Vehicle Safety and Home/Business Security

Tips to Prevent Motor Vehicle Theft and Theft from your vehicle:


  • When you park your car, close the windows, lock the doors and take the key with you.
  • If you must leave a key with a parking attendant, leave only your vehicle’s ignition key.
  • Install and use anti-theft devices, whether an alarm or a protective device like a club or a collar.
  • Be sure to activate the device every time you leave your vehicle.
  • Park only in well-lighted areas near other vehicles.
  • Keep valuables out of sight, preferably locked away in the trunk.
  • Don’t hide a spare key in a magnetic key box; thieves know all the hiding places.
  • At home, if possible, put your car away in a locked garage, or at least parked in the driveway.
  • If you have two cars and one of them is easy to break into, then park it in your driveway so it’s blocked by the other car.
  • When you park your car, turn the front wheels to the left or right and put the emergency brake on. This locks the wheels, making it difficult for a thief to tow your car.

The Columbus Police Department has partnered with LeadsOnLine in an attempt to better protect against theft and aid in investigations of theft.  There is a feature of LeadsOnLIne that allows citizens of our jurisdiction to create secure records of property you own.  This feature can be accessed at

Home Security
While Columbus maintains a violent crime rate lower than the national average, our property crime rate continues to soar. Many crimes against property are crimes of “opportunity.” If property is easily accessible, then the chance of it being stolen is much higher. Listed below are suggestions to help deter potential burglars, secure your home, and protect your family and property.

Doors and Locks
The most common point of illegal entry to any building is the door. Make your house as difficult as possible to enter. Below are tips for securing doors:

  • Use a solid core or metal door for all entrance points, including garage and back doors.
  • Use a quality, heavy duty, deadbolt lock with a one inch bolt.
  • Use a heavy duty, four screw strike plate mounted with 3 inch screws that penetrate into a wooded door frame.
  • Have a peep-hole in the door so you do not have to open it to see who is outside.
  • Avoid doors with glass panels and side lights. These are easily broken allowing the burglar to reach in and unlock the dead bolt.
  • For sliding glass doors, insert a wooden dowel or stick into the track to limit or prevent movement. Older sliding doors can be lifted from their tracks, so install anti-lift devices such as through-the-door pins or upper track screws.
  • Remember, LOCK YOUR DOORS, even when you are home!

Windows are left unlocked and open at a much higher rate than doors. An open window, visible from the street or alley, may be the sole reason for a burglar to select your home. Consider the following tips:

  • Keep windows closed and locked when you are not home.
  • If a window must be left open, it should be no more than 6 inches with a blocking device (wooden dowel) to prevent the sliding window from opening further. Be sure a burglar can not reach in a partially opened window and remove the blocking device.
  • Use crime prevention or alarm decals on windows that are accessible on the ground floor.

Interior lighting is necessary to show signs of life and activity inside a residence at night. Light timers are inexpensive and readily available. Proper exterior lighting is also critical. Ensure that walkways and doorways are properly lighted. Motion sensitive lighting on the rear of the house is highly recommended. Remember:

  • Use interior light timers to establish the perception of occupancy in the residence.
  • Exterior lighting should allow 100 feet of visibility
  • Use proper lighting along walkways and at your door.
  • Use motion sensor lights on the rear of your residence.

Alarm Systems
Alarm systems have a definite place in home security but are only effective if used properly. If an alarm system is installed, it should be advertised with signs or decals to serve as a deterrent for potential burglars. The system should have an audible alarm that automatically shuts off after 1-2 minutes. The burglar will be long gone and the automatic shut off goes a long way for neighborly relations. Your neighbors should be aware that you have an alarm system in the event of activation. If you choose to install an alarm system, remember:

  • Alarm systems are effective deterrents with visible signage.
  • Alarm systems need to be properly installed, programmed, and maintained.
  • Alarm systems need to have an audible horn or bell to be effective.
  • Make sure your alarm response call list is up to date.
  • Instruct a neighbor how to respond to an alarm activation.

Shrubs and bushes near your house should be trimmed below windows and well maintained. Be aware of trees, down spouts, or lattice work that would allow access to upper floors.

Neighborly relations
One of the best deterrents for any type of criminal activity in your neighborhood is having a healthy relationship with your neighbors. Good neighbors look out for each other. Get to know your immediate neighbors well, including those across the street. They have the best view of your home and are more likely to notice unusual activity. Giving a trusted neighbor a key eliminates the problem of hiding a spare key outside your home. If your neighbor is on vacation, pick up their newspapers, flyers, mail, etc.
If your area does not have a neighborhood watch program, contact our public information office at 376-2605 to get one started.

Household inventory
The above steps can go a long way in securing your home from intruders. However, if the unthinkable does occur, a detailed inventory of household items will aid law enforcement in their quick recovery. When taking pictures during holidays or birthdays, snap a few shots of the new television or DVD player that was received as a gift. This will help identify the item and assist your insurance company with any claim that may be filed. Record serial numbers on the owner’s manual and store the manuals in a safe place. Engraving initials or a driver’s license number (not your social security number) on items is also effective.

There are many ways to protect your home. In the end, a good relationship with your neighbors and a sense of ownership in your neighborhood or on your street is what really keeps people safe. Make an effort to know your neighbors. Try to notice things that may be “out of place” in your area. Call us immediately if something needs to be checked. Columbus Police Department would much rather check out something that is legitimate, than miss something that is not.  Again, it is useful to have an established, secure log of your property in the case of a theft.  The Columubs Police Department highly suggests logging all personal valuables at

Business Security
Listed below are some steps that anyone could follow to help with the security of their business:

  • Install lighting at the front and back as well as near any side doors of your business. Try to eliminate as many shadows as possible.
  • Use only solid core doors. Be sure the door frames cannot easily be jimmied.
  • Use deadbolts and be sure to change the locks every time an employee with access to them leaves.
  • Install burglar-resistant glass or use wire mesh or iron bars over all glass.
  • Arrange merchandise so that a passerby can see into the store. Keep your expensive merchandise away from the windows, toward the center of the store.
  • Keep front windows free from posters, etc., which can prevent a burglar inside from being seen by a passerby.
  • Install and use a drop safe. Limit the amount of cash in the register and post signs indicating that a drop safe is used and register only has limited cash.
  • Check ventilation system to ensure it cannot be used to gain entry.