Safety Tips and Information

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Hosting a Large Gathering at Your Home

 

  • Talk to your neighbors and let them know you are planning a social gathering. Ask them to call you if they have any problems.
  • If there will be underage guests in attendance, firmly impress upon them there will be no drinking of alcoholic beverages inside or outside your home.
  • Plan to go outside occasionally to make sure noise and/or music is not too loud and no undesirable activity is taking place.
  • If you must leave your gathering for a short time, place someone in charge during your absence.
  • Know your guests.
  • Don't leave valuables lying around.
  • Remind guests to be mindful of your neighbors as they leave the party.
  • Contact the Newark Police Department via our non-emergency phone line at (510) 578-4237 if you encounter any problems during your gathering.

The Reality of Gangs

Gangs are neither just a big city nor inner city problem, nor are they a problem of a particular race or culture. Gangs cross all ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, gender, and geographic boundaries. They bring fear and violence to neighborhoods, traffic in drugs, destroy property, involve youth in crime, and drive out businesses. Gangs pull teens away from school and home into a life of violence. One of the scariest aspects of gang violence is that it is often indiscriminate and unpredictable. Gang members have been known to kick, punch, hit, or even kill their victims. People get hurt if they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. If gangs or gang members are in your school or neighborhood, you know it.

Start Showing Gangs You Have Zero Tolerance for Their Activities:

  • If you are threatened by gang members, don’t overact. Stay cool and try not to act scared.
  • Ignore their threats and tell them you have no argument with them.
  • If threats from gangs continue, tell your parents, the police, or school officials.
  • Don’t be a “wannabe” by dressing or acting like you want to be in a gang.
  • Hang out with kids who are not involved and don’t want to be in a gang..
  • Get involved in activities that are not gang-related, such as organized sports, summer jobs, community organizations, volunteer groups, faith groups, or arts and drama groups.
      Take Action:
    • Start a blight clean-up program in your community.
    • Start a youth group or club whose purpose is to improve the neighborhood or school.

General Safety Guidelines

  • Do not give out personal information over the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or know with whom you are dealing.
  • Shred all documents including pre-approved credit offers, insurance forms, bank checks and statements you are discarding, and other financial information.
  • Once you make a purchase with a credit card, be sure to shred the receipt or store it safely at home.
  • Always use the post office to mail out bills and correspondence related to your accounts so they are not sitting out in a street side mailbox.
  • Minimize the identification information and the number of cards you carry. While out shopping, take only what you will actually need.
  • Do not put your Social Security number on your checks or credit receipts. If a business requests your Social Security number, give an alternate number.
  • Be careful when using ATM machines as someone may look over your shoulder to get your PIN number.
  • Make a list of all of your credit card account and bank account numbers, with their respective customer service phone numbers, and keep it in a safe place.
  • If you request a new credit card and it does not arrive in an appropriate period of time or your current bills do not come when they should, call and make sure someone didn't file a change of address for you.
  • Cancel all credit cards you have not used in the last six months.
  • Call or write to request that your name be removed from junk mail and telemarketer lists.
  • Correct all mistakes on your credit report in writing. Send a letter "return receipt requested" to the credit-reporting agency identifying the problem items and include a copy of the credit report.

What to Do if You are the Victim of Identity Theft

  • Contact the Fraud Department of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit file.
  • Close the accounts that have been compromised. File a police report and forward a copy to your creditors or others who require proof of the crime.
  • File your complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC maintains a database of identity theft cases used by law enforcement agencies for investigations. Filing a complaint also helps the agency learn more about identity theft and the problems victims are having so that it can better assist you.
  • Protect your computer from Internet intruders – use “firewalls.” Also use anti-virus software and keep it up-to-date.
  • Create hard to guess passwords that cannot be found in any dictionary. Select passwords with at least eight characters and that include a mix of numbers and both uppercase and lowercase letters.
  • Never provide your credit card number on a website unless it is encrypted and secure. Look at the bottom of the screen for a padlock symbol. Do not select to “save” your information on the website for future transactions.
  • Know the companies you are dealing with. Just because they have a certificate on file does not mean they are a reputable company.
  • Update your browser to a 128-bit encryption mode makes your transactions extremely difficult to crack. Visit www.microsoft.com for more information.

For more information click this link:  Identity-Theft

Personal Safety

  • Go with friends or family, not alone.
  • Carry your purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put your wallet in an inside coat pocket. Do not carry credit cards you do not need or large amounts of cash.
  • Use direct deposit for checks.
  • Whether you are a passenger or driver, keep your car doors locked. Be particularly alert in parking lots and garages. Park near an entrance.
  • Sit close to the driver or near the exit while riding the bus, train, or rapid transit.
  • If someone or something makes you uneasy, trust your instincts and leave.
  • Share your itinerary with someone you trust.
  • Park in well-lighted and well-traveled areas.
  • Avoid overloading yourself with packages.
  • Keep keys in your hand when walking to your car or home.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and anyone approaching you or your vehicle.
  • If someone demands your purse or wallet, surrender it immediately – it is not worth your life. If anything is stolen, report it to the police.

Make Your Home Safe and Secure

  • Install good locks on doors and windows and use them! Don’t hide keys in mailboxes, planters, or under doormats. Instead, leave keys with trusted friends.
  • Ask for photo identification from service or delivery people before letting them inside your home.
  • Be sure your street address number is large, clear of obstruction, and well-lighted so emergency personnel can find your home quickly.
  • Consider a home alarm system that provides emergency monitoring for burglary, fire, and medical emergencies.
  • If you are traveling, ask a neighbor to watch your house. If you have an alarm system, use it!.
  • Put timers on different lights throughout the interior and exterior of the house.
  • Have newspapers, mail and deliveries held or picked up by someone you trust.
  • Take a home inventory of your valuables & record serial numbers; engrave property with an ID number. Photograph your items.
  • Do not publicize that you will be out of town for on your answering machine, social media, or to others whom you do not know.
  • Schedule a residential security review with Community Engagement at 510-578-4209.
  • Start a Neighborhood Watch group so you and your neighbors can identify and report suspicious activities.

Watch Out for Con Artists

  • Don’t fall for anything that sounds too good to be true – a free vacation, sweepstakes prizes, or any type of low-risk high-yield scheme.
  • Never give your credit card, Social Security, or bank account numbers out over the phone or Internet. It is illegal for telemarketers to ask for these numbers to verify a prize or gift.
  • Don’t let anyone rush you into signing anything – insurance policies, sales agreement, or a contract. Read it carefully and have someone you trust check it over.
  • Beware of individuals claiming to represent companies, consumer organizations, or government agencies that offer to recover lost money from fraudulent telemarketers for a fee.
  • If you are suspicious, check it out with the police department (N.P.D. non-emergency (510) 578-4237), the Better Business Bureau, or local consumer protection office.

Brought to you by the National Crime Prevention Council http://www.ncpc.org

Stay Secure in Your Vehicle

  • If your car malfunctions on a major thoroughfare, lock your doors, turn on the hazard lights and wait for the police to arrive. If someone offers help, have him or her call the police.
  • If you become lost, find a well-lit public area where there are people around or drive to a gas station or store if you need information or directions.
  • Park in well-lit, open areas as close to your destination as possible.

Prevent Vehicle Theft and Break-ins

  • Remove your keys from the ignition after every use. Never leave the vehicle unattended with the key in the ignition or the engine running.
  • Make sure all windows are closed and your doors are locked before leaving your vehicle. Never leave any type of property in plain view.
  • Do not store luggage or valuables in your vehicle. If you must, make sure they are not visible when you leave the car. Place them in the trunk before arriving at your destination.
  • If you must leave your key with a parking attendant, leave only your vehicle's ignition key. Do not leave anything attached to it with your name and address.
  • Do not park your vehicle in an isolated area where there are few passers-by. Always park in secured lots that are well lit, near high traffic areas, and as close to your destination as possible.

Prevent Pick-Pocketing

  • Keep the minimum in your wallet: carry enough cash for expected needs, one credit card and only a few checks. Keep cash separate from identification and credit cards: do not carry your Social Security card or passport.
  • Always stay alert. A person who shows strong, confident body language and makes eye contact with others is likely to discourage pickpockets.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times; be especially wary if someone creates a distraction, such as dropping a newspaper or change nearby.
  • Put your wallet or purse in hard-to-reach spots. When carrying a wallet place in your front pant pocket or inside a suit or jacket pocket, not the back pocket. If carrying a handbag, place the wallet deep inside not in an outer/ or upper sleeved pocket.
  • Never put your backpack on your back, carry it in your hands or by your side. Keep your wallet in the main compartment of the backpack, not in the small outside pocket.
  • Conceal fanny packs or money belts under your clothes and keep them close to your front. Carry your Fast Pass or travel tickets in a separate holder outside your purse or wallet.

Copyright 2008 SF SAFE Inc.

Crime Prevention at Work

  • Keep your purse, wallet, keys or other valuable items with you at all times or locked in a secure location.
  • Check the identity of any strangers who are in the office. Ask whom they are visiting and if you can help them.
  • Always let someone know where you will be. After hours, don't work alone. Create a buddy system for walking to the parking lot or to public transportation.
  • Park in well-lit areas and always lock your car. Have your key ready when approaching your vehicle and check the front and back seats prior to entering.
  • Restrooms - Attackers can hide in stalls and corners. Make sure restrooms are locked and only employees have keys. Be extra cautious when using restrooms that are isolated or poorly lit.
  • Elevators - Don't get into elevators with people who look out of place or behave in a strange or threatening manner. If you find yourself in an elevator with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable, get off as soon as possible.

Crime Prevention for Consumers

Certain types of crime occur more frequently during the holiday shopping season. One such crime, fraud through identity theft is increasing annually. Remember that financial creditors, government agencies, and other entities use many identifiers to verify who we are. More of our personal business is handled via computer networks, according to our identifiers. A thief can charge purchases, and receive benefits in the name of, and at the expense of someone else by obtaining and using just a few of that person's identifiers. Robbers and thieves usually do not act at random, but by opportunity. They take advantage of people not demonstrating proper awareness and exercising safe habits. Examples of Personal Identifiers that Require Protection proper names and nicknames, bank account numbers, California ID number, date of birth, Social Security number, PIN numbers, mother's maiden name, home address, credit card numbers, driver's license number, health care policy numbers, and telephone numbers.

Be aware of suspicious activities * Take action to avoid trouble in advance * Report all crimes to police*

  • Dial -911 for emergencies or crimes in progress

Crime Prevention for Merchants

Holiday season is a busy time for many merchants, as it is for many perpetrators of theft and fraud. Acts of fraud against businesses include credit card and check fraud, and many different scams. In the case of credit card fraud, the perpetrator often uses another person's name and credit card (or credit card number). Sometimes the thief actually commits identity theft, by falsely using the stolen personal identifiers (DOB, Driver's License No., etc.) that you examine to verify their identity. The thieves also use common personal computers to generate counterfeit documents of identity, checks, and credit cards. Both businesses and consumers are victimized by these crimes.

Purchases by Credit and ATM Cards:

While you have the customer's card, do not leave it unattended, or in open view to bystanders. Post this rule at the register, and follow it:
"For purchases by credit, ATM card, or check, we are required to require proof of identity, including verifying that your signature on your check or credit card receipt matches that on your ID and credit card. This rule is for your protection as well as ours. Thank you for your cooperation."
Always request at least one primary photo ID.
Acceptable primary photo IDs include: California driver's license or CA ID card (not temporary, and not out of state) or an employee photo ID card.
Check for alterations.
Notice if the customer is resistant to, or nervous about the verification.
Check the expiration date of all cards.
After the signing and verification process, remember to return the right cards to the right customer.
Require at least one primary photo ID (as listed in left column), and another primary, or secondary photo ID.

Purchases by Check:

  • Acceptable secondary photo ID: Check guarantee card; check the expiration date and maximum amount of coverage, major credit card; check the expiration date and signature on the card. Do NOT record the credit card number.
  • Counterfeit checks are usually drawn on business checks stock, look authentic, and are presented by individuals.
  • Call the issuing bank and verify availability of funds.

Shoplifters:

  • A true shopper examines merchandise for size, color, etc. Shoplifters do not. They keep an eye on employees and others in store.
  • Make visual scans frequently. Notice customers' hands, and make occasional eye contact. Be alert and courteous.

Robbery:

  • Keep the cash register up front and visible to the street.
  • Start a Business Watch in your area to establish teamwork for the mutual safety of each other. Install video surveillance and alarm systems to deter crime, and help apprehend violators.
  • Call -911 when safe to do so should a robbery occur – be a good witness.

Management, Organization, Maintenance:

  • Analyze the property and procedures of your business. Develop crime prevention measures accordingly.
  • Train employees on crime prevention.
  • Run your business in an orderly fashion, recognize, and address unusual occurrences.
  • Keep all areas, inside and out, properly lighted, organized, and clean.
  • Keep an accurate inventory and books.
  • Hire an armored car service for making bank deposits. Deposit frequently.
  • Limit the amount of money onsite. When you dispose of receipts and transaction records, destroy them.
  • Be aware of suspicious activities * Take action to avoid trouble in advance * Report all crimes to police*
    More information at www.sfsafe.org: