SAFETY TIPS AND CRIME PREVENTION INFORMATION

 

  Halloween Home Security Identity Theft More Information Seatbelts Safer Schools
  Telemarketing Fraud Youth and Alcohol Burglary Prevention      

 

The following information is provided for educational purposes only. The Town of Fairfield and the Fairfield Police Department expressly disclaim any and all liability resulting from the material and any recommendations provided and do not represent that these recommendations will prevent a crime or in the event of such crime limit damage to any person or property.

 

IDENTITY THEFT

More than 400,000 people were victims of identity theft last year, according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. It could affect you or someone you know at any time.

Identity theft occurs when somebody steals your personal information (credit card numbers, social security number, etc) and poses as you, running up charges or emptying your bank accounts.

It could take months or years to learn if you are a victim. Some people don't find out until they apply for a loan and get turned down because of a bad credit report.

Some ways to reduce your chances of becoming a victim of this type of crime are:

  • Do not give out your personal information: Do not give this information over the phone or the computer unless you are sure of who you are talking to and initiated the contact.
  • Destroy unused financial solicitations: Such as credit card application and other financial documents. Tear them up or shred them.
  • Report lost or stolen checks, ATM cards or credit cards immediately.
  • Make sure your mailbox is secure and remove mail as soon as possible.
  • If you do not receive a credit card or other statement one month contact your credit card company or financial institution: Thieves may remove mail from your mailbox or use other methods to obtain your statements.
  • Check your credit report annually: This lets you know of any unauthorized access.

    Click here for a brochure on identity theft

 

 

 

TELEMARKETING FRAUD

It can be hard to resist a phone call from a charity seeking desperately needed funds for flood victims, endangered species, or the homeless. A postcard claiming you have won a prize if you'll just call and send in an "administrative fee." Or an investment offer giving you an "exclusive chance to earn potentially enormous profits.

But you must resist. These are just a few examples of the kinds of fraudulent schemes Americans run across every day. Experts estimate that consumers lose more than $100 billion annually to a broad assortment of frauds, cons and scams. Fraudulent telemarketing and direct mail appeals account for $40 billion of this total.

Alarmingly, the elderly are a major target for con artists, especially phony find raisers and hucksters hawking bogus investment and insurance schemes. Whether they are widowed and lonely, eager to help others or merely intrigued by a "once in a lifetime" opportunity, increasing numbers of older Americans are falling for sophisticated and slick appeals that can wind up costing them thousands of dollars, not to mention untold anguish and stress.

Taking your money is the number one goal of the nations scamming scoundrels. Many concoct their cons just to get a credit card number so they can go on a spending spree financed by Y-O-U. Other will bill you incredible sums for merely calling them to find out more. And still more want a check or cash as soon as possibly - by overnight delivery, by wire or even courier - so they have your money before you have them figured out. 

What consumer soaking schemes are the rage these days? Among the major scams of the 1990s are postcard sweepstakes offers. In a recent pole, 30% of Americans said they had responded to such mailings, sometimes sending hundreds of dollars to "register" for seemingly fabulous prizes or trips. 

False charities are another popular consumer con. Telephone trouble makers claiming to represent everyone from police officers to the disabled take advantage of American's generosity to the tune of billions of dollars every year. Adding to the problem is an array of fraudulent appeals - in newspaper ads, on television and by mail - about business and investment opportunities, vacation homes, and even "miracle cures" for everything from baldness to cancer.

What can you do:

  • If a caller asks for your credit card, bank account or social security number to verify a free vacation, a prize, or gift, say "NO" and hang up.
  • If you are calling a 900 number in response to an advertisement or something you received in the mail, make sure you know all the charges up front.
  • Before you agree to support a charity that calls seeking money, ask for written information bout its finances and programs.

If you feel you've been conned, call the police or Better Business Bureau. Remember: consumer fraud is a crime. And last but not least, remember that an offer that sounds too good to be true, probably is.

 

HOME SECURITY

A small investment of time and money can make your home more secure and can reduce your chances of being a victim of burglary, assault or vandalism.

Get to know your neighbors. Watchful neighbors who look out for you as well as themselves are a front line defense against crime.

Check the Locks

In almost half of all residential burglaries, thieves walk through an unlocked door or crawl through an unlocked window. Check the following:

  • Make sure every external door has a deadbolt.
  • Secure sliding glass doors with commercially available locks or broom handles.
  • Secure double-hung windows by sliding a bolt or nail through a hole drilled at a downward angle in each top corner of the inside sash and partway through the outside sash. Secure basement windows as well.
  • Don't hide keys in mailboxes or under doormats. Give an extra key to  neighbor you trust.
  • If you have moved into a new house or apartment, re-key the locks.

Check the Doors

Locks aren't as effective if they are installed on flimsy doors.

  • Make sure all exterior doors are solid wood or metal
  • Doors should fit tightly in their frames, with hinge pins on the inside.
  • Install a peephole or wide-angle viewers in all entry doors, so you can see who is outside without opening the door. Door chains are not a security device.

Check the Outside

To discourage burglars from selecting your home as their target of opportunity, make sure to:

  • Prune back shrubbery that hides doors and windows. Cut back tree limbs that could help a thief climb into windows.
  • Light porches, entrances, and yards - front and back. Consider times or motion sensors.
  • Keep your yard well maintained. Store ladders and tools inside your locked garage, basement, or storage shed when you're not using them.
  • Clearly display your house number so police and other emergency vehicles can find your home quickly.
  • Help the neighborhood stay in good shape.
  • Put lights and radio on timers to create the illusion that someone is at home when you are away.
  • Update your home inventory, with complete description, serial numbers, photographs or engravings.

What About Alarms?

If you have valuables in your home, or live in an isolated area or a neighborhood vulnerable to break-ins, consider an alarm system.

Before you invest in alarms:

  • Check with several companies and decide on the level of security that fits your needs.
  • Look for an established company and check references before signing a contract.
  • Learn how to use your system properly.

Other Tips:

  • If you come home and find a screen slit or door forced open, don't go in. Call the police.
  • If you hear a noise in the night that sounds like somebody breaking in or moving around, call the police and wait for them to come. If you can leave safely, do so. Otherwise lock yourself in a room, or if the intruder is in the room, pretend to be asleep.
  • Think carefully before buying a firearm for protection. Guns can be stolen and sold to anyone, or captured and used on you or the police. If you do own a gun, lock it up and learn how to use it safely.

 

SEATBELTS

Tips for proper use:
  • Children 12 and under should ride properly restrained in a rear seat.
  • Infants should never ride in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger air bag.
  • Smaller children should ride in a rear seat in child safety seats approved for their age and size.
  • Check your vehicle owner's manual and the instructions provided with your child safety seat for correct use information.
  • Everyone should buckle both lap and shoulder belts where available.
  • Drivers should sit at least 10 inches from the center of the steering wheel to their breastbone for the clearest margin of safety.
  • Have a person trained in child safety seat installation install your child seat. Check with the Fairfield Police Department Crime Prevention Officer for seatbelt installations.

State law requires all front seat passengers and all children under 16 to wear seatbelts. Children under 6 and under 60 pounds must be in a child safety seat.

 

ZERO-TOLERANCE

Any person under 21 years of age that operates a motor vehicle when their blood alcohol is over two-hundredths of one percent can be arrested for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Violators can have their driver license suspended and face criminal penalties.

Facts

  • More than 60% of all teen drinking occurs at parties in the home of a teen.
  • 30% of all teenage drinkers get alcohol from home with their parents' permission.

 

MAKING SCHOOLS SAFER

Creating a safe place where children can learn and grow depends on a partnership among students, parents, teachers, as well as other community institutions.

Some ways you can help:

Students

  • Settle arguments with words, not fists or weapons.
  • Report crimes or suspicious activity to the police, school authorities or parents.
  • Take safe routes to and from school and know good places to seek help.
  • Get involved in your school's anti-violence activities.

Parents

  • Sharpen your parenting skills. Work with your children to build positive strengths.
  • Teach your children how to reduce their risk of being victims of crimes.
  • Know where your kids are, what they are doing, and whom they are with - at all times.
  • Help your children learn non-violent ways to handle frustration, anger & conflict.
  • Become involved in your child's school activities.
  • Work with other parents in your neighborhood.

 

HALLOWEEN SAFETY

Make Sure Your Kids Dress Saferly
  • Check that the costumes are flame retardant so the little ones aren't in danger near burning jack-o-lanterns and other fire hazards.
  • Keep costumes short to prevent trips and falls.
  • Try make-up instead of a mask. Masks can be hot and uncomfortable and they can obstruct a child's vision.
  • Make sure kids wear light5 colors or put reflective tape on their costumes.
  • Trick-or-treaters always should be in groups. Parents should accompany younger children.

Make Trick or Treating Trouble Free

  • Make sure older kids trick-or-treat with friends. Tell them to stop only at familiar homes where the outside lights are on.
  • Try to get your kids to trick or treat while it is still light out. If it's dark, make sure someone has a flashlight and pick well-lighted streets.
  • Make sure kids know not to enter strange houses or strangers' cars.

Treats

  • Kids need to know not to eat their treats until they get home.
  • Check out all treats at home in a well-lighted place.
  • Eat only unopened candies and other treats that are in original wrappers. Inspect fruit and homemade goodies for anything suspicious.

Consider This:

Parents and kids can avoid trick-or-treating troubles entirely by organizing a Halloween costume party with treats, games, contests, music, scary stories, and much more.

 

BURGLARY PREVENTION INFORMATION

Facts About Residential Burglary:
  • It is a crime of opportunity
  • Most occur during daylight hours
  • Highly skilled burglars are few and far between
  • Chances of becoming victimized by a burglar can be greatly reduced if crime prevention techniques are implemented
  • Burglars do not like to make noise or spend a lot of time in the home, or confront homeowners
  • Most burglars shy away from homes with burglar alarms and do not like to confront dogs
  • Burglary is one of the easiest crimes both to commit and to prevent, but one of the most difficult to solve
  • 98% of burglars go to the bedroom
  • Police alone can't control residential burglaries

Facts About Guns For Protection in the Home:

  • Most people who have guns in their homes for protection do not practice with them and are not qualified with their use
  • Many tragic accidents with guns occur in homes where guns are accessible. Domestic (family arguments), children playing with guns, shooting family members by mistake.
  • Most guns kept in the home are stored in the bedroom. Night tables, dresser drawers and under the matress. all places where burglars look.
  • People who have guns in their homes are providing the potential to arm burglars.

Tips On How To Avoid Being Victimized By A Burglar:

  • Use good locks
  • Keep doors and windows locked
  • Don't hide an extra key outside the home
  • Report broken street lights in your neighborhood
  • Report strangers loitering, people asking vague questions, suspicious vehicles
  • Keep garage door closed
  • Use exterior lighting effectively at night only
  • o not store ladders outside unless secured by a lock
  • Keep shrubs trimmed and eliminate all hiding places for the burglar
  • Consider an alarm system. Contact the Fairfield Police department Crime Prevention Unit for information on the bestb types of system and how to select an alarm company
  • Use timers on interior lighting in rooms that don't allow complete viewing from the outside.
  • Consider joining a Neighborhood Watch Program.

Other Recommendations:

  • Keep an inventory and description of your possessions for insurance purposes and faster recovery (record the serial numbers off all electronic equipment)
  • Take color photos and complete description of furs, jewelry, art and other items
  • Install large street numbers on your home (at least 6 inches high)

Tips For Vacationers:

  • Stop all deliveries or have a friend pick up deliveries
  • Do not discuss your vacation plans in public before you leave
  • Use timers
  • Don't close the blinds
  • Have lawn mowed and sidewalks shoveled
  • Move valuables away from windows
  • Arrange to have a friend check your home

What To Do If You Think Your Home Has Been Entered:

  • Do not enter
  • Call the police (from outside the home)
  • Leave everything exactly as you find it so that evidence will not be destroyed

 


MORE INFORMATION

For more information on any of the above topics, or any other topics related to crime or law enforcement, you can contact us at 203-254-4808.

The Town of Fairfield and the Fairfield Police Department expressly disclaim any and all liability resulting from this material and any recommendations herein, and do not represent that these recommendations will prevent a crime or in the event of such crime limit damage to any person or property.