Archive for the ‘Crime Prevention’ Category

One of the most common questions about crime prevention is about neighborhood watch.  Many people want to know how to start one.  This is a great question.  I think many will be surprised how easy and fun it is to start a neighborhood watch.

First, check out a great website about getting started.  It will give you an overview and some things to think about.  www.USAOnWatch.org/

  • Determine the area you want to organize (the larger the better).
  • Talk to surrounding neighbors and find out how many want to assist and participate (8-10 households is a good number).
  • Set up a free neighborhood watch website to coordinate your efforts.

Here are five basic steps to get you started and motivated:

1. Contact your local police/sheriff’s department to schedule speakers for your neighborhood watch group.  Make sure you pick a location to accommodate your group and presentation (grange, hall, school, etc).

2. Invite your neighbors.  Get a name, phone number, and email list.  Send out flyers about two to three weeks before your presentation meeting and then follow up with a “reminder” a couple of days before.

3. Prepare a neighborhood map.  This map should have the houses, names, and phone numbers of each household.

4. Benefits of the presentation.  You will learn how to develop a plan of action, crime prevention techniques, personal safety, how to report suspicious activity, meet your neighbors and develop a communication network, order neighborhood watch signs, and recruit your coordinator and block captains.

5. Maintaining your neighborhood watch plan.  Keep your plan on track with meetings, neighborhood outings, and a monthly newsletter, website or blog.

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Author Blog: http://authorjenniferchase.com/

Crime Watch Blog: https://emilystonecrimewatch.wordpress.com/

Book & Crime Talk:  http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase

Books: Compulsion  Dead Game  Dark Mind  Silent Partner  Screenwriting

The age-old saying, “If it seems to be too good to be true, then it probably is” holds true most of the time.

Has this every happened to you or someone you know?  You receive a call or letter from a so-called broker offering some type of investment tip.  It can actually be a well-scripted, elaborate scam.  First they get your confidence because they state they don’t want any money from you, etc.  Then after the third or fourth phone call or letter, they have a great opportunity with no risk to you for a certain $$$.

In this day and age, money is tight, taxes are high, and budgets are being squeezed.  We all want to make more money to give family and ourselves a little breathing room and some financial freedom.

What should you do?

Here are seven guidelines for staying safe from “would be” scams:

  1. Work with trusted professionals.

Ask for references on any broker or financial group you’re considering investing with and actually call these references.  Make sure that your broker answers all your questions.

  1. Know when to hang up the phone.

Ignore unsolicited calls.  Never give out ANY personal information, even if they say they are representing your bank or credit card company.

  1. Take the time to really look at the proposal.

Don’t make a quick, hasty decision.  Allow it to sit and do your homework.

  1. Watch your credit cards.

Always shred and carefully store any credit card receipts.  Make it a habit to always review your credit card statements each month.

  1. Take a step back and know when you’re the most vulnerable.

If you’re in a vulnerable situation, it can make it easier to fall victim to a scam.  Know exactly what you’re investing in and take the necessary steps outlined above before you act.  Don’t let fear drive your investment.

  1. Be wary of something that you want to hear.

Anyone who is trying to sell something, even the legitimate ones, know how to make a hard sale based on people’s hopes and dreams.  Listen, but make your decision on the entire picture with the “worst case” and “best case” scenarios.

  1. Remember, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.

It’s generally best not to buy on a “hot tip” or when it’s offered to “only a select group of people”.  Do your homework and only make investments that you can afford and afford to lose.

Finally, if you believe that you or anyone you know are being targeted for a scam, REPORT IT immediately to law enforcement.

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Author Blog: http://authorjenniferchase.com/

Crime Watch Blog: https://emilystonecrimewatch.wordpress.com/

Book & Crime Talk:  http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase

Books: Compulsion  Dead Game  Dark Mind  Silent Partner  Screenwriting

It’s difficult to find someone today who isn’t online surfing the Internet, exchanging email, and participating in online social networks.  It’s incredible to realize how far we’ve come in our technology and communication activities within the past ten years.

With all the great technological advancement, there also comes the more devious aspects to it as well.  Think about how you use your computer and what information you’ve shared.

There are some safety tips that everyone should be familiar with in their online environment to make it the most positive and fun experience.

General Tips:

  • Understand how different networking sites work before you decide to join.  What are the benefits and downfalls?  Know how others will view your pages and your information.
  • Take charge of your profile and use controls over your information and restrictions to your page.
  • Keep your full name, Social Security number, phone number, address, and any banking information private and to yourself.
  • Post ONLY information that you feel comfortable with others seeing and knowing about you.  Take the time to think about this before you post anything.  Remember, you can’t take the information back once it’s posted.
  • Trust your gut instinct if you have any suspicions or if someone threatens you.  Report it to the police.

General Security:

  • Don’t use public or shared computers for online banking transactions.
  • Never give out your account information or passwords.
  • Be cautious about opening any attachment or download from emails regardless of who sent them.  Make sure that you have an up to date virus software, spyware, and firewall on your computer.
  • Delete junk mail without reading it.
  • Don’t “unsubscribe” to unwanted or unsolicited emails.  This just alerts senders that they’ve reached a valid email address.  Don’t sign up for free offers.

Parent Alert Tips: 

  • Teach your children about privacy and personal information.  You can encourage them to post information only with your permission and supervision.
  • Explore the Internet with your children and keep the computer in a common area.
  • Show your children the difference between and advertisement and entertainment.
  • Be aware of places your child is using on the Internet, such as friend’s house or library.  Consider safeguarding options, such as blocking, filtering and monitoring.
  • Discuss with your children if they ever feel threatened or uncomfortable to tell an adult immediately.

Helpful websites for more information:

Federal Trade Commission

www.OnGuardOnline.gov

ConnectSafely

www.connectsafely.org

Cyberbully411

www.cyberbully411.org

GetNetWise

www.getnetwise.org

Internet Keep Safe Coalition

www.iKeepSafe.org

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Author Website & Blog: http://authorjenniferchase.com/

Books on Amazon

It’s the holiday time again!

This is the time where many of us are busy, with not only everyday things, but with shopping, holiday decorating, parties, and much more.  This is also the time where we need to be careful in protecting our families and homes from burglaries, identity theft, and assault. 

The holidays can be a time where potential criminals use it to their advantage because often times we are distracted and staying vigilant.

Here are a few simple reminders for home and shopping safety during the holiday season.

Home Safety

1.                  Be extra cautious about locking ALL windows and doors when you leave the house, even if you’re gone for only a few minutes.  Also, make sure that your windows and doors are properly bolted for added security.

2.                  Be careful of large displays of holiday gifts visible through windows and doors of your home.  This can be too tempting for “would be” burglars.

3.                  If you’re leaving your home for any extended length of time, have a neighbor, friend, or family member keep an eye on your home and pick up newspapers and mail.

4.                  Have indoor and outdoor lights on an automatic timer.

5.                  If possible, leave a radio or television on to give the appearance of an occupied home.

Shopping Safety

1.                  Try to do your holiday shopping during daylight hours, if possible.  If you have to shop at night, go with a friend or family member.

2.                  Dress comfortably and casually, and avoid wearing expensive jewelry.

3.                  Try NOT to carry a purse or wallet, if possible.  Always carry your driver’s license or ID card, checks or credit cards that you plan on using for your shopping excursion.  Try to keep these items in a front pocket. 

4.                  Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.  Try to pay for purchases with a check or credit card whenever possible.

5.                  If your credit card(s) are lost or stolen, notify the credit card issuer immediately.  Also, if it has been stolen, notify the police and file a report.  Make sure to keep a record of ALL your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.

6.                  ALWAYS stay alert to your surroundings.

7.                  Avoid overloading yourself with packages.  Make sure that you have a clear visibility and are able to move around freely.

8.                  Keep packages out of plain view in your car.  Put them in the trunk or out of plain sight.

9.                  Beware of strangers approaching you for ANY reason.  This time of year where there are many “con artists” that will try to distract your attention to take your belongings or money.

Most of all, have a wonderful holiday season with family and friends.

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Blog: www.authorjenniferchase.com/
Website: www.jenniferchase.vpweb.com/
Crime Watch Blog: www.emilystonecrimewatch.wordpress.com/
Book & Crime Talk: www.blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase/
Books: Compulsion = Dead Game = Silent Partner = Screenwriting

In my novels Compulsion and Dead Game, Emily Stone relentlessly searches down the bad guys.  You could say that she is stalking them in order to bring them to justice.

But what does stalking really mean?

The definition of stalking is the act of following prey stealthily.

Stalking is caused by a chronic obsessive personality.  Anyone can become a victim or a stalker.  It has been estimated that one out of every twelve women will be a victim of a stalker at some point in their lives. 

What happens when someone is stalking another person?  There are stalking laws in place for this type of unwanted attention. 

The California Stalking Law Penal Code Section 646.9  is one of the strongest stalking laws in the country.  No Longer should victims of stalking be turned away by law enforcement and told, “come back when he actually hurts you.”  From 1991 through 1993, stalking was a misdemeanor punishable by only one year in county jail when no restraining order was in place.  Under the current law, a first-time stalker can be sentenced to a felony charge and sentenced to State Prison for up to three years.  If a court or restraining order is in effect, the stalker can be sentenced up to four years in prison or if he has previously been convicted of felony stalking or other related crimes, he could face up to five years in prison.

I’ve had first hand experience of being stalked by someone and it was a life altering experience for me.  I lived next door to a violent sociopath for 2 ½ years that threatened my life weekly, sometimes daily.  The good news is that I turned that unfortunate situation into a positive one by using my experience, or inspiration for lack of a better description, in my fictional writing and that’s how Compulsion came to life.  The bad news was that I had to move and this person continued to stalk me at work and even found my new residence.  Everything finally worked out.  I’m safe now and this person went to jail for a crime of aggravated assault on someone he knew, but unfortunately he’s out free again.

I wanted to share some stalker warning signs.

Stalkers usually have two or more of these personality traits:

1.                  Impulsive

2.                  Obsessive

3.                  Selfish

4.                  Won’t take “NO” for an answer.

5.                  Has few friends.

6.                  Low self-esteem.

In my situation, this person was also highly intelligent, clever, had violent tendencies, had one or two so-called friends that would follow his orders, and he felt that everyone had “wronged” him in some way.

The best approach to stop a stalker is to nip it in the bud, but this isn’t always the simplest approach.

What you can do to STOP the stalker:

1.                  NEVER let the stalker know that he’s having any effect on you.  I know this doesn’t sound easy, but it’s important.

2.                  Make sure you have a Caller ID on your phone.

3.                  If you’re being harassed by phone, make sure that it’s connected to a recorder to gather evidence.  Get a second line (unlisted) for your trusted friends or use a cell phone.

4.                  Have friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers help to shield you.

5.                  Get a camera cell phone (most cell phones have this feature now) and document everything and every encounter with this person.

6.                  Change your schedule to make it more difficult to follow you.

7.                  Drive around the block a couple of times before returning home.  If you are being followed or threatened drive straight to a police station.  Never confront this person alone.

8.                  Plan an escape route in case your stalker enters your home, follows you on foot, or follows you in the car.  It’s important to plan out what you would do in an escape and don’t let anxiety and fear cloud your judgment.

9.                  Find out all your options with restraining orders.  Talk to your local police department and file a report.  Law enforcement is there to help us.  From my own personal experience, the police were helpful and supportive of my situation. 

10.              Contact an attorney or your local police department for more information.

Be safe and alert at ALL times.  Don’t feel like you have to suffer through this alone.  Tell friends, family, and law enforcement.

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Blog: www.authorjenniferchase.com/
Website: www.jenniferchase.vpweb.com/
Crime Watch Blog: www.emilystonecrimewatch.wordpress.com/
Book & Crime Talk: www.blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase/
Books: Compulsion = Dead Game = Silent Partner = Screenwriting

Emily wanted me to talk about a safety issue that many people have expressed their recent concerns – home security and what to do to keep your family and home safe from burglaries or home invasions.

There are two important aspects to remember for home security against potential break-ins: secure you home with proper hardware and electronics, and make sure that your entire family ALWAYS uses them correctly.  Follow these simple guidelines with no exceptions.

Remember, if you come home and your house has been broken into, DO NOT GO INSIDE.  Call the police immediately and wait for them to arrive, away from the residence or at a neighbor’s house. 

There are 4 basic types of burglars and home invaders:

1.                  Professionals – these are the most sophisticated type of burglars or “cat burglars” and they generally are interested in businesses or extremely wealthy homes.

2.                  Opportunists – these are generally juvenile delinquents and pose a medium amount of danger.

3.                  Thrill-Seekers – these are also generally juvenile delinquents and pose a medium amount of danger. A higher danger potential are gang members, voyeurs, rapists, and murderers.

4.                  Drug Addicts – these are unskilled, unpredictable, individuals usually high on drugs.  Basically, these types of individuals commit up to 90 percent of all burglaries and home invasions.  Since they are desperate, irrational and prone to violence, they are very dangerous.

What simple precautions can you do to protect you and your family from being a victim of burglary or home invasions?

1.                  Install door reinforcements.

2.                  Install window reinforcements.

3.                  Install garage and yard reinforcements.

4.                  Install simple home electronics.

5.                  Install an alarm system.

6.                  Good neighbors:  know your neighbors and watch out for one another.

7.                  Join or start a Neighborhood Watch Group.

These are simple preventative measures to keep in mind when you’re home:

1.                  Keep your windows and doors locked.  About half of all home invasions happen because of unlocked doors or windows.  If you’re outdoors gardening or at a neighbor’s house, remember to lock your door and carry a key with you.  Be careful where you hide a house key and don’t make it obvious.

2.                  Never blindly open the door when someone knocks or rings the doorbell.  This can be a burglar practice called a “push in”.

3.                  Avoid a “scam in” and never open the door to a stranger no matter what they say.  These types of scam artists are master manipulators.

Pay attention to what goes on in your neighborhood.  If you see anything that looks suspicious or looks out of place, report it to the local police immediately.

Be sure to talk to your children about home safety strategies and implement them into your daily routine.

For more information on how to keep your home and family safe from break-ins or home invasions, contact your local law enforcement agency or security specialist.  

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Blog: www.authorjenniferchase.com/
Website: www.jenniferchase.vpweb.com/
Crime Watch Blog: www.emilystonecrimewatch.wordpress.com/
Book & Crime Talk: www.blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase/
Books: Compulsion = Dead Game = Silent Partner = Screenwriting

Many of us take advantage of enjoying our local parks and beaches, especially this time of year when the weather is still nice and warm.  It’s a great place to just relax or enjoy regular exercise, such as walking and jogging. 

Living in California, I love to take advantage of all the wonderful parks and beaches whenever I can.  It’s a great place for me to relax and take a break from my writing.  Sometimes, I get my best story ideas walking at the beach with my dogs.  However, I am still aware of my surroundings, even as I enjoy the great outdoors and beautiful scenery.

Emily Stone, the heroine in my novels Compulsion and Dead Game, is dedicated to public safety, suggests the following tips to stay safe for the park and beach enthusiast:

1.                  Remember, there is always safety in numbers.  It is recommended that you walk or run with a friend.  For me, I have a large, trained, black dog that accompanies me when I’m alone and he has deterred a couple of individuals from possibly making me a potential crime victim in the past. 

 2.                  Don’t take shortcuts or dirt paths through wooded areas.

3.                  Stay on well-lit and populated path areas.

4.                  Remain alert and aware at all times.  As fun as it is to wear headphones with your favorite music, if you are alone don’t wear them, it can distract you from your surroundings.

5.                  Familiarize yourself with your local park or beach and know where the public phones or police call boxes are located, even if you have your personal cell phone with you.  It’s always a good idea to know where these emergency phones are located.

6.                  Know the locations of any stores or businesses that may be open in the vicinity of the park or beach.  These types of locations may be a safe place to go if you feel threatened or need assistance.

7.                  Don’t wear an excessive amount of jewelry because this will make you stand out.

8.                  Closely supervise children and instruct them how to response to strangers.

9.                  If someone attempts to verbally harass you, keep walking and continue to a populated area or business.  If you do respond to this type of behavior, it could escalate the situation.  It’s always better to be cautious and find a safe, populated location. 

10.              ALWAYS report suspicious persons or activities to the local police.  Remember to dial “911” for emergency police or medical services.

If you happen to become a victim of a crime at the park, beach, or anywhere for that matter, the police recommend the following:

1.                  Remain calm.

2.                  Don’t make any quick or sudden movements.

3.                  Don’t be a hero.  No amount of money or personal property is worth your life.

4.                  Be observant.  Try to remember everything you can about the criminal: sex, age, race, clothing, height, weight, and anything that would help to identify the criminal.

5.                  Call the police immediately after the incident.

Crime in parks and at the beach isn’t commonplace, but it’s always important to remember these simple tips and to be prepared just in case of an emergency. 

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Blog: www.authorjenniferchase.com/
Website: www.jenniferchase.vpweb.com/
Crime Watch Blog: www.emilystonecrimewatch.wordpress.com/
Book & Crime Talk: www.blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase/
Books: Compulsion = Dead Game = Silent Partner = Screenwriting