New York City Police Department

Crime Prevention Weekly Tips - December 2012

New Year's Eve

Think you are safe from DUI? Think again! Drunk driving facts show that anyone, at any time, can be a victim. Here are some little-known drunk driving facts according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration:
  • One person is killed every half-hour due to drunk driving
  • Each year approximately 16,000 are killed in alcohol related crashes
  • Alcohol is a factor in almost half of all traffic fatalities
  • Over 40% of fatal automobile accidents are alcohol-related
  • Approximately 30% of Americans will be in an accident involving alcohol
  • According to estimates, someone is injured in an alcohol-related accident every two minutes
  • Accidents involving alcohol are more likely to occur at night... about five times more likely
  • About two-thirds of DUI convictions are for first time offenders
  • More than one-third of all fatal traffic accidents involve at least one person with a BAC over 0.08%

Do you still think you can dodge the drunk driving bullet? Drunk driving facts do not lie. Avoid becoming a statistic - take the keys, take a cab and take a stand against drunk driving. Remember, Drive sober, or get pulled over!

 

Telemarketing Scams

Many legitimate companies sell their products or services through telemarketing and charities also use telemarketing techniques - however, unfortunately fraudulent telemarketers scam people every day. Here are some tips to help you avoid these scammers:

-Know who you're dealing with. If the company or charity is unfamiliar, check it out with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau.

-Be aware that "no complaint" is no guarantee. Fraudulent operators open and close quickly, so the fact that no one has made a complaint yet doesn't mean that the company or charity is legitimate. You still need to look for other danger signs of fraud.

- Don't believe promises of easy money. If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it's probably a scam. One should always remember, that an offer that sounds too good to be true, probably is.

 

- Think twice before entering contests operated by unfamiliar companies. Fraudulent marketers sometimes use contest entry forms to identify potential victims.

 

- Never pay to play. It's illegal for a company to require you to buy something or pay a fee in order to win or claim a prize. Buying something doesn't improve your chances of winning.

 

- Resist pressure. Legitimate companies will be happy to send you detailed information and give you time to make a decision. It is probably a scam if the marketer demands that you act immediately or will not take "No" for an answer.

- Guard your personal information. Only provide your credit card or bank account number when you are actually paying for something. Do not give your social security number to a telemarketer. Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to scams that take advantage of people who live alone. Seniors need to be wary when dealing with salespersons, particularly over the phone.

 

Homeowners

While NYC is the most populous city in the United States according to the 2010 census, not everyone lives in apartments. Over 50% of the housing units in NYC are not in multi-unit structures. It is important to emphasize some key burglary prevention tips for our outer boro residents -Look around your home. Review your landscape and lighting, you do not want to create an opportunity for a burglar to gain entry thru an unlit or hidden area

 

- Look at your home from the curb - can you see any weaknesses? Sometimes if you think like a criminal you will see things you would not have normally noticed

 

- Garages (both attached and unattached) should be locked at all times. Detached garages have a variety of tools (and ladders) that can be used for entry and attached garages provide a burglar a hideaway to work

 

- If you are going away use a timer for your lights to give the appearance you are home. Be sure to stop deliveries of papers and have a neighbor check your mail and packages. Ensure someone cares for your yard - uncut grass and built up papers are a sure sign the home is empty

 

- If you have an alarm system - USE IT! Unfortunately most homeowners become lax and do not turn the system on. It does you no good if it is not in use

 

- Lock your windows - not every burglar uses the door, and unlocked or open windows make for easy entry

 

Out of sight, out of mind - keep blinds closed, or valuables out of sight from the windows. You don't want to make your home a showcase for burglars!"

 

Holiday Shopping Safety Tips...

As the holiday season gets in to full swing there are some who will look to take advantage of the season. Before venturing out to the stores please read our tips to help ensure your holiday shopping experience is a fun and safe one!

If visiting multiple stores, store your bags in the trunk of your car. If you must store them in the passenger compartment, make every effort to keep them out of sight.

Be aware of loiterers near your vehicle. If you have any question, return to the store and ask to be escorted.
Park your vehicle in a well-lit area that is well traveled by fellow-shoppers.

Consider using a credit card and not a debit card when you shop online. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if your credit card is used fraudulently. Just carry the amount of cash you expect to use when out shopping, thieves are on the look-out for people holding large amounts of money. 

Unfortunately, Holidays are also high season for Scam Artists, Confidence Artists. A confidence trick is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their confidence by exploiting characteristics of the human psyche.  Consumers are typically in a generous mood, and often distracted.  Be weary of strangers approaching you asking for something that may ordinarily raise suspicions. A favorite holiday scam involves someone approaching you in a parking lot with a gas can looking to "borrow" some money for gas. Security is better equipped to handle stranded motorists.

Cut up product boxes in to small pieces that fit in to trash or recycling bins. There is no need to advertise all the cool gifts that are now in your home to everyone that passes.