The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

University Police Division of Campus Safety & Security

Theft Prevention - Protect Your Property

Preventing Thefts From Persons

  • When shopping, never leave packages and bags alone.
  • Do not become overloaded with packages and parcels. A shopping bag is more convenient and keeps one hand free.
  • Packages should be stored in the trunk of the car.  They should not be placed in the front or back seat where they can be seen by thieves.
  • Always carry a purse or bag close to the body with the arm over the flap.  If the bag has no flap, avoid using it as a place to put a wallet, money, or credit cards.
  • Carry only the cash and credit cards necessary.
  • Never flaunt money and other valuables in public.
  • Keep money and charge cards in separate places.
  • Wallets are safer from pick-pocket when placed in the front pocket.
  • If a purse or bag is grabbed, be careful not to get involved in a wrestling match.  The purse-snatcher may have a weapon.
  • The police should be contacted immediately of a personal crime or theft occurs.
  • Before traveling to foreign countries, practice a few basic phrases, such as “help”, “police” and “does anyone speak English.

Preventing Thefts While Traveling

  • Arrange for someone to pick up your mail and newspaper, do not stop delivery. Mail that is delivered and picked up and newspaper that are delivered and picked up make it appear that you are home.
  • Do not publicize your vacation plans.
  • Do not have your phone disconnected. It is better for a burglar to think you are out for a short period of time than to think you are away for a long period of time.
  • Turn down the ringer volume on your phone. A burglar outside can not hear an unanswered phone.
  • Leave a key with a trusted neighbor so they can check the house periodically.
  • Do not put a message on your answering machine which says you will be gone for a long time.

Preventing Thefts From Homes/Rooms

  • Drapes and shades should be left in a normal position during the day.
  • Interior lights should be left on at night—bedrooms and hallways are logical places. Automatic timing devices should be used in your absence.
  • A radio should be left on during some of the night time hours, so that the room/home sounds occupied if you are away.
  • Garage doors should never be left open, particularly with no car in sight. This is like a neon welcome sign to a burglar.
  • Participate in neighborhood watch programs if available. Check with your local police department.
  • Good locks should be installed, and most important, they should be used whenever you are gone.
  • New locks should be installed after moving to a new residence, or when keys have been lost or stolen.
  • House keys should not be carried with car keys or connected with any form of identification.
  • Notes left on your home/room should not inform a burglar that the area is unoccupied.
  • Door keys should not be left under flower pots or doormats, inside a unlocked mailbox, over the doorway, or in other obvious places.
  • When called by a stranger, do not give out information about who is at home, who is out, and how long they will be gone.
  • Persons requesting to use the phone should not be allowed inside under any circumstances. Even a small child could be an accomplice to a burglar.

Preventing Vehicle Thefts

  • Install a vehicle alarm or mechanical lock for the steering wheel or ignition.
  • Always lock the doors and leave the window rolled up.
  • Always activate any auto alarms or anti-theft devices.
  • Keep packages, tape/cd players out of sight. Expensive items in full view invite theft even if the vehicle is locked. Do not advertise the types of stereo equipment you have in your vehicle.
  • Avoid transferring a valuable items to the trunk at the location where the vehicle is to be parked.
  • Use a garage if possible and lock both the vehicle and the garage.
  • Know the license plate number, year, make and model of your vehicle.
  • Do not leave money, checkbooks, credit cards, wallets or any electronic devices such as cell phones, iPods or laptops in plain view inside the vehicle at any time.
  • Leave only the ignition key with the attendant at a commercial garage, or with the employee of a gas station or service shop.

Preventing Bicycle Theft

  • Keep bicycles locked any time they are unattended with a good “U” type lock. Second choice would be a good case- hardened padlock and cable. Be sure the “U” lock or cable goes through the front wheel and frame or rear wheel and frame, and secure it to a fixed object.
  • Check the lock by pulling on it to make sure it is secure.
  • Use an engraver to place an identifying mark on unpainted major bicycle components.
  • During the day at home, keep the bicycle out of sight, or at least at the rear of the house.
  • At night and when not at home, keep the bicycle inside a locked structure.
  • Be sure to retain all evidence of purchase including the serial number.
  • Be able to identify the bicycle…not only by its color, but by its features.
  • Have one or more close up color photographs of the bicycle and its owner on hand.
  • Register the bicycle in a community registration program, if available.
  • Never loan a bike to strangers.
  • Try to avoid parking bicycle in high crime, deserted, or poorly lit areas.