Common Sense Crime Prevention #3

Here on the North East coast (New York City) when the weather is nice, everyone wants to partake of it. New York City’s nightlife is always busy, but it especially ramps up during the warmer months. Not only do the law-abiding citizens like the balmy nights out on the town, but so does the criminal element.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t go out and dine with friends, or hang out at a club. But, while you are there please make sure you keep track of your property. If you don’t, it will soon walk away, assisted by a different pair of hands and feet.

Ladies: Before you go out do not to take a large bag. Select a small bag and put a few essentials in it.

If you carry a wallet, do not carry every single credit and debit card that you own. Select one or two that are “good” and leave the rest home. Heaven forbid your wallet gets stolen, you will have a lot less cards to account for, report stolen, and call credit card companies to cancel.

Most clubs require valid identification to enter. What’s the best id to use? A drivers license, period! NEVER EVER EVER carry and use your passport! Why? A United States Passport is a hot commodity on the black market. In a crowded situation like a club or bar, it’s amazingly easy for the bouncer to lose it, or steal it. Now you have a national security issue on your hands because you don’t know who has it.

That’s a horrible thing you just said about the bouncer. . . . .

Yep. Unfortunately some bouncers are not as clean as the pure and driven, snow. Some have criminal pasts which is why they are bouncers in the first place. . . . And you’d be surprised how many bar and restaurant employees are part of the criminal element on the side to supplement their legitimate pay.. . .

A word to the wise. MAKE SURE YOU GET YOUR ID AND OR CREDIT CARD BACK FROM THE BOUNCER OR BARTENDER!

Ladies: Never, EVER leave your bag unattended for any amount of time. That means not to go dance, use the ladies room, or take a puff break (in New York City you must smoke OUTSIDE the bar/restaurant).

This includes leaving your bag with friends, or companions. Often times they get too distracted and caught up with the atmosphere to recall they were supposed to be watching your property, and it gets stolen. Then there is the possibility that your so-called friend(s) may be the culprit. . . . .

Yes, I’ve seen many cases where the BOYFRIEND was the one who stole the woman’s wallet. That speaks volumes doesn’t it?

Ladies: Never put your bag out of your sight. This means hanging it behind your chair, sitting it on a chair next to you, leaving it on the bar, or placing it on the floor. That old saying: “Out of sight, out of mind.” is very true.

I recommend carrying a small purse or bag because it is easy to keep in your lap, or if it has a strap, on your shoulder.

Ladies: Never return to a drink. This means if you order a drink, step away to dance or smoke, then come back. Don’t drink that drink! Why? Because you don’t know who might have dropped something into it. You don’t want to wind up being a case of date rape.

So, you met this guy and his seems to be perfect. Reality check! Honestly, do you really, really expect to meet your dream guy in a bar? Remember the whole concept of a bar is to get drunk and perhaps get a little “candy” on the side. Definitely not the place to find the love of your life.

Back to the guy, there is a distinct possibility that “he’s not all that into you”. I say this, because in New York City (and other cities) there are teams of criminals who specialize in working in bars. Usually one male and one female working together. After all, look at the environment. Most bars are poorly lit, noisy, crowded, and 95 percent of the patrons are sloshed and or high. So none is the wiser. . . . .

They work like this. The male will distract the female, by chatting her up, while the female accomplice goes through and lifts the woman’s wallet (from her unattended purse). If the purse is small enough, she will take it to the ladies room, pick the wallet clean of credit cards, ids, cellphone, and cash and throw the bag and rest of it contents into the trash.
The female might then go outside, on the pretense of taking a smoke break, to hand off her catch to the drop. This is a person who is waiting outside the club, and will take the cards to the nearest all night drug store, or nearest ATM and try to get as much cash as possible, or to purchase as much ill gotten goods as possible. Most times suspect couple will disappear to do their dirty work in another club or bar.

I don’t know how it is in other cities, but in New York City, many of the clubs have surveillance cameras. If you are a victim of such a crime, you must do two things. One immediately report it to the police, then the club will have to hand over their videos to the detectives for further investigation.

Two, report it to your credit card companies and cell phone carrier. Cancel your credit cards and your cellphone service immediately. Do not wait for a good Samaritan to return the property to you. The longer you wait, gives the criminals more time to drain your accounts or run up your cellphone bill.

Lat but not least, after you’ve been a victim of above mentioned crime, if you get a mysterious phone call offering to meet you at an undisclosed location and sell you your property back. Call the police immediately. They will arrange to have undercover meet them instead of you. NEVER meet anyone who offers this!

You’ve already been victimized once, you don’t need to be victimized twice.

Stay alert and be smart, because the criminal element is. . . . . . .

 

Officer “Tuff Luv”

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Tough Love Crime Prevention #2

It seems that every year a new type of crime pops up. Some so new that the criminal justice system has to play catch up and develop new ways to deal with them.

At one time in New York City in the early 2000’s, it was all the rage to buy discount designer pocketbooks on the street. So hoards of Nigerian bag hucksters showed up hawking their bags from large cardboard boxes affixed to hand trucks. Of course they were illegal. When nabbed by the police they were not only charged for selling merchandise illegally, but also “trademark infringement” because the bags were fake Guccis, Coach, Kenneth Cole,  and Diana Karen, etc.

When these (non-English speaking) offenders were arrested, they were taken down to jail and court in groups. There the courts had to provide court-appointed translators who spoke Wohl ( an obscure Nigerian dialect) and lead them step by step through the judicial process.  Yes, this was American (New York City) Taxpayer money hard at work. . . . . . . .

Now the two newest crime waves are as follows:

The cellphone snatch: It’s official, the criminal element watches for people who are easy marks or targets. That means folks who are too busy either texting, or talking on their I-Phone are perfect targets.  When the perpetrators see the victim is distracted they know the victim will never know what hit them!  So, they run up, shove the person to the ground, grab the cellphone and run! Usually, they go for the most expensive I-Phones.

The question I must ask is, why are you so occupied with your cellphone while walking in the street (sometimes at 3am in the morning)? You are supposed to be watching where you are going, your surroundings, and the people around you. It’s common sense because  people are ALWAYS watching you, the way the cat always watches the mouse.  For your own safety, save the texting for when you are inside and off the street.

2nd Crime:

Forcible Touching: According to New York Penal Law Forcible Touching is a form of sexual abuse (ex: groping, unwanted sexual touching through clothing). This law has been on the books and has been used in cases of sexual harassment (in the workplace by male supervisors intimidating female subordinates).   However, there has been a recent and very public upswing. Why? Because it’s Summer Time and women are walking the streets scantily clad. “Half Neekid” as a friend would often say.

Now, as an American woman you may say, “It’s hot, and I have a Constitutional right to wear and walk the streets of New York City (or city of choice)  in my “cool and sexy outfit” without some man accosting me and grabbing a handful.” Yes, you do. However, in this day and age you as a woman don’t know what kind of perverts are out there roaming the streets.

Yes, you can wear that micro mini, but can you handle the consequences if a 6’4”, 250 pound man grabs you in an unmentionable area in public? Unless you are a female version of Johnny Bravo, Qwi Chung Cain (Kung Fu), or Jackie Chan, I doubt it. Most women are NOT capable of fighting off this kind of assailant. So, why take the chance of attracting what I call the “Unknown Exponent?”

You can report these incidents to the police, but, a disgusted and overworked detective once told a victim, “No offense Miss, but, you need to stop dressing like a whore. . . . .” Yeah, I know, that’s a shot between the eyes, but it is very true.

Like my late, Old School British West Indian Mom used to say: “A LADY should always dress the part”.

It is so obvious that both crimes are preventable. It’s just a matter of applying a bit of common sense.

Otherwise, as Voltaire so aptly put it “Common sense is not so common.”  

Officer “Tuff Luv”

Tough Love Crime Prevention #1

Along with my diverse mixture of rants I would like to present these posts as a mini series.

Disclaimer: I’m not a cop, but I’ve worked with cops for the past 18 years. If I haven’t learned nuf-fin by now (fill in the blank space). . . . . .

This story is simple and can it happen to anyone.

Ms. X leaves her back pack containing her laptop computer and identifications (DMV-Department of Motor Vehicle license, passport, credit/debit cards) in her locked office and goes out to lunch. Upon return, much to her horror, she finds the door to her office open and guess what’s missing? She simply shrugs it off and goes about her business.

Huh? You ask. It gets worse.

Two weeks later she starts getting calls from her credit card companies and banks. Obviously someone(s) had been making a heap of unauthorized transactions on her credit cards and withdrawing money from her accounts. In other words, they were having a ball going on shopping sprees masquerading as her, since they had all of her credentials.

NOW, Ms X runs to the police to file a report! Why? Because she would have to pay back all of that money unless she can prove she’s been a victim of a crime. Which of course she never did. . . . .

Would you like to bet which question the cops and detectives will ask Ms. X first? HOW COME YOU DIDN’T FILE A POLICE REPORT IMMEDIATELY WHEN YOUR BACKPACK WAS FIRST STOLEN?

There are a number of reasons why. First, people are simply clueless as to what to do when a crime is perpetrated against them. They spend days commiserating with relatives and friends who eventually tell them, “Hey, you’d better go to the cops.” Another reason, the stolen laptop may have been workplace issued property, and was immediately replaced. With the computer replaced, Ms. X really wasn’t worried anything until she needed her identification. In New York City and State, you must have a police report in order to have stolen documents and id’s replaced. That means yep, ya gotta go to the cops and file a report.

The most perplexing excuse I’ve heard was “I was too busy to file a report.” or “I had to leave town on business or vacation.” To that I say. Priorities people! Priorities!

The last reason why people refuse to report crimes to the cops is because they themselves “suspect”. The so-called crime perpetrated against them was obviously “payback” for something they did to someone else. . . . . . Hey, what goes around, comes around.

Here are some Tough Love Crime Tips. I say tough because I’m not gonna pull punches. . . . . .

1.     Never, never, never (I can’t say NEVER enough) carry your passport or social security card with you unless you are going to a specific agency which requires that you have them! This means places like, Immigration, Unemployment, The DMV, Court, etc. If you must carry these documents, keep them ON YOUR PERSON, and do not leave them UNATTENDED AT ANYTIME! If necessary purchase one of those special passport wallets that you can wear like a money belt. Women: If need be, wrap it in some tissue and firmly tuck it into your bra! Passports are a GOLDMINE for identity thieves! Once they have that, you are (eh-hem) screwed!

2.     If you carry you computer (laptop, I-pad, Galaxy Pad, etc) in public, do not, I repeat DO NOT keep any personal information on it! Names, addresses, phone numbers, bank account, credit card information should NOT be on there! Use that brain God gave you and memorize your passwords! REFUSE your browsers option to autofill your passwords and codes for you! Why? If your computer autofills it for you, it will autofill it for the identity thief and hacker who is specifically looking for this kind of treasure trove! Stop him or her in their tracks! After all computers are inanimate objects and cannot tell the good guys from the bad. You must think for it, not it for you.

3.     If your devise is made by Apple (I-phone, I-pad, MacBook, MacBook Pro, etc) pony up the money and register it for I-Cloud like YESTERDAY! Why? I-Cloud is a GPS like application which can be used to track down stolen Apple property. This will assist the police in tracking down your stolen item.

4.     Last but not least if you are a victim of a theft like this, report it to the police ASAP (as soon as possible). Why? To prevent what I call the “domino affect”. First the backpack was stolen, now the credit cards are being used, money withdrawn from bank accounts, and websites being accessed. With the American passport stolen, no telling who bought it and is using it to enter the country illegally. . . Yes, I’ve even heard of cases where the identity thieves filed the victim’s tax returns to get the victim’s refund. . . . .

Obviously, the criminals will go to any means to get what they want. We as law abiding citizens must combat them with the same savvy and tenacity!

Remember reporting a crime to the police in a timely fashion helps aid in the investigation and possible quick arrest of the perpetrator(s). It also keeps others from becoming victims of the same person(s) and crimes.

Conclusion: As you can see from the above story, one’s workplace is no longer safe haven from acts of crime. Unfortunately, your own co-workers may be suspect(s).

This means you must be responsible to safeguard your own property. That means taking your property with you when you go out for lunch or take a break(s). Why? Most workplaces will not guarantee it’s safety, and only will send you to the cops, after it’s been stolen.

Along with my diverse mixture of rants I would like to present these posts as a mini series.

Disclaimer: I’m not a cop, but I’ve worked with cops for the past 18 years. If I haven’t learned nuf-fin by now (fill in the blank space). . . . . .

This story is simple and can it happen to anyone.

Ms. X leaves her back pack containing her laptop computer and identifications (DMV-Department of Motor Vehicle license, passport, credit/debit cards) in her locked office and goes out to lunch. Upon return, much to her horror, she finds the door to her office open and guess what’s missing? She simply shrugs it off and goes about her business.

Huh? You ask. It gets worse.

Two weeks later she starts getting calls from her credit card companies and banks. Obviously someone(s) had been making a heap of unauthorized transactions on her credit cards and withdrawing money from her accounts. In other words, they were having a ball going on shopping sprees masquerading as her, since they had all of her credentials.

NOW, Ms X runs to the police to file a report! Why? Because she would have to pay back all of that money unless she can prove she’s been a victim of a crime. Which of course she never did. . . . .

Would you like to bet which question the cops and detectives will ask Ms. X first? HOW COME YOU DIDN’T FILE A POLICE REPORT IMMEDIATELY WHEN YOUR BACKPACK WAS FIRST STOLEN?

There are a number of reasons why. First, people are simply clueless as to what to do when a crime is perpetrated against them. They spend days commiserating with relatives and friends who eventually tell them, “Hey, you’d better go to the cops.” Another reason, the stolen laptop may have been workplace issued property, and was immediately replaced. With the computer replaced, Ms. X really wasn’t worried anything until she needed her identification. In New York City and State, you must have a police report in order to have stolen documents and id’s replaced. That means yep, ya gotta go to the cops and file a report.

The most perplexing excuse I’ve heard was “I was too busy to file a report.” or “I had to leave town on business or vacation.” To that I say. Priorities people! Priorities!

The last reason why people refuse to report crimes to the cops is because they themselves “suspect”. The so-called crime perpetrated against them was obviously “payback” for something they did to someone else. . . . . . Hey, what goes around, comes around.

Here are some Tough Love Crime Tips. I say tough because I’m not gonna pull punches. . . . . .

1.     Never, never, never (I can’t say NEVER enough) carry your passport or social security card with you unless you are going to a specific agency which requires that you have them! This means places like, Immigration, Unemployment, The DMV, Court, etc. If you must carry these documents, keep them ON YOUR PERSON, and do not leave them UNATTENDED AT ANYTIME! If necessary purchase one of those special passport wallets that you can wear like a money belt. Women: If need be, wrap it in some tissue and firmly tuck it into your bra! Passports are a GOLDMINE for identity thieves! Once they have that, you are (eh-hem) screwed!

2.     If you carry you computer (laptop, I-pad, Galaxy Pad, etc) in public, do not, I repeat DO NOT keep any personal information on it! Names, addresses, phone numbers, bank account, credit card information should NOT be on there! Use that brain God gave you and memorize your passwords! REFUSE your browsers option to autofill your passwords and codes for you! Why? If your computer autofills it for you, it will autofill it for the identity thief and hacker who is specifically looking for this kind of treasure trove! Stop him or her in their tracks! After all computers are inanimate objects and cannot tell the good guys from the bad. You must think for it, not it for you.

3.     If your devise is made by Apple (I-phone, I-pad, MacBook, MacBook Pro, etc) pony up the money and register it for I-Cloud like YESTERDAY! Why? I-Cloud is a GPS like application which can be used to track down stolen Apple property. This will assist the police in tracking down your stolen item.

4.     Last but not least if you are a victim of a theft like this, report it to the police ASAP (as soon as possible). Why? To prevent what I call the “domino affect”. First the backpack was stolen, now the credit cards are being used, money withdrawn from bank accounts, and websites being accessed. With the American passport stolen, no telling who bought it and is using it to enter the country illegally. . . Yes, I’ve even heard of cases where the identity thieves filed the victim’s tax returns to get the victim’s refund. . . . .

Obviously, the criminals will go to any means to get what they want. We as law abiding citizens must combat them with the same savvy and tenacity!

Remember reporting a crime to the police in a timely fashion helps aid in the investigation and possible quick arrest of the perpetrator(s). It also keeps others from becoming victims of the same person(s) and crimes.

Conclusion: As you can see from the above story, one’s workplace is no longer safe haven from acts of crime. Unfortunately, your own co-workers may be suspect(s).

This means you must be responsible to safeguard your own property. That means taking your property with you when you go out for lunch or take a break(s). Why? Most workplaces will not guarantee it’s safety, and only will send you to the cops, after it’s been stolen.

Officer “Tuff Luv”