We’d like to think most criminals are like the two goons from the Home Alone films: easily thwarted with a few traps developed by a little kid. The unfortunate fact, however, is that criminals have become exceedingly clever.

That’s why, Indianapolis police officer Candi Perry broke down the common tactics criminals like to use and, more importantly, what you can do—sans booby traps—to keep yourself, your family, and your home safe. Here are some of Candi’s most helpful tips that might just save your life!

Crime may not pay, but that doesn’t stop people from trying to test the limits of legality in order to get what they want. Desperate criminals have developed tricks and tips that they can use to prey on the innocent. Luckily, there are people looking to stop them.

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Indianapolis police officer Candi Perry lent a hand to the local news channel and explained some of the signs criminals might look for before striking a target. With her advice, you can lower your chances of being the victim of a theft and protect your family!

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Officer Perry’s advice would come in handy for anyone, from the frailest grandma to the strongest man. She was especially careful to show how criminals might take advantage of you in everyday situations. Ready for a safety lesson?

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Officer Perry started her safety advice in the parking lot of a store. Unless you’re a complete shut-in, you can’t avoid grocery shopping—and parking lots are some of the most common scenes of crimes.

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Say you’ve loaded your cart up with groceries and you’re wheeling them back to your SUV parked in one of the first rows of the lot. Maybe your purse or backpack is sitting in the front of the cart, right where you can see it. Only, it’s not as safe as you might think…

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While the front of the cart may feel like a secure place for your belongings, it doesn’t take any sleight of hand to nab a purse there. Luckily, Officer Perry showed how to protect your stuff from this sort of grab and run.

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According to Officer Perry, keeping your belongings safe is as simple as using a bit of forethought. Carry your purse or bag in front of you, keep your keys in your hand, and put your cell phone away. You’ll be a far less-appealing target. Remember, if someone steals your purse, they’ll have your license, which has your home address on it!

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Officer Perry offered another tip to those crossing parking lots: park by the cart return. Chances are, these are the biggest hubs within the lot itself, and they see constant foot traffic from shoppers returning their carts. No thief would dare venture here.

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Let’s say you made it through the parking lot unscathed. You had your phone put away, your keys gripped tight, and your purse slung across your chest. You’re in the clear, right? If only…

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When you get home from the store, you might have a garage to pull into so you’re safe and sound. But Officer Perry had a warning: criminals might see the garage door as the perfect cover for sneaking into a home. Don’t believe it? Think of it this way…

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Garage doors aren’t exactly notorious for their silent operating, and the loud whirring of  gears in motion could provide the perfect cover for even the most heavy-footed burglar. Similarly, intruders can utilize vehicle blind spots for easy cover. So, how can you fight this?

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Officer Perry made a suggestion that would help to spot garage intruders. All you’d need to do, if you felt so inclined, was tilt the side mirrors toward the ground. You’d be able to catch anyone lurking in your car’s blind spots.

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Alright, so you made it out of the parking lot without issue. Your garage door closed behind you and no unwanted visitors slipped in under the cover of a blind spot. You can rest easy, right? Well…

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Once you’re inside, there are a few anti-intruder tips you can utilize to give your home extra security. For starters, keep your windows locked; that’s because it’s easy for criminals to see when they’re open and unlocked.

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How often do you think about the patterns in which you turn off your lights every night? Probably never, right? Chances are, you turn off your bedroom light last, and if a criminal was watching, they’d know precisely which room you were sleeping in!

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Officer Perry offered a solution to that, too. If you leave a few lights on every night—and maybe different ones each night—there won’t be any completely obvious patterns to pick up on. Your potential assailant could be, quite literally, left without a guiding light!

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Still, you can end up the victim of a break-in even if you think you’re taking all the right precautions. For example, do you stick little rods in sliding glass door tracks or windows so that burglars can’t open them? Never use a hollow one. Here’s why…

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All it takes is a little tool—a flattened out coat-hanger, for instance—and a bit of patience to weasel the jamming rod out of the track through the tiniest gap. Phew! Now it was time for Officer Perry’s last two tips…

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Some doors don’t have a frame that covers up narrow gap between the door and the wall. Possible thieves can use that gap to see where you are, which may not seem so bad on the surface. They’d know you were home and they’d simply flee, right?

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If your would-be attacker watched a lot of action movies in his heyday, he may be tempted to kick in the door. When you check to see who’s outside, he’ll see you through the crack and deliver a swift kick to the door, which would smack you in the face. So watch out!

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For her final tip, Officer Perry informed viewers of a consequence of social media activity. If you use Facebook and you RSVP that you’re going to an event, guess what? Criminals will know when and how long you’ll be away. So maybe just click “interested” next time.

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Even the most cautious among us could spruce up on safety tips every now and again, especially when dealing with life or death consequences. Pay attention to each one of Officer Perry’s tips—they could save your life!

How informative! These are tips we might all benefit from if we paid more attention to our surroundings. What are your favorite safety tips for common scenarios?

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