Crime Prevention

October is Crime Prevention Month 

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 203-254-4808.

 


 

PREVENTING THEFTS FROM VEHICLES

Never leave anything of value in plain sight. Conceal all navigation aids, 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.

In 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.

Take the removable face of your CD player with you even if you are 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.

Make several slices through your license plate registration sticker after it has been placed on the plate. If the sticker is stolen you can get a replacement from your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office.                                                                     


 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.
  5. Place a surveillance camera behind the cash register facing the front counter. Replace videotapes regularly.
  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 and other observations 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.

 


 

 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.

 


 

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.

 


 

Local Programs:

Burglary Prevention - Making your home safer from crime doesn't always mean having to install expensive alarms-effective home security starts with properly locked doors and windows and visible, well-lighted entryways. (See Burglay page)

Thefts from Vehicles - Locking your doors and not leaving personal property visible to people walking by.

Scams most commonly reported to police - Phone Scams, Lottery, Money Grams, Home Improvement, Internet Auctions, Debt Elimination, Rental Ads, Medicare and the well known Grandparents scam.

 

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.