Tips For Safekeeping Your Property And Finances

Burglary & Theft

Residential Burglary Tips

  • Illuminate the perimeter of your house and door areas with enough light to see
  • Secure attached garages as you would your dwelling. It is an access point into your home
  • Cut or trim shrubbery so that it does not obstruct viewing from inside or outside
  • Keep fences, gates, and garage doors locked
  • Never leave a house key under a doormat or flower pot
  • Always lock your doors and windows
  • Utilize the HCSO Vacation Watch Program
  • Install an alarm system, video surveillance cameras, and motion lights

Protecting the Inside of your Home

  • Secure valuables in a home safe or lockbox
  • Make sure exterior doors have deadbolt locks
  • Don’t label your personal keys

Commercial Burglary Prevention

  • Check ventilation systems to ensure it cannot be used to gain entry
  • Install an alarm system and video surveillance cameras
  • Reduce how much cash you have on hand after hours
  • Keep your expensive merchandise away from the windows
  • Post warnings in clear view that the business is equipped with an alarm
  • Light up all points of entry
  • Keep doors locked at closing
Call 911 for all emergencies; Call 713-221-6000 for all non-emergency situations

Financial & Crimes

The HCSO Financial Crimes Unit wants to protect you from financial loss.


If you receive a phone call, email, or text message instructing you to purchase a prepaid merchant Gift/Debit Card, Cryptocurrency, Bank Wire Transfer or Money Order to Pay:

  • Jury Duty fines
  • Law enforcement for bail
  • Hospital for emergency treatment of a loved one
  • Ransom
  • Utility company to avoid service interruption
  • Publishers Clearing House to win a prize
Terminate the call, it’s a SCAM!

ATM Skimming

ATM “Skimming” occurs when a criminal attaches a card reading device over the real card reader located either at the lobby entrance door or on the ATM machine. The fraudulent device looks identical to the real device, and is equipped with electronic recorders that will capture the financial information from your card. This data is later used to create “cloned” cards which will be used to withdraw money.

What You Can Do!

  • When entering your PIN, cover the key pad with your other hand to prevent possible hidden cameras from recording your number
  • Immediately report any skimming devices to your financial institution and the HCSO
  • Inspect the ATM, gas pump, or credit card reader before using it

Identity Theft

Identity Theft requires only a few pieces of valid personal information. With them, criminals can apply for and receive credit cards or debit cards in your name. Your credit can be damaged quickly and your efforts to correct these problems can become a nightmare.

What You Can Do!

  • If a credit card you applied for doesn’t arrive in a timely fashion, notify the issuing bank
  • Never carry extra credit cards in your wallet or purse
  • Never provide personal information over the phone, such as social security number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, credit card or bank PIN numbers unless you initiated the call
  • Memorize your Social Security Number, and never carry the card in your wallet

Financial victim contact:

  • Your creditors and bank to change all passwords and PINS
  • Credit bureaus to request a fraud alert/victim impact file
  • Equifax, 1-800-685-1111
  • Experian, 1-888-397-3742
  • Trans-Union, 1-8000-916-8800