Articles

Crime Prevention

The Fairfield Police Department practices crime prevention through community policing. It is a goal of working in partnership with the community to not only apprehend law violators but to resolve and prevent problems relating to crime and neighborhood safety. Residents are encouraged to get to know the officers working their areas and let them know of any concerns or problems. Residents with concerns regarding problems in their neighborhood can contact the Fairfield Police Department at 203-254-4800.


Identity Theft Prevention  |  Preventing Thefts from Vehicles  |  Preventing a Robbery  |  Telemarketing Fraud  |  Home Security Tips  |  National Programs  |  Holiday Safety Tips



Preventing Thefts from Vehicles

Never leave anything of value in plain sight. Conceal all navigation aids (GPS), cellular phones, audio systems, laptop computers, packages, sports equipment, cameras, purses, wallets, firearms, hand tools, sunglasses, etc. from the inside of your vehicle.

Take anything you can’t afford to lose with you, e.g., a wallet or laptop computer. Put other valuables in the trunk before you park, never after you park. Thieves may be watching.

When shopping, ask the store to hold all your purchases until you are finished there so you can carry everything to your vehicle in one trip. If you need to make more than one trip to load your trunk, move your vehicle to a different area of the parking lot after each trip.

Make sure that any valuables that were locked in the glove box or trunk were not taken or tampered with when you return to your vehicle. Thieves are able to get into some vehicles without leaving any visible signs of a break-in.

If your radio system has a removable face, take it with you even if you are only going to be gone for a few minutes.

Lock truck-bed toolboxes.
 

Install locking devices on batteries, wheels, audio equipment, spare tires, gas tanks, etc.                                                                   

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Tips for Preventing Robbery

Every business owner, manager and employee plays a part in making businesses safe. Here are some things you can do to help prevent robbery:

  1. Have at least two employees open and close the business.
  2. Do not release personal information to strangers.
  3. Keep purses and personal valuables locked in desks or lockers.
  4. Install a robbery alarm (panic/hold-up button).
  5. Place a surveillance camera behind the cash register facing the front counter. Ensure the system records and know how to retrieve the recordings in the event police need quick access to the system.
  6. Vary times and routes of travel for bank deposits.
  7. Don't use marked "moneybags" that make it obvious to would-be robbers you are carrying money for deposit.
  8. Keep a low balance in the cash register.
  9. Place excess money in a safe or deposit it as soon as possible.
  10. Cooperate with the robber for your own safety and the safety of others. Comply with a robber's demands. Remain calm and think clearly. Make mental notes of the robber's physical description, clothing and other observations which may important to law enforcement officers.
  11. If you have a silent alarm and can reach it without being noticed, use it. Otherwise, wait until the robber leaves.
  12. Be careful, most robbers are just as nervous as you are.
  13. Keep your business neat and clean. A tidy, orderly place of business is inviting to customers, but not to robbers. Dressing neatly also sends the right message.
  14. Stay alert! Know who is in your business and where they are. Watch for people who hang around without buying anything. Also, be aware of suspicious activity outside your place of business. Write down license numbers of suspicious vehicles if visible from the inside of your business.
  15. Make sure the sales counter can be seen clearly. Don't put up advertisements, flyers, displays, signs, posters or other items on windows or doors that might obstruct the view of the register from inside or outside your business. The police cruising by your store need to see in.
  16. Try to greet customers as they enter your business. Look them in the eye, and ask them if they need help. Your attention can discourage a robber.
  17. Keep your business well-lit, inside and outside. Employees should report any burned-out lights to the business owner or manager. Keep trees and bushes trimmed, so they don't block any outdoor lights.
  18. Encourage the police to stop by your business.
  19. Learn the names of the officers who patrol your business.
  20. Use care after dark. Be cautious when cleaning the parking lot or taking out the trash at night. Make sure another employee inside the business keeps you within eye contact while you are involved in work details outside of your building.
  21. If you see something suspicious, call the police. Never try to handle it yourself. It could cost you your life.
  22. Handle cash carefully. Avoid making your business a tempting target for robbers. Keep the amount of cash in registers low. Drop all large bills right away. If a customer tries to pay with a large bill, politely ask if he or she has a smaller one. Explain that you keep very little cash on hand.
  23. Use only one register at night. Leave other registers empty and open. Tilt the register drawer to show there is no money in it.
  24. Leave blinds and drapes partially open during closing hours.
  25. Make sure important signs stay posted. For example, the front door should bear signs that say, "Clerk Cannot Open the Time Lock Safe."
  26. If your business is robbed put your safety first. Your personal safety is more important than money or merchandise.
  27. Don't talk except to answer the robber's questions.
  28. Don't stare directly at the robber.
  29. Prevent surprises keep your hands in sight at all times.
  30. Don't make any sudden moves.
  31. Tell the robber if someone is coming out of the back room or vault or working in another area of your business.
  32. Don't chase or follow the robber out of your place of business.

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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.

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 fundraisers or 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 scamming. 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. 

Among one of the major scams 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 about 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.

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Home Security Tips

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.

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National programs include:

Celebrate Safe Communities (CSC) is crime prevention done the right way – local people working with local law enforcement to address local issues. CSC spotlights communities’ crime prevention efforts, enhances public awareness of vital crime prevention and safety messages, and recruits year-round support for ongoing prevention activities that help people keep neighborhoods safe from crime and prepared for any emergency.

The Circle of Respect is the National Crime Prevention Council’s (NCPC) latest and most comprehensive campaign to protect youth from bullying and cyberbullying. The campaign seeks to change the commonly held belief that bullying is a rite of passage, and teaches instead that such behavior is unacceptable through a positive, pro-social message that encourages respect and consideration for others. To succeed in its mission, the Circle of Respect will feature an education campaign, outreach materials including publications and public service advertising, and partnership efforts to reach a national audience.

The Teens, Crime, and the Community (TCC) initiative has motivated more than one million young people to create safer schools and neighborhoods. TCC's Community Works program helps teens understand how crime affects them and their families, friends, and communities, and it involves them in crime prevention projects to help make their communities safer and more vital.

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) theories contend that law enforcement officers, architects, city planners, landscape and interior designers, and resident volunteers can create a climate of safety in a community right from the start. CPTED’s goal is to prevent crime by designing a physical environment that positively influences human behavior. The theory is based on four principles: natural access control, natural surveillance, territoriality, and maintenance. NCPC’s course helps participants put the theories behind CPTED into action in their communities by designing a hands-on, interactive, two- or three-day basic or advanced training specifically tailored to their community’s needs.

Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun and gang crime in America by networking existing local programs that target gun and gun crime and providing these programs with additional tools necessary to be successful. NCPC aids this effort by providing training and technical assistance during the Anti-gang Training Conferences and training directly to sites.

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Holiday Safety Tips:

The holiday season is always a special time of year. It is also a time when busy people become vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime. We can never be too careful, too prepared or too aware. Please share this information with family, friends and neighbors. 


The Fairfield Police Department wishes you a safe, happy and peaceful holiday season. 

DRIVING

• Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car. Set your alarm or use an anti-theft device.
• If you must shop at night, park in a well-lighted area.
• Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows.
• Park as close as you can to your destination and take notice of where you parked.
• Never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running or with children inside.
• Do not leave packages or valuables inside your car where they can be seen form the outside. This creates a temptation for thieves. If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk or put it out of sight.
• Be sure to locate your keys prior to going to your car.
• Keep a secure hold on your purse, handbag and parcels. Do not put them down or on top of the car in order to open the door.
• When approaching or leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings.
• Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area.
• Ask mall or store security for an escort before leaving your shopping location.

AUTOMATED TELLER MACHINE (ATM)

• If you must use an ATM, choose one that is located inside a store, mall, or well-lighted location. Withdraw only the amount of cash you need.
• Protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keypad from anyone who is standing near you.
• Do not throw your ATM receipt away at the ATM location.

SHOPPING

• Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.
• Dress casually and comfortably.
• Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
• Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible.
• Always carry your Driver License or Identification Card along with necessary cash, checks and/or a credit card you expect to use.
• Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings.
• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
• Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.
• Keep cash in your front pocket.
• Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.
• Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
• Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas, transportation terminals, bus stops, on buses and other rapid transit.
• Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
• Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, "con-artists" may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.

CHILDREN

• If possible, leave small children at home with a trusted babysitter.
• Teach your child to go to a store clerk and ask for help in case your child is separated from you.
• Teach children to stay close to you at all times while shopping.
• Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom.
• Children should never be allowed to go to the car alone and they should never be left alone in the car.
• Teach children their full name, address and telephone number to give to police officers or mall security. Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.

AT HOME

• Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave the house, even for a few minutes.
• When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail.
• Indoor and outdoor lights should be on an automatic timer.
• Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied.
• Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home.
• When setting up a Christmas tree or other holiday display, make sure doors and passageways are clear inside your home.
• Be sure your Christmas tree is mounted on a sturdy base so children, elderly persons or family pets cannot pull it over on themselves.
• If you use lights on your Christmas tree ensure the wiring is not damaged or frayed. Frayed or damaged wiring can cause a fire.
• If using an artificial tree, be sure its label reads “Fire Resistant.” While this doesn’t mean it can’t catch fire, it does mean it should resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
• If using a live tree, be sure it is fresh (it isn’t already losing needles) and has a new, clean cut on the bottom of the trunk before putting it up.
• Turn off the lights when you go to bed or aren’t home.
• Place your Christmas tree in water or wet sand to keep it green.
• Never place wrapping paper in your fireplace.

STRANGERS AT YOUR DOOR

• Be aware that criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts.
• It is not uncommon for criminals to take advantage of the generosity of people during the holiday season by soliciting donations door-to-door for charitable causes although no charity is involved.
• Ask for their identification, and find out how the donated funds will be used. If you are not satisfied, do not donate.
• Donate to a recognized charitable organization.

HOSTING A PARTY

• Have non-alcoholic beverages available for party guests.
• Find alternative transportation for intoxicated guests.
• Arrange for an official designated driver for your party who will not drink at all.

ATTENDING A PARTY

• Have something to eat before consuming alcoholic beverages.
• Eat high protein foods that will stay in your stomach longer and slow the absorption of alcohol into your system.
• Remember only time will eliminate the alcohol from your body.
• Know your safe limit.
• Never drink and drive.

OTHER HELPFUL TIPS

• To deter property-related crime and to assist the Fairfield Police Department in their efforts to find and return stolen or lost property to its rightful owner. Remember the following:
• Mark gifts with your Driver License or Identification Card number (ex. CT 123 456 789). (Do not use your Social Security Number. For items that cannot be marked with an engraver, photograph or videotape the items.)
• Keep a record of the Serial Numbers on valuable items.


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The above 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.