Cop Corner: Protecting your stuff

January 27, 2012

Sgt. Kim Cole



At home, on the road, any­where, any­time, you need to pro­tect your per­sonal prop­erty from theft threats. Here are a few help­ful tips:


  • Keep it out of sight: use your car trunk or glove box for stor­age of valu­ables; close the drapes and cur­tains at home.
  • Never set up your GPS in the car with your real home address; the bad guys have been known to steal a GPSfrom a vehi­cle to iden­tify vacant homes.
  • The “big box” hard­ware stores sell a metal mark­ing pen for about $10; get one to label your impor­tant items in places that will not show. For exam­ple: on the back of the bat­tery in your cell phone.
  • Never write down your com­puter pass­words. A help­ful tip in remem­ber­ing them is this: come up with a strong base-password to use (a short sen­tence could be use­ful, such as kimcoleforsheriff2012), then on the web­site you’re using it on, add an abbre­vi­a­tion. For exam­ple, on Ama­zon, you could use kimcoleforsheriff2012amz.
  • Books are impor­tant for school and expen­sive: write your name on page 47 (or another page of your choos­ing) in every text so you can iden­tify your prop­erty if needed.Please use pen­cil, and remove your name at the end of the year if you don’t own the book.
  • Crowds are full of dis­trac­tion, the bad guys love dis­trac­tions.  If walk­ing with friends watch out for the out-of-the-ordinary sit­u­a­tion and watch your prop­erty, not the event.
  • Back­packs are vul­ner­a­ble when worn in the tra­di­tional posi­tion, when you are in a crowd, put your back­pack on back­wards where you can see it.
  • Carry your purse under your arm and always keep it zip­pered or clasped.
  • Use the “one… two… three…” sys­tem when you go on the move. My valu­ables are permanently num­bered: the cell is “one,” my wal­let is “two,” and my cam­era is “three”.
  • Visu­ally “sweep” the space you just vacated for what you left behind: check wait­ing areas, car seats, class­rooms, etc.
  • Change your habits and where you store your spend­ing cash. The enve­lope in the purse is a “no-no”; split-up assets you want to pre­serve and put them in a dif­fer­ent place at home. For exam­ple, put them in an empty cold rem­edy box in the back of the bath­room cabinet
  • A big jar of coins is just too plain tempt­ing for the bad guys; they may take “some, not all”
  • Install win­dow locks and dead­bolt locks at home, cut back bushes that hug the house; the bad guys love the bushes and move on to an eas­ier mark from a pro­tected home.
  • The bad guys dis­like houses where there is a bas­ket­ball hoop in the drive: it means kids and ran­dom arrivals; cheap insur­ance, even if you are a base­ball fan.
  • Sign the back of your credit cards and add the note ‘request pos­i­tive id”.

Cop Corner is written by Sgt. Kim Cole with the Mason County Sheriff’s Office.

Sponsored by the Committee to Elect Kim Cole Mason County Sheriff:

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