Click Below or to the Right

Home F.A.Q.  Community Resource Officers News Employment Crime Mapping Contact Us

Crime Prevention Tips


Combat Auto Theft  (C.A.T.)   Help police stop car thefts...Join Combat Auto Theft!

Please understand that no one tip or trick with stop all thieves or prevent all crime.  However, these methods may
slow down a thief, or prevent them from targeting your vehicle.

Facts About Auto Theft:

Fact: Nearly 1 in 5 stolen vehicles were left unlocked with the keys in the ignition.

Fact: Over half of all vehicle thefts occur in residential neighborhoods.

Fact: More than two thirds of auto theft happen at night.

Fact: A car is five times more likely to be stolen from an unattended lot than from the street or an attended

Fact: Good anti-theft devices slow down thieves and increase their risk of discovery and apprehension.

Auto Theft Precautions:

  • Always REMOVE the keys from your car, lock all doors and close windows tightly EVERY TIME you leave your car.
  • Try to park your car in a well lit, highly visible area.
  • Never hide a spare key to your vehicle on or in the vehicle.
  • Never leave packages, luggage, pocketbooks, wallets, electronics, or any valuables in plain view in your vehicle.
  • If you must store valuables in your car, place them in the trunk when you are sure no one is observing you.
  • Never attach a tag with your name and address to your key ring.
  • Leave only the ignition key or a "valet" key with a parking attendant.  Lock your trunk and glovebox.
  • Have you vehicle identification number (VIN) engraved in several locations on your car and on the window glass.  Engraved windows are less valuable to thieves.
  • Do not leave titles or bills of sale in your vehicle.

Stolen autos are often abandoned on city streets, in public parking lots, and other unprotected areas.  They are often used in the commission of other crimes.  Assist your police department by reporting abandoned or suspicious vehicles or persons immediately.

To report such activity, call your local routine police number. The routine number for West Haven it is (203) 937-3900.

Carjacking: When a vehicle is taken from a person by force or threat of force.

This type of robbery is more serious than auto theft because the victim is present during the crime and the potential for violence is heightened. You can reduce your chances of becoming a victim by:

  • Having your keys ready when entering your vehicle.
  • Keeping your doors locked and windows rolled up when parked or driving.
  • Before entering your vehicle, be alert to activity in the area.  Look into the vehicle before getting in.  Check the back seat.
  • Install a remote control garage door opener.  Drive into your garage with your headlights illuminating the area.
    Close the garage door before exiting your vehicle if you have an attached garage.  Also, open the garage door after you have entered it and locked the doors.
  • When driving or stopping at a light, leave room between you and the car in front of you.  A good rule of thumb is
    that you should be able to see the ground where the tires meet the road on the car in front of you. 
  • Avoid driving near the curb.  A carjacker can block you in with another car, or break the window before you can
    react and drive away.
  • Don't leave your wallet or purse on the seat next to you.  Place them on the floor, under the front seat.
  • Avoid idling your car in neutral -- you may have to pull away in a hurry.
  • If you get bumped from the rear, DO NOT STOP.  Motion the other driver to follow you and drive to a well lighted,
    well populated area, such as a gas station, Fire Station or Police Station.  Report the accident to the Police immediately.
  • NEVER leave your car running while filling up or just to "run" into a store.
  • Keep your gas tank full and your car in good working order to avoid being stranded in unfamiliar neighborhoods.

If someone tries to take your car and your windows are rolled up and the doors are locked:

  • Step on the gas and hit your horn.
  • If you are forced from your car and a child is in the rear seat.. Yell "There's a child in the car!"
  • If the perpetrator has a weapon or you feel that you are in danger...

    DO NOT ARGUE OR RESIST!  Give them the car!

    If your vehicle is taken......

    Remain calm.
    Call the police immediately.
    Give a full description of your car, including the license plate number to the police.
    Give a full description of the perpetrator, the direction of flight, and the description of any weapon used or threatened with.



Project KidCare - West Haven Police Department

Q: Why Project KidCare?

A: A missing child is a parents worst nightmare. Most parents
would like to believe that it couldn't happen to them, but it
does. While proper precautions and learning safety skills
go a long way towards protecting your child, abductions
and cases of lost or runaway children now occur at an
alarming rate.

According to the United States Department of Justice, over one million children run
away or are reported missing or abducted each year. Most parents do not have a
suitable, unobstructed, head and shoulder picture of their child to give to the authorities
in the event that a child becomes missing or runs away.

KidCare is essential because a proper photograph is the most important tool in helping
to find a missing child. Fingerprints can help identify, but can rarely assist in locating a
missing child.

One in eight missing children featured in a National Center for Missing and Exploited
Children photo distribution program have been recovered because of that photo!

The Goal of KidCare.
The goal of this program is to provide parents with standardized personal safety
documents for their children, featuring an instant color photograph of their child.
Hopefully, by forging alliances between police departments, event sponsors and
families, the number of children missing can be reduced and the number of children
recovered can be increased.

Q: What Will KidCare Cost Me?

A:  KidCare is free to all participants. It is paid for through Community Action Grants and
donations. It is a service offered to the public by the West Haven Police Crime
Prevention Unit for the safety and protection of children. We do ask that a local
business or organization sponsor the event, giving us a public location to set up and
conduct the event.

transinfo.gif (979 bytes)  Vacation Security Tips

I'm going on vacation, what can I do to stay safe while traveling?

bulletballorn.gif (326 bytes) Before Leaving
bulletballorn.gif (326 bytes) On the Road
bulletballorn.gif (326 bytes) Sight-seeing
bulletballorn.gif (326 bytes) Hotel and Motel Security
bulletballorn.gif (326 bytes) On the Town

Before Leaving

Inform your neighbors of how long you expect to be away. Inform them if you will have a
house sitter.
Have a friend or neighbor pick up mail and/or deliveries. Make arrangements to have the lawn
mowed and leaves picked up.
Simulate a "lived-in" appearance by using timers to run lights and a radio on and off during
expected hours.

On the Road

Never carry large amounts of cash; use travelers checks. If you must carry a large sum of
money, do not display it openly.
Keep a record of your traveler's check numbers and your credit card numbers in a safe place.
Have the telephone numbers to call in case your checks or credit cards are lost or stolen.
Take only credit cards that you actually plan to use. Make a Xerox copy of all your cards before
you leave home so you have a record of the card numbers.
Be aware of your surroundings and never advertise your plans to strangers. This includes travel
routes and the amount of cash you are carrying.

Car Rental and Security

When renting a car, pick one whose operations you are familiar with. If not, take time to see
where the lights, brakes, turn signals, windshield wipers, and spare tire are and how they work.
Don't rent a car at night. Stay in the hotel and rent it in the morning.
Always lock your car when entering or leaving it.
Park in well-lighted, busy areas and check the vehicle's interior and surrounding area before
Always lock valuables out of sight. Always carry wallets, checkbooks, and purses with you.
Do not advertise that you are a tourist. Place maps and travel brochures in the glove
If you do become lost, drive to a public place to check the map. Don't stop along a street or the


Remember the name and address of the hotel/motel where you are staying. Take a business
card or a book of matches with the name of the hotel/motel.
Ask for directions at a hotel/motel on how to get to those attractions you want to visit. Ask if
there any areas of town to avoid.
Select your guides carefully.
Ask if there are any areas in town you should avoid. Stick to well-lighted main streets and public
Only carry with you the cash you will need, and only in small denominations.

Hotel and Motel Security

When staying overnight at a hotel or motel, remember the following:

Determine the most direct route to and from your room, to the fire escapes, elevators, and
nearest phone.
When occupying or leaving your room, use all auxiliary locking devices on doors and windows.
Identify anyone requesting entry to your room. Open the door only if you are certain that the
person has a legitimate reason to enter your room. If in doubt, call the hotel/motel office.
Unpack and place belongings in the closet and dresser. Arrange your things so you'll know if
anything is missing. When you leave your room, close up your suitcase.
Suitcases should always be locked so they cannot be used to carry your property out of your
Never leave money, checks, credit cards or car keys in the room. Take them with you.
Place extra cash, expensive jewelry or other valuables (furs, gems, gold, or silver) in the
hotel/motel safe.
Report any lost or stolen items to the hotel/motel management and to the police.
Report to the management any suspicious movements in the corridors or rooms.

On the Town

Never display large amounts of cash when making purchases. It is better to use traveler's checks
or credit cards.
Men should carry wallets in an inside coat or trouser pocket.
A woman should hold her purse close to her side when walking. Be sure the purse is closed
tightly and that the opening is facing the body.
Don't stop to give money to panhandlers.
Be aware of your surroundings and those around you. If you feel threatened or uncomfortable,
seek help.

Top of Page

Crime Prevention Home Page

West Haven Police Home Page