The Metropolitan Police Department offers the following personal safety tips to help protect you when you are in your vehicle.
- Always have your keys out and ready before leaving a building to approach your vehicle. Searching through a purse or briefcase after you've reached your car provides criminals an excellent opportunity to sneak up on you.
- Be especially alert when leaving stores or shopping malls for your vehicle. This is a time when criminals know you are carrying cash, checkbooks, credit cards, or other valuables.
- Look around and inside your vehicle before you get in. If you are concerned for any reason, simply walk past your car and call for help.
- Lock your door immediately upon entering the vehicle. Make this your first action—even before you put the key in the ignition. And lock your door every time you get into your car—even if you are going for only a short ride.
- Check your surroundings before getting out of your car. If something or someone strikes you as out of place or threatening, drive away. If it's dark, go to a well-lighted, heavily traveled area.
- Use a two-piece key ring with your car keys separate from your other important keys. Give parking valets or mechanics your car keys only. Supplying the entire set of keys creates an opportunity for duplicates to be made.
- Avoid stairwells in parking garages. Try walking down the auto ramp instead. As long as you watch for cars, the ramp can be much safer.
- Avoid talking on your cellular phone while you drive. Concentrate on your driving, not your conversation. If you have to make a call, pull over to the side of the road.
- If you're making a call using your cell phone, never discuss important information such as travel plans or credit card numbers. For less than $100, anyone can buy scanning equipment and listen in on your cellular phone conversations.
- Report any suspicious activity or person immediately to the Metropolitan Police Department at 911.
It is also important to protect your vehicle, and reduce the risk of thefts from your auto when you are away. The MPD offers several tips on preventing auto thefts and thefts from auto: