Teen Personal Safety

Experts from the Boise Police Crime Prvention Unit will teach teens and youngsters, junior high and high school age, how to take steps to protect themselves and their property. Depending upon the age and gender of the audience, topics may include date rape and substance abuse. Handouts provided. For more, contact Tuckie Shaver at tshaver@cityofboise.org

Protecting Teens from Property Theft from the National Crime Prevention Council:

Many of today’s teens carry a variety of technological devices, such as mp3 players, cell phones, digital cameras, portable gaming systems, etc. These items are often targets of theft. Such items as school books and clothing can be targets of theft as well.

In 2006, “high school students were more likely to experience property crime than fights at school” according to a US Department of Juvenile Justice report.

Theft in schools may sour students’ feelings about their school environment or make them feel unsafe. While many schools have security personnel or School Resource Officers on site, some schools rely on teachers and administrators to police the halls. Regardless of the level of security, it’s important to teach teens to prevent theft.

Remind teens to:

  • Keep their lockers locked. Tell them not to keep money or anything valuable in their lockers, especially overnight.
  • Tell teens to lock their bikes and not to leave their bikes in isolated areas.
  • Don’t leave backpacks, purses, other bags, or anything valuable unattended during school hours or at an afterschool meeting or practice.
  • Consider leaving valuables, especially expensive electronics, at home. If teens do bring their electronics to school, tell them to write down the serial numbers beforehand and make sure they don’t leave valuables in backpacks or on desks. 
  •  Tell teens to keep valuables locked out of sight in their car’s trunk or glove compartments.

Recovering Stolen Property:

  • Stolen property is hard to recover, but there are cases in which stolen property is found and turned over to the appropriate authorities. If teens take appropriate steps before and after a theft, they might be able to retrieve their valuables.
  • Tell teens to keep a record of all of the valuables they bring to school. This includes the item’s color, make, model, serial number, and any other identifying information. Teens may even want to take a picture of each item to keep with the list (and give a copy of the list to their parents).
  •  Take part in Operation ID, a nationwide theft prevention program. Teens mark property with an identifying number to make it less desirable to thieves—the number makes it harder to resell the item. The number also helps police locate the owner if the stolen property is recovered. Teens can have items engraved, or write their names in permanent ink on the inside labels of clothing. Since many items of clothing (particularly accessories) are lost rather than stolen, having a  ame on them may aid in their safe return.
  • Immediately report a theft to school resource officers, school security staff, or other law enforcement. When reporting a theft, remember to note the date, time, and location of the incident. If someone else witnessed the theft, ask for the person’s full name and contact information for the police report. Prompt reporting is an important factor in recovering stolen items and in catching the thief.

Graduate to Safety - Prom, Graduation and Celebration event tips:

Fun and safety can go hand in hand.  Because you don’t want to visit a friend in the hospital or explain your actions to law enforcement, keep a clear mind and healthy body free from drugs and alcohol. 

Remember:

-  Alcohol impairs your vision and response time.  That cement wall by the roadside?  It won’t move when your car hits it, but you will, and not in a fun, amusement park way. 

-  Alcohol and drugs can make you ill.  Did you plan on puking on your clothing?  Or worse, on your date?  Do you really want the evening to end with you in the emergency room? 

-  Alcohol and drug convictions will go on your police record.  You know that job you’re applying for that asks about any “…convictions, misdemeanors, felonies, arrests, expunges, charges” etc.?  No one wants to explain this over and over.

-  Loss of inhibitions may be harmless on the dance floor (except for cell phone pics), but if you aren’t sober and clear about sexual boundaries, you could end up with life-changing consequences.  Choose your group and actions wisely.

- Take your cell phone and extra money with you in case the car breaks down or your date is making bad decisions and you need a cab ride home.  Have a backup plan.

- Make sure your parents know where you’ll be for the evening.  And yes, curfew is still a legal requirement if not a parental one.  By law, individuals younger than 18 years of age must be indoors by midnight (see Boise City Code 6-10-2 for rules and exceptions).

- Trust your instincts!  If you know it isn’t right, don’t do it -- you’ll be glad the next day that you didn’t.

Summer or School Vacation Day Safety Tips: 

- When home alone, lock your doors and windows. If you don’t have air conditioning and want fresh air, insert a modified stick or dowel in the window sill. This will permit the window to open only a few inches, but not enough for someone to enter the house. No one wants to be surprised by an uninvited visitor.

- Be wary of solicitors at the door or on the phone. During the summer days, many solicitors approach homes. This allows a potential robber to look inside your home, evaluate your belongings, and note if you are alone. Never say you are by yourself. State that your parents are napping, busy, or working in the backyard. Remember that you do not have to open the door and never give out personal information. Solicitors must carry identification to certify who they work for and contact information.

- If bicycling around town or on the greenbelt, watch for pedestrians and alert them of your presence by saying “passing on your left”. Watch for cars backing out of driveways. At corners, make sure drivers see you before crossing. Often they are looking the other way at oncoming traffic and may not realize you are there. Ride the same direction as traffic, not against it. Whether biking or boarding – wear your helmet.

- Walk, jog, board or bike safe routes. Vary your route so you are unpredictable. This prevents someone from knowing your exact whereabouts at a set time everyday. (Jogging by a group of bushes every day at 7:20 am could pose a risk.) However, let your parents know your various routes in case you are missing and we need to search for you. Always be aware of your surroundings. This may mean removing your headphones several times, wearing only one ear plug, or not listening to your iPod or portable player at all, depending upon your location. Avoid shortcuts at night through parks; stay on the sidewalk or in well-lighted areas (so you can see who’s walking behind you). Take your BFF or a trusted friend (and cell phone) when exploring the green belt, downtown or hiking the foothills.

- The river will be flowing heavy and fast with the snow runoff. If floating the river, avoid ropes in the raft or branches near the shore that can entangle you.

- When skate or long boarding, be aware of the “All Wheels Down” and “Dismount” zones in downtown Boise to avoid a citation. Proper equipment such as helmet, gloves, and elbow pads can prevent “road rash” when hitting sidewalk cracks or rocks. I know wearing helmets is not something teens are enthusiastic about, but I can tell you that driving my son to the emergency room for a head injury from long boarding down a steep hill was not a fun experience for either of us. Boards can hit a pebble and flip you on your back especially when practicing stunts or taking steep hills. If you have an extra helmet, leave it in the trunk of your car so it’s always available for you or a friend.


Safety tips are in place to assist your summer enjoyment, so heed them and have a safe season!