Nassau County Sheriff's Office

An Accredited Florida Law Enforcement Agency

Non-Emergency Lines: (904) 225-5174 | (904) 548-4009 | toll free (855) 725-2630

Safety Tips

Personal protection is sometimes as simple as knowing what to look out for. The information provided below is intended as a reminder to make citizens more aware of the risks and remedies to stay safe.

How to Protect Yourself at an ATM

  • Try to avoid using an ATM by yourself.
  • If possible, avoid using an ATM after dark. Otherwise, choose one that is well lighted and is not blocked by tall bushes.
  • When you arrive at an ATM, look around. If you see anything that makes you uncomfortable or anyone who looks suspicious, do not stop. Either use an ATM at a different location or come back later. Notify authorities.

Have your access card and any other paperwork you need ready when you approach the ATM.

  • Even while using the ATM, stay alert to your surroundings. Look up and around every few seconds while transacting your business.
  • When your transaction is finished, be sure you have your card and your receipt and leave immediately. Avoid counting or otherwise displaying large amounts of cash.
  • As you leave, be alert for anything or anyone who appears suspicious. If you think you are being followed, go to an area with a lot of people and call the police.

Protect your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Do not enter your PIN if anyone else can see the screen. Do not use spouse, children, maiden or pet names for the PIN number.  Shield your PIN from onlookers by using your body.

  • Even while using the ATM, stay alert to your surroundings. Look up and around every few seconds while transacting your business.
  • When your transaction is finished, be sure you have your card and your receipt and leave immediately. Avoid counting or otherwise displaying large amounts of cash.
  • As you leave, be alert for anything or anyone who appears suspicious. If you think you are being followed, go to an area with a lot of people and call the police.

Protect your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Do not enter your PIN if anyone else can see the screen. Do not use spouse, children, maiden or pet names for the PIN number.  Shield your PIN from onlookers by using your body.

 Protect Your Home While on Vacation

  • Be certain that you have locked all your windows and doors before you leave.
  • A residence with a “lived-in” appearance is a deterrent to burglars. Never leave notes on doors and have a friend or neighbor pick up your mail daily, or ask the post office hold your mail.
  • Leave one or more interior lights on and perhaps have a radio playing. Purchase timers to turn your lights on and off during your absence.
  • Purchase exterior lighting with photocell activation which enables the “dusk to dawn” feature to ensure lights are in use at the appropriate time of day. Additional lighting with motion sensors is another smart choice.
  • Never leave keys under flower pots or doormats, over the doorway or in other obvious places.
  • Inform a trustworthy neighbor of your absence so they can be alert for suspicious activity. Give them a key so they can periodically visit your home, even varying the positions of your shades and blinds.
  • Do not publicize your plans to leave. Whether you are involved in online social networking or part of a community social group, keep your trip private and wait to share your experience until you return.
  • Advertisements for house sitters MAY be a ploy to learn your travel plans. If choosing a house sitter, be cautious and consider hiring a licensed and bonded house sitting company and check their references.
  • If it’s in your budget, install a monitored home security system that can notify you if something goes wrong. Register your alarm system for free with the Sheriff’s Office as required by county ordinance.

Even if you do not have an alarm system, residents can register their residence with the Sheriff’s Office to allow authorities to access your emergency contact information if it is needed in your absence.

Protect Yourself While Shopping

Avoid shopping alone. Try to shop with a friend or relative.

  • Park your vehicle in a well-lighted area. Put radar detectors and cellular telephones out of sight.
  • Know your surroundings. Keep an eye on the people in front of as well as behind you.
  • Carry your purse close to your body. Don’t swing it loosely. Don’t flash large amounts of cash.
  • Walk with confidence. Avoid talking to strangers.
  • Approach your vehicle with your keys already in your hand. Try not to carry too many packages. Place all packages out of sight in your vehicle, preferably in the trunk.
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your windows shut.

If you see anything suspicious or if something just doesn’t feel right, leave immediately and contact security or the Sheriff’s Office.

Protect Yourself When Walking at Night

  • Avoid walking or running alone at night. Instead go walking or jogging with a friend.
  • Don’t use headphones while walking, driving or jogging.
  • Always walk in well-lighted areas.
  • Avoid the use of short cuts.
  • After dark, keep away from large bushes or doorways where someone could be lurking.
  • Always stay near the curb.

If someone in a vehicle stops and asks for directions, answer from a distance. Do not approach the vehicle.

If followed, go immediately to an area with lights and people. If needed, turn around and walk in the opposite direction; your follower will also have to reverse directions.