Police Division

Crime Prevention Tips

The Norfolk Police Division believes teamwork is the key to effectively reducing crime Everyone must commit themselves to addressing public safety issues and crime prevention measures. These crime prevention tips can help citizens develop skills in the areas of home security, marking and securing valuables, and making their homes less of a target for criminals.


Shrubbery should never block the view of your doors or windows. An intruder may hide behind the shrubbery while trying to gain entrance to your home. 
Nameplates on doors or mailbox should have last name only. Do not indicate your gender or marital status.

House numbers should be clearly visible from the street. This will help the police find your house quickly in case of an emergency.

A wide-angle viewer in the door lets you see your visitor before opening the door.


Always keep garage doors closed and locked. Intruders may seek entrance through the garage, burglarize the garage or even use tools stored in your garage to break into your home. Keep tools in a locked location. The single lock on the garage door is not enough to keep intruders from prying up the opposite side and crawling in. Secure your garage door by:

  • adding another bolt and padlock to the opposite side
  • installing a pair of cane bolts to the inside (these operate from the inside only)
  • add a top center hasp-any person of average height can operate this device
  • cover garage windows so burglars cannot see whether or not the garage is empty
  • display your house number on your garage door or backyard fence - this will help police locate your house quickly when responding to a call
  • secure attic openings in attached carports or garages by installing a case-hardened hasp and padlock

Windows naturally impose a great security problem. One way to protect windows is by using unbreakable, transparent polycarbonate materials which look like glass, but are very difficult to break. The material is very expensive, however. Another method of protecting windows is by installing burglar bars. These should be easily opened from the inside, with a key or latch that requires no "special" knowledge to operate. Prior to installation, check local fire and building requirement. Another consideration is to install storm windows that not only offer burglar protection, but also conserve energy. Primary interest in securing windows is to eliminate entry by prying open. Most burglars avoid breaking glass due to fear of attracting attention.

Warning: One bedroom window on the ground and second floor must be left available as a fire exit. The bedroom window may often be the quickest and safest means of escape if fire occurs at night.


Good exterior lighting is important, especially when the yard area is obscured by shrubbery. Locate outside lights under the eaves where it would be difficult for an intruder to reach them. An inexpensive timer or photoelectric cell will automatically turn lights on at dusk and off at dawn.

There are several types of lighting that work well for outdoor security. Some of them are:

  • mercury vapor- more efficient and longer lasting
  • metal-halide - brighter light, good for color rendition, slightly less efficient then mercury vapor
  • high pressure sodium vapor - efficient and lasts well - gold white to a pink colored light
  • incandescent - low cost and good color rendition, but short life span
  • fluorescent - energy efficient but temperature sensitive - works well for indoor lighting.
Other inexpensive outdoor deterrents:

Signs - Beware of Dog", Neighborhood Group, "Operation I.D." or alarm sings might help to deter potential burglars.

Dogs -A barking dog is still proven to be a deterrent.

Addressing - Place you house number near the front door and preferably near a light. Also place house numbers in alleys or on back fence when the area is accessible. Only put your last name on a mailbox or door sign. Never put "Ms." or your first name.

Alarms - Don't depend only upon an alarm to protect you... be sure to use the proper locking devices. An alarm does not physically keep a burglar out of your home or business.

  • Any alarm system should include:
  • a battery failsafe back-up
  • smoke-sensing capability
  • read-out ability to check working of system
  • horn sounding device installed in attic through vent

In addition to the alarm sounding at the residence, your system should transmit a signal to the alarm company, this will insure notification of the police.


Suspicious Activities:

Protecting your neighbors from crime helps to protect your home as well. If you see suspicious activity around a neighbor's home (or your own!), an officer can be sent to the location to check out the activity and possibly prevent or stop a crime from occurring. Below is just a list of suspicious activities that should alert you to call the police.

  • Going door to door, especially if one or more persons go to the rear of the residence or business.
  • Waiting or loitering in front of a house or business if the business is closed or house is unoccupied.
  • Forcing entry into your neighbor's house or an unoccupied house.
  • Person running and/or carrying property at unusual hours.
  • Foot traffic too and from a location on a regular constant basis.
  • Person loitering around cars, especially if they are peering inside or trying the door handles.
  • Person loitering around schools, parks or secluded areas.
  • Strangers walking or driving through the area, especially making several or slow passes by an area.
  • "Delivery man" with the wrong address or asking for someone else.
  • Parked vehicles, especially if they are left for long periods or have strangers sitting in them.
  • Vehicles being loaded with property, especially from a closed or vacant home or business.
  • Vehicles containing valuables or weapons.
  • Locked vehicle when someone is trying to force entry or remove parts.
  • Property in homes, garages or storage areas if it is a large accumulation or in good condition, but not used.
  • Property offered for sale at a very low price.
  • Open or broken windows or doors on closed businesses or vacant homes.
  • Unusual sounds such as gunshots, screaming, breaking glass or dogs barking continuously.
  • A person exhibiting unusual actions or "slinking" through the area.
Making a report to the Police Department:

The number to call when reporting suspicious activity or an emergency is 9-1-1. Give the police dispatcher:

Your name, address and phone number
The reason for the call
The location of the activity
The description of the suspect and/or any vehicle

Do not hang up until you are sure the dispatcher has all the information required. IMPORTANT! Tell the dispatcher any direction of travel if suspects leave prior to police arrival.

Be sure to make a written note of as many of the above descriptors (see illustration) as possible. The dispatcher may not want all of the above information at the time of receiving the call. Keep the information for the officer when he/she arrives.

Get out of the intruder's way!

Never get between a burglar and the exit and NEVER try to stop him/her. It may cost you your life! If someone is prowling outside your house, make the prowler think that several people are at home. Call to someone, "Dan, there's someone outside!" Call the police. If it is dark, turn on the lights. If the intruder has already broken in, retreat and put other doors between the two of you. It's a good idea to have a deadbolt on an interior door. If you can't get out, try to signal a neighbor - throw something through a window, just the noise may frighten a burglar away. If someone should enter your bedroom while you are in bed, pretend that you are asleep (as long as he/she doesn't come near you). If you have children, be sure that they do as they say as well. Remain claim - your life is more important that your property. Memorize a description of the intruder. When the intruder has left, write it down...don't depend on memory.