Although threats of revenge are a sad but true part of the job, most go unrealized. In a few tragic cases however, criminals do in fact attack officers’ homes and families. Here are 10 quick reminders of personal steps you can take to help protect your loved ones, your property and yourself:
1. Make sure your home phone number is not publicly listed.
2. Avoid having obvious law enforcement-related deliveries (like law enforcement magazines or gear from Police Stuff, Inc. delivered in a Police Stuff logo-emblazoned box) sent directly to your home and make clear that you do not want your rank included on anything sent to your home. The safest option is to get a P.O. Box and have an alternative street address you can use for package deliveries (some private mail drop businesses let you use their street address for UPS, Fed. Ex. and other similar package delivery services).
3. If you take your squad home, avoid parking it in front of your house if possible.
4. Don’t wear your uniform in your private vehicle.
5. Watch what you wear in public. Hats, tee-shirts, jackets, etc. that announce the fact that you’re a cop could draw unwanted attention.
6. Vary your route to and from work and keep an eye on who’s behind you when you drive.
7. When you come in and out of your home, make a conscious effort to take a second and look around.
8. Consider the address you’re using on applications that require you to list your place of employment along with your home address. Whenever possible, avoid associating the two.
9. Think like someone who might want to figure out where you live and try to “look for yourself.” Is your home in your name and your address readily available through public property records searches? Does an Internet search for your name pull up personal information you might want to try and have removed?
10. Ask trusted neighbors to always tip you off if they see something or someone odd in the area. Have they noticed someone who has started driving by your house regularly and paying particular attention to your home?
Stay safe, on duty and off.