, you might be speaking with a fraud.

Learn more about What You Should Know Before Contracting with a Locksmith for important information.

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Pick Up on Litter Enforcement
Despite the strong correlation that exists between litter and crime in our communities, residents surveyed regionally responded that with regard to littering, they continue to litter because they did not believe there was a strong chance of getting caught. In response to this overwhelming response, law enforcement officers all over the region have partnered with the Alice Ferguson Foundation to enhance awareness and enforce litter and illegal dumping laws. The purpose of this partnership is to not only restore the integrity of our local watershed resources, but to improve the quality of our neighborhoods and economy while reducing crime across the region.
  • Send the message to potential intruders that you have an investment in your property or workplace and will defend it against crime by helping to keep the property litter free and well maintained.
  • Be a role model for your community and bring your neighbors on board. For more information on making your neighborhood a Trash Free Community, visit www.TrashFreePotomac.org.
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Safety Tips Home
VA State Police Fusion Center Dept of Criminal Justice Services Trash Free Potomac Community Oriented Policing Services Online Form Center Request an Assessment Online DCJS