Neighborhood Crime Prevention

To assist the Police Department in keeping Denver neighborhoods safe, it's important to learn about personal safety tips, how to safeguard your valuables, and to report all crime when it occurs.  Learn more below:

Your Home

When you are Alone in your Home

  • Keep you house locked when you are away as well as when you are home and use deadbolt locks to secure your home. 
  • NEVER under any circumstances let anyone know you are alone in the house.

Door Locks

Keep you house locked when you are away as well as when you are home and use deadbolt locks to secure your home. The deadbolt lock has a bolt that must be activated by a key or thumb turn. It offers good security because it is not spring activated and cannot be opened with a credit card. Deadbolt locks should meet these criteria to be a good security device:

  • The bolt must extend a minimum of 1 inch and be made of case hardened steel.
  • The cylinder guard must be tapered, round and free spinning to make it difficult to grip with pliers or a wrench. It must be solid metal – not hollow casting or stamped metal.
  • There should be at least a five pin tumbler system or equivalent locking device.
  • The connecting screws that hold the lock together must be on the inside and made of case hardened steel. No exposed screw heads should be on the outside.
  • The connecting screws must be at least one-fourth inch in diameter and go into solid metal stock, not screw posts. A heavy duty strike plate helps strengthen door frames better than a regular strike plate. (A strike plate is the jamb fastening that receives the deadbolt in the locking position.) The heavy duty plate uses four to six, three inch screws, not two, three-fourth inch screws used in regular plates. The longer screws go through the frame into the jamb making it harder for someone to split the frame when kicking the door. A heavy duty strike plate will strengthen the door jamb and reinforce the lock.

Window Locks

Many burglars make entry into residence through open windows so make sure that they are always closed and locked even when you are home.  

Use auxiliary locks: Pin your windows or add an auxiliary lock to your double hung windows. This type of mechanism will allow you to secure your window when you open it (5 inches or less) for ventilation. Newer windows have higher quality locks while older double hung windows are easily jimmied or pried open. 

Double hung windows can be secured by taking these simple, inexpensive precautions: Drill a hole at a downward angle through the first sash and into, but not through, the second sash. Then pin window by driving a nail into the hole. Pinning braces the window against prying. More holes can be drilled to pin the window open for ventilation.

Keyed locks are available for windows. If used, master key all window locks and show children how to use them. Do not use keyed locks on windows in sleeping areas.

Visible House Numbers

Visible house numbers are important. They can save police officers, firefighters and paramedic’s valuable time. House numbers are especially important if you live where there is an alley. Police officers and firefighters will often respond in the alley, as access is sometimes better.

Landscaping Maintenance

Fences: Privacy vs. chain link. Burglars prey on privacy. Fences that allow activity to be seen in your yard are preferable to “privacy” fences.

Trees and shrubbery: Should be trimmed 6 inches below windows and at least 3 feet away from doors. Shrubbery such as rose bushes or other thorny varieties serve as a good deterrent to window peepers.

Landscape rock: Large landscape rock (golf ball size or larger) can be used to damage your property. Small landscape rock (smaller than golf ball size) is both decorative and, if someone walks on them, will be easily heard.

When you are on Vacation

  • Do not leave messages indicating that you are out of town on your mailbox, phone or answering machine.
  • Suspend paper and mail deliveries when going out of town; or have a friend or neighbor pick up newspapers, mail, and flyers from your yard, or door.
  • Call your local police station to place your house on vacation watch so that officers can keep an eye on you house during your absence.

Lighting and Electronic Timers

  • Use electric timers inside your home to turn on lights, T.V. or radios during your absence.
  • At night or if away, lower window shades, keep lights on in at least 2 locations
  • Motion detector lights are very effective in deterring crime. They also light up your driveway or entry doors when you are leaving or coming home.
  • Dusk to dawn lighting is a strong deterrent against criminal activity, and it constantly lights up your entry doors and possible obstacles that would otherwise be unseen.
  • Landscape lighting is low voltage lighting that can highlight your property line, light up your sidewalk and also light up the exterior of your windows – making your home a less attractive target to night time burglars.
  • Interior lighting using light timers makes a home look occupied. Good lights to leave on are bedroom and/or bathroom lights.

Your Vehicle

  • Keep your vehicle locked, even when parked in front of your home.
  • Don’t leave anything of value in the vehicle; take them with you or lock in the trunk. This is especially true for a purse, cellphone, GPS, laptop, or money.
  • Keep your house key and vehicle key separate.
  • Remove your garage door opener from your vehicle when parked in your driveway or on the street.
  • Always keep a copy of your vehicle registration, license number and VIN on you.
  • Do not warm up your vehicle in the morning without you being in it.
  • Park your vehicle in areas that are highly visible and well lit.
  • Never hide a second set of keys inside your vehicle.
  • Approach your parked vehicle from the passenger side - this gives you the opportunity to observe under your vehicle while walking.

Your Bicycle

Bike Registration & Theft Tips 

  • Always lock up your bicycles if they’re kept outside or in a garage. Otherwise, keep them inside the house.
  • Registering your bike is a great tool that aids officers in the recovery of stolen bikes and helps ensure the bicycle is returned to its rightful owner. You may also register your bike at any police station or COP Shop.


For more information on bike registration, bicycle auctions, and recovered bikes, contact:

Detective Lance Rushton

Personal Safety

Attitude and Awareness 

  • When you are conducting your daily activities walk briskly and with confidence. Keep your head upright, scan your surroundings and be aware of persons and areas that you encounter.
  • Avoid taking shortcuts and try to remain where there are other people around you and help can be summoned if the need arises.
  • If you believe you are in danger, look for open businesses or nearby residences that can be accessed to obtain assistance.
  • When approaching your residence or workplace have the entry keys in your hand ready to unlock the door. Check around the entrance to your residence or workplace as you approach.
  • Carry your cellular telephone with you at all times and have it available to call for police assistance.
  • When going to and from your vehicle carry your car keys in your hand and these can be utilized to stop an attack. Always check the back seat before entering the vehicle.
  • When entering parking structures and home garages check behind you to determine if someone steps under the door as it is closing. Be especially alert in un-staffed parking lots and enclosed parking garages.
  • Avoid parking in isolated areas with little or no foot or auto traffic.
  • Keep your car in good running condition, and try to gas your vehicle during daylight hours. 
  • If your vehicle becomes disabled park in a well lighted area, place the hood up and activate the emergency flashers and stay in the locked vehicle and call for assistance. Try to avoid stopping at isolated or poorly lit areas. Be sure of the intent of parties offering assistance. If you feel threatened, sound your horn until the person leaves or help arrives. Do not accept rides from strangers and do not pick up hitchhikers. If you are on foot and a vehicle approaches you and you feel threatened run the opposite direction from the vehicle and scream for help. If someone tries to force you in-to a car, fight and resist. Do not get in the vehicle unless it is unavoidable. 
  • Avoid stopping to aid disabled motorists. Request assistance for them by calling the police on your cellular phone or stop and inform a nearby service station. 
  • Drive with your car doors locked at all times and lock the vehicle when leaving it. 
  • Do not leave the vehicle running and unattended, even just to let it warm up on cold days.
  • Your purse is a likely target for an attacker. Try to avoid carrying a handbag if possible. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. If you are carrying a purse and someone grabs it, let it go. Do not fight over property. This applies to your vehicle as well.   If you are carrying a purse, do not carry the purse with the strap across your body.  If an attacker pulls on the purse, then this will cause you to go to the ground with the purse.
  • If a suspect approaches you, whether they are armed or not and demands your vehicle, give them the car. If you have children in the vehicle inform the suspect of this and that you will remove the children and they can take the vehicle after you do this.
  • When running errands to multiple destinations, place packages and other valuables out of sight, preferably in the trunk. Do not leave items in plain view. Never leave your children unattended in the vehicle, for any reason, not even for a few moments to pay for gas or to go in-to a store to quickly purchase an item.
  • After entering your residence, lock the door and keep your doors and windows locked. 
  • When someone knocks on your door, verify who is at the door, prior to opening it. Consider purchasing an exterior screen or security door and talk through the locked door.
  • Never let an unknown unidentified person inside of your residence for any reason! Ask to see photo credentials of any workers that come to your residence to do repairs. 
  • Beware of unsolicited workers are at your residence. Call for police assistance if necessary. 
  • Keep exterior lights burning during hours of darkness. 
  • Keep your portable phone near your beside as you retire for the day. Before retiring for the evening, check doors and windows to verify they are closed. 
  • When doing outside chores, keep all entry doors locked. 
  • Consider installing an alarm system or plan an exit strategy if the need arises. 
  • If you are in the residence and someone enters the home, scream loudly and immediately call for police assistance by dialing 911. 
  • If the person does not leave the residence, run out immediately and seek help from nearby neighbors. Take your phone with you and call for police assistance.
  • Get involved with Neighborhood Watch. Introduce yourself to your neighbors and call the police if you observe suspicious activity at residences that surround you.
  • Listen to your instincts, if something feels wrong, it is wrong.  It is perfectly fine to call police on incidents you feel are suspicious.


  • Call 911 and request for police to come.  If you call 911 and drop your phone, keep yelling and provide your location, description of the suspect, and any pertinent information you can provide.  If you don’t know your location, provide landmarks that can help officers to your location. 
  • If you are attacked and decide to resist there is no halfway and you must fight with a purpose. Attempt to disable your attacker and run to safety, right away. 
  • Scream as loud as you can to attract attention.  Tell them what you want them to do (“stop attacking me”, “stop choking me”, etc)
  • Strike fast, aim for vital spots.
  • Gouge eyes with thumbs: scratch with fingernails.
  • Jab Knees into groin area.
  • If you are attacked from the rear, dig heels into instep, kick at shins, strike attackers face with the back of your head.
  • Fight, fight, fight! 


How to Start a Neighborhood Watch Program

Neighborhood Watch Logo

Contact your police district’s Community Resource Officer to inform them about your intent to start a new watch program. Download the Neighborhood Watch Booklet and a Property Inventory Record to record your valuable possessions.

Neighborhood Watch Booklet(PDF, 4MB)
Property Inventory Record(PDF, 79KB)

Determine the geographical area that your neighborhood watch program can effectively cover. Consider the landscape and layout of the neighborhood and how well neighbors can observe one other's property.

Coordinate a date and time when all watch program participants can attend a start-up meeting. You may want to work thorough your Registered Neighborhood Organization to encourage involvement. Meetings may take place in somebody's home, but should be conveniently located and aim to achieve maximum attendance. Be sure to contact your Community Resource Officer at least two (2) weeks prior to the meeting to confirm their ability to attend. 

Once a date and time has been coordinated, develop a meeting announcement flier, make copies, and distribute them to the neighbors. Emphasize the importance of having at least one adult person from every household attend the meeting and provide a method for neighbors to confirm their attendance.

During the meeting, your Community Resource Officer will help organize your neighbors in to a proactive Neighborhood Watch Group. The officer will provide educational material and personal instruction in crime prevention techniques.

Pups on Patrol is a program to help train civilian pups how to spot danger. Modeled after the National Dog Walker Watch program that encourages neighbors to assist local law enforcement as extra eyes and ears while out walking their dog, the program enhances the partnership between police and community, so neighbors can be more aware and learn how to effectively observe and report suspicious activity.