Safety Tips

When to Call 911

One of the best sources of information that the Sheriff’s Office receives are callers reporting suspicious activity. However, many residents are unclear on what makes something suspicious. Here are some tips for what to look for and report:

  • Alarm activations
  • Glass breaking
  • Dogs barking in an unusual fashion
  • Slow moving vehicles
  • Vehicles driving with lights off at night
  • Vehicles unattended while running
  • Unknown vehicles parked at a neighbor’s house
  • People behaving strangely
  • People going door to door
  • Strangers entering side yards
  • People parked inside a vehicle for an extended amount of time
  • People wearing clothing inconsistent with the weather

Stay alert and call 911 immediately to report anything suspicious.

Get Notified

Sign up today for AlertSCC, the free, easy, confidential way for anyone who lives or works in Santa Clara County to get alerts sent to their mobile device, email, or landline in the event of a disaster. 

Neighborhood Watch

Neighborhood Watch is a great way for residents to work together to support the efforts of law enforcement. Through Neighborhood Watch, residents build a stronger, more connected community and are better equipped to spot and report suspicious activity. 

Preventing Property Crime

Overall, Saratoga is a very safe city. However, like nearly every community, it does experience property crime. Below are some tips to help prevent property crimes. 

Prevention Tips

  • Close and lock all windows, doors, and gates
  • Place motion-activated lighting in your front yard, side yard, and backyard 
  • Make your home look occupied by keeping lights on inside and outside of your home
  • Stop mail and newspaper delivery when you are out of town
  • Request a Patrol Check to have a Deputy check on your property when you are out of town, ask neighbors to keep an eye on your home too
  • Register your home security camera with the Sheriff’s Office to help law enforcement put criminals behind bars
  • Call 911 to report solicitors going door-to-door without a City Permit
  • Call 911 to report packages thefts, including anyone not in a delivery company uniform removing packages from doorsteps
  • Never leave a key hidden under a doormat or elsewhere
  • Lock electrical panels
  • Install a security camera outside your front door and post signage announcing that your home is under surveillance 
  • Install an alarm system with motion sensors, window and door sensors that detect when a window or door is open or glass has been shattered, and an outdoor alarm unit
  • Store jewelry and other expensive items  in a safety deposit box at a bank
  • Password protect all electronic devices
  • Backup electronic files and data to the cloud
  • Make sure your house numbers are clearly identifiable from the street
  • Consider mailing package to work, lockers offered by various companies, to a trusted friend or neighbor, or asking the delivery company to hold the package for pickup 
  • Avoid announcing when you will be away from home on social media
  • Turn off power to your garage door when you are out of town
  • Mark valuable items with your phone number, photograph and keep a record of serial numbers (if available) of valuable items

Vehicle Theft/Car Break-In Prevention

  • Always close windows and lock your vehicle
  • Never leave items of value in plain sight or your trunk, including bags, spare change, or paperwork 
  • Never leave your car running or with the keys in the ignition 
  • Park your car  in your garage at home
  • Park in well-lit, busy areas
  • Use your alarm system or a mechanical locking device 
  • Do not leave paperwork that identifies you or your home address in your vehicle, such as insurance or registration, especially when leaving a vehicle in long-term parking

Recovering from a Burglary 

Security Cameras

Security cameras can be a helpful tool in catching criminals and stopping crime. Below are some tips to consider when researching security cameras. 

  • Purchase cameras with the highest possible resolution
  • Install cameras at the front door, facing the driveway, pointing towards the street, and around the perimeter of the property
  • Consider a security system that includes surveillance cameras that can alert law enforcement when triggered 
  • Consider cameras with motion triggers and/or cameras connected to your doorbell 
  • Install signage announcing that the property is under surveillance and protected by an alarm company
  • Register your cameras with local law enforcement, so that they may request footage to help investigate a crime

ID Theft, Scams, and Fraud

ID Theft

  • Mail theft can frequently lead to identity theft, install a heavy-duty locking mailbox or use a PO Box to prevent mail and identity theft
  • Drop outgoing mail off at the Post Office, especially when mailing checks
  • Never leave mail in your mailbox overnight
  • Place a freeze on your credit and regularly monitor your credit score
  • Protect sensitive personal data and documents, such as social security numbers

Scams

  • If you get a phone call that sounds like a scam, hang up and take some time to confirm whether the call is legitimate
  • Use secure payment methods when making online purchases and never transfer money directly to sellers for online purchases
  • Report phone scams to 911
  • Receive free scam alerts at ftc.gov/scams 

Tax Season

During and after tax season, residents should be aware of scams targeting taxpayers. This includes phone calls from individuals posing as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees and fake emails that appear to be sent from the IRS and request personal information. To protect yourself, remember:

  • The IRS will never threaten to have you arrested for failing to pay fees or to revoke your driver’s license
  • You always have the opportunity to question or appeal IRS fees
  • The IRS will never require immediate payment by prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer
  • The IRS does not initiate contact by email, text, or social media to request personal or financial information

Roadway Safety

Driver Safety

  • When it rains, slow down, turn on your lights, and give other vehicles extra space
  • On hot days, never leave children or pets unattended in cars
  • Always watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists
  • If you are traveling on a multilane roadway, you are only allowed to make right-hand turns into drop-off areas from the right-hand lane
  • Check and recheck your rearview mirror for pedestrians and bicyclists before backing out of your driveway or parking space
  • Pedestrians have the right of way while in a crosswalk
  • The speed limit around school zones is typically 25 MPH and that is strictly enforced (the speed limit at some schools is posted at 15 MPH)
  • Be patient if you are in a school zone
  • Follow the direction of crossing guards at all times

Bicycle Safety

  • Wear a helmet and bright clothing
  • Ride with the direction of vehicle traffic
  • Equip your bike with a taillight and front light
  • Keep clear of parked cars to avoid a collision with doors that open unexpectedly
  • Keep your eyes on the pavement to avoid potholes and other hazards
  • Make eye contact with drivers and clearly signal your intention at intersections
  • Children under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet if they are riding a bicycle, scooter, or skateboard