Crime Prevention Tips
Report any suspicious persons, vehicles, or activities immediately to the Fletcher Police Department by calling 9-1-1. Call 9-1-1 first before calling others, such as supervisors or business owners so the police can be on their way. Try to provide as detailed a description as possible, including license plate numbers. Do not risk your safety in order to gain the information.
Make sure your business windows are free from large posters and advertisements that could block an officer’s view of the cash register area. A suspect is less likely to commit a crime that can be easily detected.
Welcome customers into your store and make eye contact with them. If a suspect is planning on committing a crime, they may be less likely to do so if they feel the store employee has already paid attention to their appearance.
Insure video security systems and alarm systems are operating properly. Have cameras focused on the entry/exit doors so that faces can be seen.
Breaking and Entering
Lock all outside doors and windows before leaving your home for the day or even for a short period of time. Entering an unlocked home takes little effort. It also causes much less noise than breaking a window or forcing open a door. An unlocked door provides a criminal a much less chance of being detected.
Leave lights on when you go out for any length of time to make it appear that someone is home or purchase a low cost automatic lamp timer.
Always secure and lock your inner and exterior garage doors.
Do not allow delivery of mail, newspapers, or flyers to build up while you are away. This is a sign that no one is home. Have the post office hold your mail or make arrangements with a trusted friend or family member to pick up your mail regularly.
Install exterior motion sensor lights around your property. Burglars like the cover of darkness.
Keep shrubs and trees cut back around your residence to minimize or eliminate cover a burglar could use to break in. Again, they prefer dark and out of sight locations.
Consider engraving items of value with your initials. Marked items are harder for a burglar to dispose of and easier for the police to recover.
Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of items, value, and serial numbers if applicable.
Consider installing a burglar alarm.
Watch for suspicious persons and vehicles that do not belong in your area. You know your neighborhood better that others. If it looks suspicious, it probably is, call 9-1-1.
Always lock your vehicle and leave the windows up. This includes while parked at a residence. Vehicle break-ins are very common on the victim’s own driveway.
Never leave valuables in plain sight. Remove your purses, wallets, I-Pads, laptops, cell phones and other electronic devices, and secure them. Many criminals commit crimes of opportunity. When no valuables are in sight, a would-be thief often moves on not desiring to take the risk of getting caught for the unknown chance that valuables may be present.
When travelling to local sporting events, parks, stores, and fitness centers, secure valuables PRIOR to arriving, thus negating the possibility that a thief is watching for valuables to be hidden.
Note any persons or vehicles that may seem suspicious (i.e., vehicle occupied for an unusual amount of time, vehicles occupied by more than one person, or people looking into vehicles) and report it to the police by calling 9-1-1. If possible, note the license plate number of any vehicle you are reporting.
Identity theft and financial crimes
The number one rule to avoid financial scams is this: IF IT SEEMS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT PROBABY IS!
Never accept checks or money orders from people or businesses you’re unfamiliar with. They will expect you to cash and return a portion of the payment to them, with you keeping the remaining balance. Sounds good doesn’t it. Maybe too good to be true? It is! After your money is gone, the check will end up being fake. You will lose and the criminal will win.
Avoid work at home scams where you are offered easy money (too good to be true?) to accept parcels and reship them to other locations, often to foreign addresses. The parcels will be full of fraudulently purchased items and the paycheck for your services will be fake as well.
Do not respond to emails or other messages that ask for personal information even it appears to come from someone you know and trust. Hang up and call that person directly by means known to you (their personal phone number) to verify they did in fact make the request of you. Often time’s scam artists will pretend to be a friend or relative.
When called by a phone solicitor requesting a donation, independently verify the company and company address before sending any money. You may be promised free prizes, vacations, and great deals, but “only if you act now.” If you really think the offer is legitimate, write down the information, think it over, research the organization, and discuss the offer with friends and family you trust. Never allow yourself to be pressured into an immediate decision.
- Never give your credit card, checking account number, or Social Security number to unknown callers and/or companies.
- If the caller says they are calling from a charity, ask that written information be sent to you so that you can make an informed decision. Legitimate charities will have no problems filling this request.
If someone calls reporting to be from the IRS and threatens legal action against you due to unpaid taxes if you do not respond or call them back, hang up and do not call them back. Remember the IRS will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed a bill.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law enforcement agencies to have you arrested for not paying.
- Demand you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
- Require you to use a specific method of payment for your taxes, such as prepaid debit cards, gift cards, or wire transfer.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Keep your financial records, Social Security and Medicare cards in a safe place at home.
Shred papers that have your personal or medical information on them.
Take mail out of your mailbox as soon possible.
Only give out your Social Security number if it’s a must. Ask if you can use other forms of identification.
Use passwords that are not easy to guess, Use numbers and symbols when possible.
Read your bills and account statements for items you did not buy.
Check your credit report at least annually.