Canton police share New Year's resolution ideas to keep families safe

Resolutions include tips for individuals, families

By Meaghan St Pierre - Producer, Karen Drew - Reporter/Anchor

CANTON, Mich. - Thieves can target you at home, in your car and even through your phone or computer, which is why Canton police say the new year is a great opportunity to set some safety resolutions to protect you and your family.

"It's the beginning of every year, there's resolutions going on for everything, everybody is looking to lose weight or make their life a little better as they start the new year. We thought that throwing this out there at the beginning of the year will remind individuals, 'Hey, let’s start the year off right with resolutions for our own personal safety and choices that we make throughout the year,'" Patty Esselink, community relations officer for the Canton Police Department, said.

Resolution #1: Close your garage and lock your vehicles every night. 

"The easier it is for someone to get in or out, the more likely they're going to take something from you," Esselink said. "So, if you leave your door open, you allow that opportunity for them to just walk into your garage. Or if you leave your vehicle unlocked, they just walk up, open the door and take what they want."

Items of value, such as snow blowers, power tools and bikes, should be placed toward the front of the garage so individuals driving down the road may not be able to spot them as easily or at all. 

Never leave valuable items inside vehicles, including phones or laptops.

Resolution #2: Never give personal or sensitive information to anyone calling over the phone.

According to Esselink, phone scams are alive and well.

"Don't allow anyone access to your electronics. If someone calls you and tells you there is a warrant for your arrest and your DTE bill wasn't paid and you have to leave your home to go get money to put onto any type of card, like a Google or iTunes card or Green Dot card, it is a scam. Do not load money onto those cards and give them the code off the back because they'll immediately have access to those funds," Esselink said.

Resolution #3: Have a home emergency preparedness kit.

The kit should include enough food and water to last 72 hours. It should also contain a first-aid kit, flashlights, blankets, important documents, a list of medication everyone in the home takes and spare house and car keys.

Resolution #4: Never text while driving, don't use your cellphone at all while on the road.

"Texting while driving is still an issue we see on a regular basis. Putting that cellphone in the back seat or out of reach helps an individual not have that urge to reach and grab that phone when they hear that sound go off that there is a text message. Put it on silent, make sure that we're paying attention to what we are currently doing, and that is driving," Esselink said. 

Resolution #5: Memorize essential phone numbers. 

Many people rely on cellphones to store important phone numbers and information. Esselink said it is a good idea to know a couple important phone numbers in case the phone is lost or the battery dies.