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Crime Prevention Tips

The Greenwood Police Department is totally committed to the task of reducing crime. This agency will develop and perpetuate community crime prevention programs, develop and participate in educational programs with students and citizens of Greenwood, and will participate in selected proactive crime prevention programs to reduce the opportunity and the desire of potential offenders to commit a crime, thus providing a safer and better quality of life for our citizens.


Home Safety
On a national average, each year about one out of every twelve homes will be targeted by a burglar. Luck has little to do with these odds since burglars look for homes that offer easy entrance and getaways. You may not need physical strength, speed, or expensive security devices, but you do need to be alert, cautious, and self-confident.

Every large hardware store carries a dozen or more different home security devices that are easy to install:

  • Special bars
  • Locks
  • Latches

Most of them are ineffective at best, and at worst, dangerous, because they may prevent a quick exit. If you decide to investigate these, ask a local law enforcement agency which devices it recommends.

If someone breaks in while you are home:

  • Do not confront the burglar
  • Lock yourself in a room (with a phone)
  • If you can get to a phone, quietly call 911

If someone breaks in while you are away:

  • Do not go inside if you suspect someone is still in the house
  • Call law enforcement from a neighbor's phone
  • Do not touch anything

Doors:

  • Outside entry doors should be metal, metal-clad, or solid wood, not hollow core.
  • Keep all doors locked
  • Double cylinder deadbolts
  • Never attach an ID tag to you your keychain
  • If you lose your key or move, install new locks right away
  • Doors with glass windows less than 40 inches from the lock can easily be opened
  • Install a lens peephole or wide-angle viewer in all outside doors
  • Never let anyone at the door know you are home alone
  • Ask for identification of all service repair personnel
  • Use metal "Charlie bars" on sliding glass doors
  • Chain locks are not security devices!

Windows:

  • Pin locks are available for double-hung windows, as well as sliding glass doors. They can be installed on the side sashes, as well as the center sash, to allow windows to be opened a few inches and still be secure. These locks require only a drill for installation, so they are inexpensive. Special locks for casement type windows are available in hardware stores.
  • Keep all curtains and blinds closed at night

Alarm Systems:

  • Security systems vary widely in effectiveness and cost, even within a single community. Unmonitored alarms are of little use. Basic, monitored security service often includes a "panic button", which also summons help in a health emergency.
  • Make sure the security company you select is reputable
  • Learn how to use your system properly
  • Consider having a small pet

Apartment Tips:

  • Make sure that all entrances, parking areas, hallways, stairways, laundry rooms, and other common areas are well-lit.
  • Report burned-out lights
  • Check to make sure fire stairs have an emergency exit at ground

Street Safety

  • Use common sense; plan your route to avoid lonely areas such as parks, parking lots and garages and alleyways; stick to well lit areas
  • Carry minimal possessions; overloading yourself interferes with your vision and makes you appear more vulnerable
  • Get into the habit of paying close attention to your surroundings, and avoid "automatic pilot"
  • Walk with purpose, project an assertive or businesslike image
  • Look ahead and anticipate potentially dangerous situations
  • If you see trouble, do you have a plan? Would you be willing to cross the street?
  • Duck into a store or business that's open
  • If a car follows you or beckons you while you are walking, do not approach the car; instead, turn and quickly walk the other direction
  • Watch your body space; don't let people get too close; even if they appear to have a reason, like asking for the time, change etc.
  • Consider low profile shoes and clothing, especially when walking, waiting for the bus, etc.

Transportation Safety

  • Safe Driving Every Day
  • Get regular eye checkups
  • Avoid driving at dusk or dawn when visibility is poorest
  • Keep your glasses, car mirrors, and lights clean
  • Keep extra car lengths between your vehicle and the car ahead of you
  • Avoid heavy traffic
  • Signal turns at least a half-block before braking to make the turn
  • Do not drive while taking medication that slows reflexes

Car Safety:

  • Have keys in hand as you leave the building
  • Parked cars provide good hiding places (inside and out), be alert as you approach your car
  • Back off if you see anyone loitering near your car
  • Enter your car quickly and lock the door immediately
  • If followed or bothered, drive to a public place, store or business and honk your horn to attract attention
  • If parking in a paid lot, have money ready before getting out of locked car
  • Consider car pooling, not just at work but for leisure time activities as well, particularly when parking is a premium
  • Make it a habit to leave car locked and empty of possessions, even parking meter change

How to avoid a car jacking:

  • Drive with your windows closed and your doors locked
  • Park in populated and well lit areas
  • Don't take unfamiliar shortcuts
  • If trapped in traffic, flash lights to get attention
  • When approaching an intersection, leave enough room to be able to pull out and get away from the car in front of you
  • If actually confronted, don't resist. Get out of the car promptly and head in opposite direction
  • Keep home driveway well lit. Check surroundings before getting in or out of the car. Check inside and under the car before getting in.
  • When renting a car, ask for one without rental stickers
  • Keep plenty of gas in the tank and try to avoid using self-service gas stations at night
  • Consider buying a car phone
  • If bumped from behind and you feel suspicious, don't get out of the car. Motion the other driver to follow you and then go to the nearest well lit public place where you feel safe, such as a fire station or police station.
  • Above all, remain calm. Take careful note of all physical aspects of the robber, the vehicle and the direction of flight.

Scam Safety
The Law: Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations require the following:

  • In the beginning of a telemarketing call, the caller must identify the Company's name, and, if it's a sales call, what is being sold
  • If a prize is offered, you have to be told immediately that no purchase or payment is necessary to win.
  • You must not be asked to pay in advance for services. Pay for services only after they are actually delivered.
  • You must not be called before 8:00 am and after 9:00 pm, your local time.
  • You must not be called repeatedly or be intimidated by the caller.
  • You must be told the costs and restrictions before you pay for products or services.

Avoid Telemarketing Scams:

  • Don't talk to them
  • Get an answering machine
  • Get Caller ID
  • Never give money over the phone
  • If you want to give to a charity, seek them out yourself

Report it! The most courageous thing an adult can do is to admit to being a victim of a crime. 99% of the criminals are caught committing another crime.

If your social security number is on your driver's license have it removed

Avoid having a bank debit card. Your money comes directly out of your checking account, which makes any discrepancy harder to prove.

Con artists are rarely violent. They don't need to be. "Con" is short for "confidence" - which is then used to get your money. Once you've been a victim of a telemarketer you've not only lost money, but possibly your pride, health, faith, and self-esteem.

Victims feel violated, frightened, and embarrassed. Some are left with thoughts of suicide. It is a myth to believe that only lonely isolated seniors are targeted. These criminals have stolen from doctors, lawyers, and Admirals. They are all victims.

Some of the consumer frauds, gimmicks, and con games to be aware of are:

  • Business Schemes
  • Home Repairs
  • Insurance Fraud
  • Medical Fraud
  • Property Scams
  • Debt Consolidation
  • Bank Scams

Signs of Fraud:

  • Must pay to win
  • Must decide now
  • Pressure you for a credit card number
  • Instruct you not to tell anyone
  • Tell you that this initial investment will be well worth it.
  • An address Suite could just be a post office box

To protect yourself from other forms of fraud:

  • Never sign a contract without having a lawyer or family member read it first
  • Follow up on any unpaid bills accrued by a deceased spouse. They could be phony.

Small Business Security Tips

  • Non-employees should not be allowed past the reception area without notice to co-workers by phone or intercom. Guests/clients should wait up front for their escort.
  • After business is concluded guests/clients should be escorted out
  • Question anyone that is unescorted past the reception or designated area
  • An intruder will give you a quick answer and walk away
  • Do not try to restrain but write down a description and follow office policy
  • Theft should be reported immediately to the police
  • Keep all personal belongings out of sight and in a locked drawer if possible
  • Leave cash registers empty and open after hours to deter burglars
  • Make sure all exterior doors have adequate locking mechanisms or install a secondary lock, i.e. dead-bolt locks
  • Leave an interior light on all night
  • Check interior for possible access to the roof and secure all ladders and garbage dumpsters
  • Use exterior lighting to increase the visibility in parking lots and entrances
  • Move valuable merchandise away from the door or windows to prevent smash and grab thefts
  • Install a safe or strong security cabinet to store valuable documents or keys used in your business
  • Install an enunciator on entrances to alert you that a customer has entered
  • Don't tag your keys with the name of your business. Change locks if keys are lost or not returned by a former employee
  • Don't open the door until you are fully ready to do business, and don't count receipts until you lock up
  • Never resist an armed robber
  • Call 9-1-1 for all medical, fire and police emergencies, and anytime you believe there is a need to send police, fire or medical personnel to the scene.
  • Overgrown bushes and trees give a thief the luxury of hiding places. Keep trimmed and away from doors and windows.

  Identity Theft

Identity Theft is a crime that knows no boundaries.  It can affect people from every walk of life. The effects on the victims may be severe and lasting. In today’s culture, monies are moved through electronic exchanges more than hand to hand transactions. This creates a world of convenience for the average citizen. We can pay our bills online and shop all four corners of the earth without leaving our air conditioned homes.  But all that convenience comes at a price….

If one person has enough personal information about another, they can become that person for the purposes of their financial resources. The crimes can vary and are only limited by the criminal’s imagination. A criminal can open a credit card account in your name, or take out a loan from a bank. They could use existing accounts to expose your finances and utilize your good name to go on a shopping spree. No one can be completely free from the dangers of Identity Theft, but there are some precautions that can make you a less likely target.

1)    Know who you give your information to at all times. A criminal may pretend to be a legitimate business and contact you through email or phone. They will ask you to provide information that will give them access to your accounts or allow them to open new accounts in your name. If you have done business with this company, they already have the information they need. For example, E Bay would not contact you and ask for your Pay Pal password. They own the account and therefore have your password. Only conduct business with an internet-based business once you have navigated to their web site. A posted link could navigate you to a personal computer not affiliated with the true business. For example, if you intend to check or modify your online accounts, go to the URL yourself from your browser. Do not click onto a link sent in your e-mail to do business: you do not know where that link sends you.     

2)    Use quality computer programs that will protect your computer from being “hacked”. Today, the computer is the keeper of a lot of people’s identities. We bank, shop, and trade online. All that information is accessible through your computer. Every time you go online you are exposed to “phishing” programs, and others that will link your computer to a criminal’s computer. They can then enter your computer and obtain what ever information you have placed into it. Therefore, purchase a quality computer defense: anti-virus, spy wear, and anti-phishing programs. Then, keep them up to date. If you need help understanding what you need for your computer, most any reputable business that sells computers will also help you prepare a defense for that computer.

3)    Keep a defensive attitude at your home. Do not assume you are safe because you pay your bills without a computer. A criminal does not have to break into your home to get the needed information. There is a great deal of information in your mailbox. We pay bills and receive credit offers in the mail that expose us to the criminal element. Just because you placed a check in your mailbox addressed to your credit card company does not mean they will receive it.  A criminal can intercept mail you are sending or receiving and learn enough to victimize you. Any check you send has your name and account numbers on it, just as any mail you send to debtors has their account number on them. Therefore, minimize the exposure your mail has to the public. Do not place mail in the mailbox overnight to be picked up the next day.

4)    Use a shredder. A criminal may engage in “dumpster diving” and get enough information to victimize you. This is where a criminal goes into your trash after you have taken it to the curb, or the dumpster. He/ she will search through the trash until he/ she has enough information to use existing accounts or create new ones in your name.

5)    Remember that there is nothing you can do to be 100% safe. You give information to legitimate businesses that may be victimized themselves.  There are several incidents where computer hackers have hacked into companies’ computers and obtained account information of the customers. Keep on top of your credit report. If a person takes out a loan or line of credit in your name, it will often show up on your credit report. Unfortunately, many people do not know they are the victim of these crimes until they apply for a loan and learn their credit has been destroyed. The earlier you catch it the better.

6)    Lastly, if you believe you may be the victim of an identity theft, contact your local law enforcement agency as soon as possible. For Greenwood City cases call (864) 942-8407, or after hours (864) 942-8632.  Additional information is available on the Federal Trade Commission's Website.


  Terrorism Awareness Information

Terrorism includes the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.  For additional information, visit this online pdf file titled "South Carolina Citizen Guide to Terrorism" developed by the South Carolina Emergency Management Division.