According the FBI's Uniform Crime Report (2010), 73.9% of all burglaries were residential. The Greenwood Police Department would like to share some small things you can do to make your home a less attractive target.
- If you own your home:
- Make sure that you have "solid core" doors on all exterior entrances. Solid core doors are not only more energy efficient, they are much harder to pry or force open than hollow doors.
- Make sure that all windows are locked when you are not using them. Consider having any windows repaired that will not secure. In older homes, you can sometimes drive a screw into the sash which will hold the window shut.
- Make sure to have good, operative lighting around the exterior of the residence. Motion activated lights are especially unnerving for criminals.
- Take a moment to meet your neighbors and get to know them. Also, make note of the types of vehicles your neighbors drive so you'll know if there's an unusual vehicle in the area.
- Make sure to have your house numbers displayed prominently where they can be easily seen by police if they need to respond.
- If you rent your residence or an apartment:
- Speak with your landlord about doors/locks to make sure they are sufficient to repel intruders.
- Report any malfunctioning windows/doors/lighting to management or your landlord immediately.
- Make sure your residence/apartment are properly marked with any numbers/letters. This will make it easier for police to locate your residence when responding.
Each year, Greenwood Police Officers respond to, and investigate, a multitude of thefts from vehicles. These incidents result in damage to the vehicles and loss of property that adds up to a lot of money, as well as feelings of being violated. Here are a few things you can do to decrease your chances of being a victim:
- Always lock your vehicle! Most of the break-ins that are reported are a result of doors not being locked or a window being left rolled down. Criminals look for easy opportunities, so don't make your valuables an easy opportunity!
- Do not leave valuables in your car. It's easy to leave all that change you get in the McDonald's drive-thru in the cup holder, but that's also an invitation for a thief to break into your car. Other things that look attractive to thieves are women's purses, items in store plastic bags, electronics (DVD players, game consoles, etc), and charging cables for phones.
- If you have the ability to do so, avoid "on-street" parking.
- Always report suspicious people in your area to the police.
It is true that "nothing good ever happens after midnight". If you have to be out after dark, there are some things you can do to keep you and your loved ones safe:
- ALWAYS lock your vehicle!
- When parking your car, try to park close to the business, or close to a street light that is working.
- Before going outside, make sure you have your keys in hand and ready to unlock your vehicle.
- Do not unlock your vehicle until you are within a few feet of it. This way you can see if anyone is hanging around it.
- Carry a whistle or some noisemaker on your keys that you can use if you run into trouble.
- Going out at night? Try to go with a friend or family member. If you can't, consider letting someone know where you're going, when you should return, and call or text them to let them know you're safe afterwards.
- Be observant of your surroundings - criminals are counting on you not paying attention.
Scams & Identity Theft Prevention
One of the most common complaints we get relates to scams and identity theft. With the advances in technology, this has become a very prevalent form of criminal behavior, and one of the hardest to track down. Here are some ways you can protect yourself.
- Scam Safety
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations require the following:
- In the beginning of a telemarketing call, the caller must identify the company they represent, and if a sales call, what is being sold.
- If a prize is offered, you must 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 have been delivered.
- You must not be called before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm in your local time zone.
- 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.
- Ways to Avoid Telemarketing Scams:
- Don't talk to them
- Let the call go to voicemail/answering machine
- Never give money over the phone
- If you want to give to a charity, seek them out yourself.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations require the following:
The most important thing to do is report the incident! 99% of criminals are caught committing another crime.
If your social security number is listed on your driver's license, request that it be removed.
Avoid having a debit card from your bank. Debit cards draw money directly out of your bank account, which makes tracking the crime much harder.
Con artists are rarely vioent. "Con" is short for "confidence", which is how they victimize people, by gaining their confidence. Being victimized not only means losing your money, but possibly your pride, health, faith, and self-esteem.
Victims often feel frightened, violated, and embarrassed. Some are left with thoughts of suicide. it is a myth to believe that only the lonely isolated senior citizens are targets. These criminals have stolen from doctors, lawyers, and other professionals. 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
Some of the tell-tale signs of a scam:
- You must pay to win
- You have to commit now
- They pressure you for credit card information
- They instruct you to not tell anyone
- They tell you this initial investment will be well worth it
- An address given is a business suite or just a PO Box
Ways to protect yourself from fraud:
- Never sign a contract without having a lawyer or another person look it over.
- Follow up on any unpaid bills accrued by a deceased spouse or family member to make sure it's not phony.
Identity theft has become much more commonplace with the surge in online commerce. People are buying, selling, and paying bills on their phones, computers, tablets, etc. The transmittal of personal information opens a person up to be taken advantage of if they are not careful.
If a person can get enough personal information about you, they can assume your identity for financial purposes. They may use it to call and open credit cards, cell phones, bank accounts, or obtain loans in your name. The unpaid bills left behind are not only troublesome to deal with, but they can ruin a person's hard-earned financial security. While there is no way for a person to be completely free from the danger of identity theft, there are some precautions you can take to protect yourself from being victimized:
- Know who you give your information to at all times. A criminal may pose as a legitimate business when contacting you by email or phone. They may ask you to provide your account information, passwords, or other personal data. If you actually do business with that company, they will have all of that in their file already, and will not need to ask you for it. For example, someone calling regarding your PayPal account would not need to ask you for your PayPal account number; they already have that. Never click on hyperlinks in emails that you receive to navigate to a website; always type the address into your browser. Attached links may be directing you to a criminal's personal computer which is designed to imitate the business website, but will allow your information to fall into the wrong hands.
- Only use reputable and quality computer programs to protect yourself. This is especially true with the widespread use of "apps" on smartphones and all of the programs that websites may ask to download to your computer. If you have any questions about what antivirus software is right for you, or if a program you're being asked to download is legitimate, seek out a respected computer store in your area and ask for their advice.
- Keep your defensive attitude at home as well. You may not utilize the internet to pay bills and conduct commerce; but everyone has mailed payments to a creditor or company at some point. Remember that when you remit payment through the mail, you're sending your name, address, and other information along with possibly a check, which has your routing and account numbers. The safest way to prevent a thief from getting your information out of your mailbox is to drop your mail off at the post office or put it out for pickup the same morning instead of leaving it in the box overnight.
- Before you throw out the "junk mail" you receive, consider purchasing and using a paper shredder. This also applies to cleaning out your financial papers after tax season and other important documents that you may be discarding. Some criminals may see a paper hanging out of your trash cart with your information on it and use it to steal from you. Shredding your documents before throwing them out in the garbage makes it much less likely that a criminal could get hold of your information from the trash.
- If you believe that you are the victim of fraud or identity theft, please call your local law enforcement agency as soon as possible. Greenwood City residents should call (864) 942-8407 during business hours, or (864) 942-8632 after hours, on holidays, or weekends. You can also go to 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, civilian population, or an segment thereof in furtherance of political/social objectives. For more information, please visit the SC Emergency Management Division website.