Archive for the ‘Crime Tips’ Category

Beware of Package Thieves in Woodhaven

May 11, 2017

We are hearing an increased number of thefts of packages from people’s front porches over the past few months. For the thief, it’s an easy score. He (or she) can follow a delivery truck and wait to see when a package is left on the porch because the intended recipient is not home. They wait until the truck pulls away, run onto the porch, and take your stuff.

Look at how brazen they are – this was sent to us this week from a resident of Woodhaven. This theft took place on 90th Avenue, between 78th & 80th streets and took far less time than it took the rightful owner to order their goods:

package-02

Broad daylight – walking on to your porch – walking away with your goods.

So what can we do about it?

For starters, notify the 102nd Precinct. Fill out a form. Do what you need to do to get this theft on file and notify the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (email: info@woodhaven-nyc.org, Phone 718-296-3735).

Even if it wasn’t an expensive item that got stolen; even if the company that sent it will replace it — report it. This will help the police develop a pattern (time, day, location) in order to try and catch these people.

You can also do something else that’s foolproof, and that’s to make sure you don’t have packages left on your porch.

  1. Signature Required. When placing an order, you can give shipping instructions telling them that you do not want packages left on your porch – that they should be delivered directly into a live person’s hands who has to sign for it.
  2. Track or Schedule Delivery. Ask for a tracking number so you can track your packages to try to be home at the time of delivery, or try to schedule shipment for a day you expect to be home.
  3. Deliver Elsewhere. If you are not home a lot, perhaps you can have your packages delivered to a nearby friend who is home during the day (again, stating that it should be delivered to a live person).  Or, you can even have it delivered to where you work!

It’s better to take these preventative measures than to have your items stolen and have to post pictures of the thieves in hopes they will be caught (like the one below, another one from Woodhaven).

package-01

We hope to hear about some of these thieves being apprehended soon!

 

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NYPD Alert: Catalytic Converter Scam

October 21, 2014

CA

Protect Your Business from Catalytic Converter Thieves

Since 1975, all vehicles produced in the United States must have a catalytic converter as part of the exhaust system. The catalytic converter is an emissions-control device that contains precious metals that act as catalysts. When hot exhaust enters the converter, a chemical reaction occurs that renders toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, into less harmful emissions.

With the price of precious metals skyrocketing, thieves are helping themselves to catalytic converters that contain enough platinum, palladium or rhodium to make it worth the risk to cut it from the underbelly of your vehicle. You might become aware that your catalytic converter has been stolen when your vehicle starts with a gravelly roar.

The Cost of Catalytic Converter Theft

Stolen catalytic converters are sold to scrap yards for around $100 to $150, but the cost to your business could be much bigger. There’s the hassle of a vehicle that can’t be safely driven, as well as the expense of having it towed to a local repair shop and getting the part replaced.

What Do Thieves Look For?

Catalytic converter thefts typically happen to vehicles that are parked for prolonged periods in large lots, such as shopping centers, mass transit commuter lots or company parking lots.

Vehicles that sit higher from the ground, such as trucks, pick-ups and SUVs, are particularly vulnerable to catalytic converter theft because thieves can slide underneath without having to jack up the vehicle to gain access to the converter. With just a few cuts of a battery-powered saw, the catalytic converter can be stolen in less than a minute.

Preventing Catalytic Converter Theft

To combat catalytic converter thefts, a number of states have passed laws tightening the restrictions on metal scrap dealers. In many cases, dealers are required to verify the seller’s identity with a photo ID and maintain complete records of sellers for 5 years.

To prevent catalytic converter theft, use common sense and follow these tips:

  • Always park in well-lighted areas
  • At shopping centers and other similar parking lots, park close to the entrance of the building or near the access road where there’s a lot of traffic
  • If you own or work at a business or factory, park within a fenced area that’s busy during the day and secured at night
  • Engrave your license plate number on the converter to make it traceable
  • Purchase a vehicle security system and make sure it’s set to trigger with just the slightest motion
  • Visit a local muffler shop and have the converter secured to the vehicle’s frame with a hardened steel welded to the frame
  • Examine the different types of catalytic converter theft deterrent systems at your local auto parts store or online

Crime Tip: Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft

August 29, 2014

CA

Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft are growing criminal enterprises and we need to do everything we can to prevent becoming a victim.

The Director of Security for Capital One Bank suggests the following tip to help detect if your credit card(s) are compromised:

When paying with a credit or debit card, never round the final amount up to a round number. For instance, if the bill at the restaurant is $36.75 and you want to leave a $7.00 tip, don’t make the tip $7.25 so that the bill is an even $44.00. Leave the $7.00 tip and let the final amount be $43.75. Do this whenever you pay with a credit card.

When you receive your credit card statement, review the amounts, paying particular attention to any amount that is for an exact dollar figure, $44.00, $50.00, $100.00, etc. These amounts will raise a red flag for you to check further to determine if someone has made unauthorized charge with your credit card.

This is just another way to maintain control of your accounts and identity. Please tell your family and friends and remember to shred all financial documents before throwing them in the trash.

Crime Tip: Another Green Dot Money Pak Card Scam

August 27, 2014

CA
The latest criminal scams involving Green Dot Money Pak Cards has focused on people looking to buy cars off of Craig’s List. Interested buyers are told to send payment using the GREEN DOT MONEY PAK CARD to purchase the advertised vehicle. Buyers and Sellers email back and forth until the buyer sends payment using the GREEN DOT CARD. The buyer never gets the vehicle and never hears from the seller again. Their money is lost.

TIP

If you are asked to make a payment of any kind using a Green Dot Money Pak Card:

  • Disconnect from the person calling, texting or emailing you
    Green Dot Money Pak Cards are being used by criminals to steal your money.

Reporting a Natural Gas Leak

June 19, 2014

CA

The City of New York has begun a public awareness campaign to urge residents to call 911 -and not just their utility – if they smell gas.  Previously, residents who smelled gas were often told to call their gas utility or dial 311, the city’s information hotline.  Now, any calls to 311 reporting gas will be transferred to the 911 emergency line, automatically triggering a fire department response.

If you suspect a natural gas leak:

  • Leave the area immediately and go to a safe location
  • Do not try to locate the source of the leak
  • Do not do anything that could cause a spark and ignite the gas:
  • Do not use electrical devices, such as light switches, telephones, or garage door openers
  • Do not use an open flame, matches or lighters
  • Do not start vehicles parked in the area
  • Do not try to shut off any natural gas valves
  • From a safe location, call 911 to report a gas leak.  Do not call your gas provider.
  • Do not re-enter the building or return to the area until fire department or law enforcement personnel deem the area safe for re-entry

Signs of Natural Gas Leak

  • “Rotten egg” smell
  • Dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area
  • Dirt or dust blowing from a hole in the ground
  • Bubbling in wet or flooded areas
  • Blowing or hissing sound
  • Flames, if a leak has ignited
  • Gas in transmission pipelines does not have odorant added, so signs of a pipeline leak may include all of the above except the rotten egg odor

 

Shopping Alert – Safety Tips

May 15, 2014

CAWhile overall crime is down throughout the city, it’s always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings. Leaving your valuables unattended in a shopping cart is never a good idea. Next time you are using a shopping cart, remember the following safety tips:

  • Be aware of your surrounding at all times.
  • Report anyone who appears to be acting suspiciously.
  • Never leave your purse unattended in a shopping cart.
  • When possible shop without a purse.  Use your pockets to hold cash, debit/credit cards, driver’s license, keys, etc.
  • If you must shop with a purse, consider securing it using cart’s child safety straps.
  • You may also want to carry your own clamp in your purse, such as a Carabineer, to hook it directly to the shopping cart. It only takes a second to secure and is worth the effort.

911 Emergency Calls

May 13, 2014

CA

Police operators are trained to handle a variety of calls and emergencies. Although they are assisted by some technology, there are essential things the public can do when calling 911:

1. GIVE AN ADDRESS – The location of the emergency is the first and most important thing operators need.  Give the operator the address as specifically as possible, and the borough. If you don’t know the exact street address, providing the street name, nearby cross streets and landmark or highways can go a long way in helping speed help to where it is needed. If you don’t know where you are and are able to, visually scan and describe your surroundings.

2. ANSWER QUESTIONS – Call takers and dispatchers will ask you for more information, so they can properly notify responding officers and necessary authorities, or in some cases provide you with potentially life-saving instructions – for example; how to administer CPR. You may be asked to repeat some information to EMS or Fire Department personnel. It doesn’t delay help that is already on the way.

3. REMAIN CALM – Try to remain calm and provide as much detailed information as possible. The calmer you are, the clearer you can be, the better operators and responders can hear and help you.

4. DESCRIBE THE EMERGENCY – Are your or is someone else hurt? How? Whether you need medical attention, police response, or other emergency assistance, explaining the nature and severity of injuries can be critical – is the person conscious? Choking? Bleeding? Describe what is happening to the best of your ability, or ask someone else to, and leave the line open if you cannot speak.

5. DESCRIBE PERPETRATORS – If you have witnessed a crime or been victimized, get to safety first. As soon as you can, call 911. Describe if there is a suspect or suspects, whether weapons are involved; what the perpetrators look like, including race/approximate age/height/weight/clothing type and color; where they are or how they fled, and in what direction. If they were in a vehicle, what make/model or color and size? Even partial descriptions and license plate numbers can be helpful.

6. KEEP PHONES OPEN – Tell operators the number from which you are calling. Use a landline when possible, and if calling from a cell phone, do your best to leave it on.

7. FOREIGN LANGUAGE ASSISTANCE – Foreign language assistance is available, in more than 140 different languages. Callers can be connected to Spanish-speaking operators, or to other live translators via phone.

8. USE 311 – 911 is for emergencies only. Use 311 to request information, or to report conditions or problems that do not pose an immediate harm to you or others.

9. INCREASE AWARENESS – In a safe and supportive manner, train children how and when to call 911. Also, know what precinct you live in – a list of NYPD precincts and police service areas which cover public housing is available online via nyc.gov/nypd – see Precincts for a directory of locations and phone numbers.

10. EVERY CALL MATTERS – All calls are important! including false alarms and prank calls, which take operators away from citizens whose lives may be in danger. Pranks are punishable by law. Avoid accidentally dialing 911 – lock and secure your phone when ifs not in use to prevent’pocket/purse dial.

Steps for Protecting Your Android Phone

April 29, 2014
Steps for Protecting Your Android Phone

CA
1- Use your Google “Gmail” account to activate a security feature on your Android cellphone. Register your Android by going to https://accounts.google.com/ServiceLogin.

If your Android is lost or stolen this service will allow you to log onto your Google “gmail” account from any device that has internet access, you can then direct your Android to do the following:
•    Wipe the device clean of all sensitive data.
•    Send a text message to the device.
•    Have the phone ring, which may assist in locating the phone.

2- Download and activate one of the free “Find My Phone” applications. These free security applications are located under the Google Play symbol.
3- Upon accessing the “app” area, type-in “find my phone” into the search box and you be provided with numerous free downloadable security apps.  Select a “find my phone” app and follow the simple steps to setting up this service.

4 – If your Android is lost or stolen this service will allow you to enable a tracking feature that can assist the police in recovering the phone.
Register with the NYPD “Operation ID” program at your location Police Precinct. Ask for the Precinct, Crime Prevention Officer.

Please share this information with Family, Friends and Neighbors.

Mystery Shopper Scam

January 15, 2014

CAHow does the crime take place?

A potential victim is sent a solicitation via mail, text or email asking the consumer to evaluate their retail experience, products and services at stores.  After responding to the ad, the consumer receives an “employment packet” containing a training assignment, a list of products to purchase at various stores and a realistic looking check often for $2,000 to $4,000.

256The “training assignment” is for the consumer to deposit the check into the consumer’s bank account, purchase the items on the Shopping List and then use a wire transfer service to send the balance of the check’s proceeds, after the consumer  finishes shopping, to an address outside of the US, often in Canada.  The check that the consumer deposited in their account is counterfeit, a fact unbeknownst to the consumer. The balance of money sent to the fraudster is real and the consumer is now out that money and is liable for any and all penalties associated with the bounced check.

Tips

Should you receive an email soliciting you to become a “Secret Shopper:”

  • Don’t open or respond to unsolicited e-mails asking you to become a mystery or secret shopper.
  • Never deposit a check you receive in the mail from a “mystery shopping” company.  No legitimate business will pay in advance and ask you to send a portion of the money back.
  • If you have posted your resume to an online job site, verify with the site any job solicitations you receive.
  • Don’t click on or respond to online ads or Web sites offering free gift cards.

Remember, if it sounds too good to believe, it is!

 

 

Daylight Saving Time Ends, Check Smoke, CO Alarm Batteries

November 8, 2013
CA

Each year 3000 people die in residential fires across the country. In nearly 90% of the cases the residences either did not have a smoke detector installed or the smoke detector was not working properly.

 

Why should I have a working smoke alarm?A properly installed and maintained smoke alarm is the only thing in your home that can alert you and your family to a fire 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whether you’re awake or asleep, a working smoke alarm is constantly on alert, scanning the air for fire and smoke.

 

According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. A working smoke alarm significantly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire.

Are smoke alarms expensive?

Smoke alarms are not expensive and are worth the lives they can help save. Ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms cost between $6 and $20. Dual sensor smoke alarms cost between $24 and $40.

 

Install smoke alarms in key areas of your home. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. Many fatal fires begin late at night or early in the morning, so the U.S. Fire Administration recommends installing smoke alarms both inside and outside of sleeping areas.

Since smoke and many deadly gases rise, installing your smoke alarms and co detectors at the proper level will provide you with the earliest warning possible. Always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions.