Crime Prevention Tips

The following tips are intended to assist our Ho-Ho-Kus residents, business owners, and visitors in deterring and preventing common types of crime

For additional questions or concerns, please contact one of our Community Outreach Officers at 201-652-1700. 

  1. Do what you can to make your home less inviting to thieves. If it looks difficult to enter, chances are they will try somewhere else.
  2. Place sufficient lighting in the front/side/back of your home and garage.
  3. Install security cameras such as Ring, Nest, Blink etc.
  4. Ensure your home security system is properly working and up to date. Turn them on when you are away from the home.
  5. Use deadbolt locks as secondary locks on all doors. Ensure you have 2 1/2 – 3 inch screws in the door frame strike plate to reinforce deadbolt security.
  6. Fortify your windows and sliding glass doors with secondary locks that fit securely in windows. Lock the door that leads into the house from the garage.
  7. Get to know your neighbors. You are more apt to look out for each others’ homes and property if you know each other.
  8. Trim all landscaping below windows to avoid concealment areas.
  9. Do not talk about your planned vacations or trips on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.
  10. Make sure your address is visible from the street so emergency personnel can quickly respond.
  11. Don’t let mail, packages and newspapers pile up. Arrange for a friend or neighbor to collect these items in your absence.
  12.  When you are away from your home, complete a Vacant House Check Form and return it into police headquarters or fax it to 201- 612-7117.
  1. LOCK all vehicle doors and secure windows and convertible or soft tops, even at home, in your own garage, and even if you’re only going to be gone for a few minutes.
  2. DO NOT leave vehicle keys or key fobs in your vehicle, even if your driveway is gated or the vehicle is inside your garage.
  3. Never leave valuables in your vehicle (including: cell phones, purses, radios, garage door openers, cameras, GPS, chargers and other accessories, clothes, bags, paperwork, etc.)
  4. Park in well-lighted areas. Place a surveillance cameras where your vehicles are parked.
  5. Trust your instincts!  If you hear something suspicious (glass shattering, for example), see a vehicle that deems suspicious, a vehicle idling on the street, see someone looking in multiple vehicles, call 911 immediately. You are the eyes and ears of the police. Try to obtain vehicle description (Ex: color, type of vehicle, model, license plate), description of the driver/passengers, and last known location.
  6. Newer model vehicles now have GPS tracking via phone app. Make sure app is installed and updated to check the status of your vehicle.
  1. Shred financial documents, paperwork and mail containing any personal information.
  2. Protect your Social Security number. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet.
  3. If being asked for your Social Security number to verify your identity, ask if you can provide a different form of identification.
  4. Keep your personal information in a secure place at home. (Ex: safe)
  5. Carry only identification information and credit cards you’ll need when you go out.
  6. Never give out personal information over the phone, through mail, or over the Internet unless you’ve initiated the contact.
  7. Don’t use obvious passwords (for example: date of birth, mother’s maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security number) and never carry them with you.
  8. When ordering new checks, pick them up from the bank instead of having them mailed.
  9. Get a secured mailbox. Deposit outgoing mail in post office collection boxes only. Have your mail held if you’re planning to be away from home for an extended period of time.
  10. Always check your monthly financial statements carefully against your receipts.
  11. Regularly check your credit reports (free once a year!) Equifax at 800-525-6285, Experian at 888-397-3742, and TransUnion at 800-680-7289.
  12. Never enter your credit or debit card number through a website unless it offers a secure transaction. (A secure transaction will have a “padlock” icon at the bottom strip of the web page. Also, the URL address will change from “http” to “https” on the page where you input personal data.)
  13. Do not click any links that you receive through text messages that you do not recognize.
  14. Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails. Use updated firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect your home computer.
  1. Be aware of your surroundings and conscientious of who is nearby.
  2. Plan your route to avoid uninhabited parks, parking lots, garages and alleyways.
  3. Walk with a purpose; project an assertive business-like image and make eye contact with people. As much as possible, walk or travel with a friend, even during the daytime.
  4. Carry minimal items; overloading yourself can make you appear vulnerable.
  5. If you use bank machines (ATMs) choose one located in a well-lit, busy spot like inside a grocery store.  Put your card and cash away before leaving the machine.
  6. If a car follows you or beckons you while you are walking, do not approach it. Instead, turn and quickly walk in the opposite direction to a safe and populated location.
  7. Pay attention to the uncomfortable gut feelings that often warn us of potential danger.
  8. Don’t be afraid to cross the street, return to a business, or ask for help based on a “funny feeling”.
  9. If a robber grabs your bag, do not play tug of war. If you hang on, chances are you will be knocked down, hit or kicked, and the robber will get your bag anyway.
  10. If someone demands your property and displays or implies in any way that they have a weapon, hand the bag or wallet to them.
  11. When you are safe, immediately contact 9-11.
  1. Have at least two employees open and close the business. Businesses are vulnerable during opening and closing because there are fewer employees and customers around, and cash is often handled at these times.
  2. Maintain as little cash as possible and make frequent and varied bank deposits. Post signs stating there is limited cash on the property.
  3. Leave cash registers empty and open after hours.
  4. Place a surveillance camera behind the cash register facing the front counter.
  5. Arrange advertisements, flyers, displays, signs, posters or other displays in such a way that they do not obstruct the view of the register from inside or outside your business. The police patrolling your store need to see in.
  6. Stay alert! Be aware of who is in your business and where they are. Watch for people who loiter without buying anything. Also, be cognizant of suspicious activity outside your place of business. Write down license plate numbers of suspicious vehicles.
  7. Greet customers as they enter your business. Look them in the eye and ask them if they need help. Your attention will discourage a robber as they don’t like to be noticed or have personal interactions.
  8. Adequately light the interior and all exterior sides of your business.
  9. Cooperate with the robber for your own safety and the safety of others. Comply with a robber’s demands while remaining calm and thinking clearly. Make mental notes of the robber’s physical description and other observations important to law enforcement officers.
  1. Reduce or eliminate opportunities: avoid distractions like cell phones and head phones. Avoid overburdening yourself with multiple bags and heavy parcels.
  2. Increase your awareness: When walking use well lit and well-populated areas, when approaching your car make sure no one is hiding in or around your vehicle and when parking your vehicle always park in well lit areas.
  3. When walking with your pets, wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight so you can be seen.
  4. Have your cell phone on you at all times and charged.
  5. Be prepared. Think, don’t panic. There is no single action to take if you are attacked. Your best defense is to be prepared and know your options and capabilities.
  6. Do whatever it takes to survive. Remember, you are the victim. You have nothing to feel guilty or ashamed about.
  1. Keep up the neighborhood. Make every effort to keep the appearance of a neighborhood clean and neat. Remove litter and trash, fix broken fences, trim landscape, and ensure all lighting is working properly.
  2. Remove graffiti promptly. Rapid removal of graffiti is an effective prevention tool.
  3. Encourage reporting by community members.
  4. Employ graffiti resistant surfaces such as: Graffiti resistant materials or coatings, textured surfaces, and dark-colored or colorful surfaces.
  5. Change the environment (some examples are landscaping, install lighting, use fences and limit access).
  6. Report any vandalism/graffiti to the police promptly.
  7. Any bias crimes/incidents shall be reported to the police immediately for further investigation.
  1. When purchasing a bike/scooter, keep the receipt and take a clear photo of it. Keep the photo and receipt in a safe place.
  2. Record the make, model, and serial number of the bike/scooter. The serial number is usually located on the rear wheel or beneath the bottom bracket where the pedals attach. Keep this information in a safe place with your color photo.
  3. Lock-up your bicycle/scooter. Use a case-hardened “U” lock or hardened steel chain and padlock, and attach your bike securely to a sturdy fixed object.
  4. Remember to also lock parts attached with quick-release mechanisms.
  5. Lock your bike/scooter in an area that is well lit and can be seen by passing pedestrians and motorists.
  6. To prevent the theft of accessories, such as lights and bags, they should be detached and taken with you when the bicycle is left unattended.
  7. Don’t leave your bike/scooter unattended in your yard- even for a second.