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Crime Prevention

Crime Prevention

It can happen to you.

While the crime rate in Douglas County is relatively low, it’s best to be aware of your surroundings and stay alert in situations that could make you vulnerable to criminals. Using common sense and taking basic crime prevention measures will help make you more safe and more secure. Crime prevention is the anticipation, recognition, and appraisal of a risk and the initiation of action to reduce or remove that risk.

  • Protect Your Home and belongings from burglars

    Most burglars are opportunists who will break into your home if it’s easy and quick, but if you make it harder, they will go elsewhere.

  • Auto theft and theft from auto

    Keep your vehicle and valuables safe by locking your car, hiding valuables and taking the keys with you, even if the car is parked in the driveway or garage.

  • Fraud, scams, cons

    Criminals will contact you by mail, telephone, or internet in an attempt to “con” you into sending them money. Educate yourself to avoid becoming a victim of these crimes.

  • Internet safety

    You can’t be sure of who you’re communicating with over the internet. Criminals will try to get your personal information to steal your identity, burglarize your home while you are on vacation, talk to your children and more.

  • Make yourself and your kids less of a target for criminals

    You can protect yourself and your children by learning some simple prevention steps. Be aware of your surroundings and keep yourself clear of common dangerous situations.

  • Robbery prevention

    Avoiding dark and dangerous places, walking with other people, not wearing expensive clothing and jewelry in public, etc. can minimize your chances of getting robbed. The chances of your business being robbed can also be minimized.

  • Prevent Identity theft

    Learn how criminals get your personal information and what they do with it so you can prevent it from happening.

Douglas County Colo Sheriff Darren Weekly

Burglary Prevention

Regardless if you and your family are home, burglaries and break-ins have a major impact on everyone’s sense of safety and well-being. It’s the most common threat for homes. It’s also the easiest crime to prevent! In the US alone, a burglary happens every 15 seconds.

Here are a few easy steps to help prevent your home from being burglarized.

  • Check your doors locks – Burglars look for homes that are easy to break into. They know by just looking at your locks if they can pick it. If they don’t have the tools to open a high security lock, they’ll go somewhere else.  The garage door and the back door are the easiest ways to get in. So, make sure those doors are always locked.
  • Secure sliding glass doors – The best way to secure sliding glass doors is with a latch. But that’s not enough. Also place a sturdy stick into the track or use a track-blocker like a charley bar.
  • Secure windows – In addition to latching the window shut, make it more secure by adding a secondary blocking device, like a stick, or an anti-life device.
  • Eyes wide open – Build a trusting relationship with your neighbors so that you can keep an eye on each other’s homes.
  • Show signs of life – Burglars will scout your house to break-in if it looks vacant.  A home is more vulnerable at night when all lights are off.  So, keep a façade that says someone is home. The easiest way to do it is by putting in light timers to turn on interior lights.

Read more prevention tips.

The Sheriff’s Office also offers free home security walk-throughs. Our experts will recommend ways you can increase safety in and around your home. To make an appointment please call 303.660-7544.
Douglas County Colo Sheriff Darren Weekly

Auto Theft & Theft from Auto

The DCSO takes proactive measures to fight this growing crime. We have an auto theft prevention unit and are part of the East Metro Auto Theft Task Force.

The cars most often stolen in our county are Hondas, Acuras, and SUVs. The majority of auto thefts happen in the densely populated area of the north-central portion of the county.

A large percentage of vehicles stolen had the keys left in them and are crimes of opportunity. The auto thieves enter open garages at night and then roll the cars out of the garage.

One auto theft trend involves the thieves driving into Douglas County in a stolen vehicle and casing neighborhoods looking for another car to steal. One they find one, they abandon the stolen car and drive off in the nicer vehicle. Once the cars are stolen, they’re used to commit other crimes or taken to a ‘chop-shop’ where they’re stripped for auto parts.

Make it tough on thieves: 

  • Don’t leave your keys in your car, even if it’s parked in your own garage.
  • Park your car in a garage and keep the garage door closed day and night.
  • Always lock the doors and roll up the windows, especially when parked in a public place such as a mall or a movie theater.
  • Don’t leave your car unattended while it’s running.
  • Don’t leave valuables lying around where thieves can see them through a window.
  • At night, try to leave your car parked under lights or near the main entrance of any business.
  • Never assume that your car is safe, even if you live in a “nice” or low crime community. Criminals can and do come from all walks of life.
  • Never leave a child alone in a vehicle.
Douglas County Colo Sheriff Darren Weekly

Frauds, Scams, & Cons

There are thousands of frauds, scams and cons out there with the single goal of getting your money. Whether they come to you over the phone, mail or internet, here are tips to help spot and avoid them.

In general, be wary of anyone asking you to pay fees or fines via a pre-paid credit or debit card, Green Dot MoneyPak or wire transfer. It’s probably a scam.

Beware of:

  • Imposter scams– The scammers claim to be law enforcement officers, government agents like the IRS, relatives, debt collectors, utility workers or bail bondsmen. The imposter may threaten to issue an arrest warrant, contact law enforcement, shut off a utility, or arrest a relative, unless you pay them immediately with a pre-paid credit or debit card, Green Dot MoneyPak or a wire transfer.
  • Grant fraud and lottery scams– The scammer will contact you with “news” that you’ve won a grant or lottery prize. In order to receive the money, the scammer says you have to pay fees or taxes right away via pre-paid credit or debit card, Green Dot MoneyPak or a wire transfer. Sometimes the scammer will send you a check as an “advance” to “help” cover taxes and fees, with the empty promise of releasing the rest of the money after you pay taxes/fees with a MoneyPak. The check, of course, is later discovered to be fake.
  • Online Auction/Sale Scams– The scammer will post online ads for goods or services and request payment by pre-paid credit or debit card, Green Dot MoneyPak or other wire transfer. The goods or services don’t arrive and the “seller” is unreachable.
  • Romance Scams– Scammers create fake profiles on dating sites and will go to great lengths to begin a relationship with you.  At some point, the fake mate will tell you about a financial hardship or an ill family member and ask you to send money with a pre-paid credit or debit card, Green Dot MoneyPak or a wire transfer.

Don’t fall for it

  • If the scam is over the phone, hang up and call your local law enforcement agency. No law enforcement agency will ever contact you by phone, e-mail or regular mail and tell you to pay fees/fines.
  • Visit gov or to find grants and loans available through the government. Don’t be fooled by other sites that have ‘government’ or other official words in the title.
  • If something doesn’t feel right – pay attention to your instincts and walk away. Call a trusted friend or relative to get another opinion before doing anything.
Douglas County Colo Sheriff Darren Weekly

Internet Safety

Every time you and your children surf the web, you’re exposed to identity theft, cyber bullying, scams and crimes against children.

Here’s how you can make sure your family uses the internet safely:

  • Don’t put your birthdate and social security number on the internet where it can be used against you.
  • The safest place for a child to use a computer is in a room where there is adult supervision. But don’t stop there. It’s also critical to know what other access your child has at school, friends’ homes and on their cell phones and iPads. Children can even connect on gaming consoles.
  • Posting clear, simple, easy-to-read rules is an excellent way to set boundaries for your children’s internet use. Remember nothing beats your supervision of and attention to what your children do while online.
  • Don’t allow kids to visit chat rooms since the potential risks are particularly high. Anyone can be in a chat room, posing as children. Predators across the country have been arrested for luring children in child-oriented chat rooms.
  • Reward your kids when they share information about what’s happening online. Your acceptance and praise may encourage them to report problems in the future.
  • Remind your children not to give out personal information or meet anyone in person without your prior knowledge and consent. If you want to consider a meeting, ask to talk to the other child’s parents/guardians. If you agree to the meeting, accompany your child and meet with the other child and his or her parents/guardians in a public place. If you suspect this person is an adult trying to meet a child, call the Sheriff’s Office and/or make a report at or by calling 800-843-5678.
  • Don’t post detailed plans about vacations on social-networking sites.
  • A screen name should not contain a child’s name, age, location, year of birth, school name or year of graduation. Choose generic screen names.
  • Talk to your teens and young adults about images they should and shouldn’t post of themselves. Pictures online will circulate forever damaging a child’s reputation and could end up in the hands of those who victimize children.
Douglas County Colo Sheriff Darren Weekly

Personal Protection

The best way to avoid being a victim is to stay alert, be constantly aware of your surroundings, listen to your instincts, and act on your observations and suspicions.   Please visit the Crime Victims help and resources if you have already been victimized.

Here are some personal protection tips from the National Crime Prevention Council:

  • Don’t walk or jog early in the morning or late at night when the streets are deserted.
  • When out at night, try to have a friend walk with you.
  • Carry only the money you’ll need on a particular day.
  • Don’t display your cash or any other inviting targets such as pagers, cell phones, hand-held electronic games or expensive jewelry and clothing.
  • If you think someone is following you, switch directions or cross the street. If the person continues to follow you, move quickly toward an open store or restaurant or a lighted house. Yell for help.
  • Try to park in well-lighted areas with good visibility and close to walkways, stores and people.
  • Make sure you have your key out as you approach your door.
  • Always lock your car, even if it’s in your own driveway; never leave your motor running.
  • Do everything you can to keep a stranger from getting into your car or to keep a stranger from forcing you into their car.
  • If a dating partner has abused you, do not meet him or her alone. Do not let him or her in your home or car when you are alone.
  • If you are a battered spouse, call the police or sheriff immediately. Assault is a crime, whether committed by a stranger or your spouse or any other family member. If you believe that you and your children are in danger, call a crisis hotline or a health center (the police can also make a referral) and leave immediately.
  • If someone tries to rob you, give up your property—not your life.

If you are robbed or assaulted report the crime. Try to describe the attacker accurately.  Your actions can help prevent someone else from becoming a victim.

Douglas County Colo Sheriff Darren Weekly

Robbery Prevention

Although violent crime in Douglas County is rare, we are not immune. Prevent yourself from becoming a victim by following these safety tips. Consider what you can do to enhance your personal safety. Robbery is a dangerous crime that threatens people’s lives. It is a crime of violence. Remember that money and material items can be replaced; a life cannot.

  • Travel well-lighted, busy routes. Avoid walking or parking in shadowed areas. Have your keys in your hand as you approach your door, and remember to be alert to what and who is around you. Glance under your car, around it and in the back seat as you get in.
  • Be alert and aware. Pay full attention to who is around you when you are in public. Avoid text messaging and talking on the phone if you do not absolutely need to use the phone. If you must use your phone, stop in a safe area to do so.
  • Beware of “Apple picking.” Be alert when using, or simply carrying, your smart phone — including iPhones and Android phones — especially after dark. There is a market for stolen smart phones and you could become a victim of a robbery. If you do not need to use the phone, keep it secured and out of sight.
  • Avoid displaying and carrying large sums of money in public. Only carry the credit cards you need. Carrying a large sum of cash makes you a potential target for robbery.
  • Be careful with purses or wallets. Carry a purse close to your body, but do not loop or wrap straps around you. A purse snatcher could injure you. Keep wallets in an inside pocket.
  • There’s safety in numbers. Don’t make yourself an easy target. If you must be out at night, arrange to go to class, do errands or go shopping with a friend or two.
Douglas County Colo Sheriff Darren Weekly

Prevent Identity Theft

Identity theft is the most frequent complaint at the Federal Trade Commission for the last 15 years.  It costs victims thousands of dollars to repair their credit on top of the financial loss from the theft.  Identity theft has become so common that we all need to understand it and take action to keep safe.

Criminals try to get your personal identifying information by:

  • Looking through your trash and stealing your mail.
  • Copying or “skimming” your credit card numbers.
  • Hacking into the financial records of a business or bank or credit card company.
  • Stealing your wallet, purse, or laptop, or breaking into your home or your car.
  • Tricking you into giving the information to them.
  • Buying the information from other criminals, or from someone at your workplace.
  • Through “data breaches” at a business.
  • Sometimes family members or people you trust will abuse that trust to get it.

What the criminals do with your information:

  • Obtain fake identification in your name with their picture.
  • Open new credit accounts in your name, and/or use your existing credit accounts.
  • They may do any, or all of the following:
    • Buy large denomination pre-paid cards for future purchases.
    • Drain your bank accounts if they can.
    • Open bank accounts and credit accounts in your name with businesses.
    • Establish wireless service in your name.
    • File tax returns and claim your refund.
    • Get traffic tickets and not go to court so an arrest warrant is issued for you.
    • Change your address on credit accounts if you don’t see the bill statements.
    • Buy very expensive items – even cars and homes. 

Minimize your chances of becoming a victim:

  • Deny access to your private information as much as possible by keeping it secured at home, on your computer, at work, and everywhere.
  • Shred all documents with personal info on them before disposing of them.
  • Never give private information by phone or computer.
  • Always check bills, statements, and credit reports.
    • Look for items you didn’t buy and for businesses who look at your credit.
      • Ask yourself if you have a business relationship with them – why would they look at your credit if “you” weren’t working with them.
    • Close unused accounts and shred the paperwork.
    • Use paperless bills and statements whenever possible.
    • Consider using an identity theft protection service.
    • Update anti-virus/anti-spyware regularly and use firewall protection.

What should you do if your ID has been stolen

  • Limit the impact: Notify banks, businesses, and credit bureaus of the theft.
  • Change passwords, PINs, and secret questions and “flag” your account at the credit bureaus – report the theft to law enforcement and the FTC.