Police Cruiser

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Uses Alert to Share Home Safety Tips

 

Security Tips for Securing Your Home

 

Home security is always a priority. Here are some good Home Security Tips we found at Howstuffworks.com

1. Lock up your home, even if you go out only for a short time. Many burglars just walk in through an unlocked door or window.

2. Change all the locks and tumblers when you move into a new house.

3. For the most effective alarm system, conceal all wiring. A professional burglar looks for places where he or she can disconnect the security system.

4. Your house should appear occupied at all times. Use timers to switch lights and radios on and off when you’re not at home.

5. If you have a faulty alarm that frequently goes off, get it fixed immediately and tell your neighbors that it’s been repaired. Many people ignore an alarm that goes off periodically.

See the alert and full set of safety tips here.

Package Theft

Blaine, MN Police Share Package Theft Prevention Tips

If you have ever ordered clothing, jewelry, gifts, or any other merchandise by phone, computer, or mail chances are those items were delivered straight to your home. Most deliveries DO NOT require a signature and are generally left at your front door even if no one is home to accept them.

These packages, which quickly catch the eye of potential thieves, offer criminals that ‘Crime of Opportunity” they are looking for. Thieves looking to steal your packages will follow or watch for UPS, Fed Ex, US Mail, and other delivery service trucks so they can target your home after the parcels are delivered.

While this type of crime can occur at any time throughout the year it usually increases around the holidays due to increased shopping practices of residents.

Below are some “Package Theft Prevention Tips” for you to use which will help reduce your chances of becoming a victim of this crime.

  • If Possible ask for a tracking number.  Most major shipping companies offerthis service at no charge. This number allows you to track your packages and notifies you  when they will be delivered. Request a “Signature Delivery Option”. This requires a signature when the packages are delivered and ensures they will not be left at the front door
  • Request a specific drop off time and date when you will be home to accept your packages
  • Arrange to have your packages held at the shipping service so you can pick them up
  • Ask the delivery service to leave your packages at a side or back door. An enclosed porch where packages are out of sight is also a good option
  • Have your packages delivered to your workplace
  • Have your packages delivered to the home of a relative or neighbor who will be there to accept them
  • Ask to have your packages delivered to a retail store so you can pick them up at your convenience
  • Ask a trustworthy neighbor to keep a “Watchful Eye” out for you packages. If they’re willing, ask them to safeguard your packages until you return home
  • Leave a note for the carrier instructing them where to leave your packages (Ex: backdoor)

What Should You Do If You See Packages Being Stolen In Your Neighborhood?

  • Call 911 immediately! Tell the call taker you are reporting a “Crime In Progress”
  • Supply 911 and the Blaine Police Department with an accurate description of the suspect(s) and any vehicles that may be used

Click here to see the full alert from Blaine PD

Crime prevention tips for the holiday season

Hamden Police Send Alert with Crime Prevention Tips for the Holiday Season

The Hamden Police Department would like to provide crime prevention tips for the holiday season.

  • When shopping, park your vehicle in a highly illuminated area.
  • When returning to your vehicle, look inside before entering.
  • When walking to your vehicle, have your keys accessible. You want to unlock the door to your vehicle as quickly as possible.
  • Place purchased items in the locked trunk of your vehicle. These items should not be in plain view.
  • Do not leave your purse/wallet, money, cell phone or other electronic equipment inside of the vehicle.
  • If you are the victim of a robbery, don’t resist. Contact the police (911) immediately.
  • Carry only the credit cards you need and avoid carrying a large amount of money.
  • Please remember to lock your vehicle at all times whether shopping or parked at home.
tip411 police truck

“Everyone is texting; no one wants to talk on the phone anymore.”

tip411 interviewed Assistant Chief Jim Speyer of the Cheektowaga, New York Police Department.  Here’s what he had to say about using tip411 in their community:

Q: Tell us about your community and the Cheektowaga Police Department (how many residents, how many sworn, etc.).
A:
We are a first ring suburb of the City of Buffalo with a major shopping mall that serves Western NY, Southern Ontario, Canada, and Northern Pennsylvania. It’s the hub of a huge retail area we have and brings in lots of traffic and visitors to our area. The Buffalo-Niagara Airport is located in our jurisdiction as well

There are about 87,000 people in the town of Cheektowaga, and the demographics are changing from predominantly Polish and German neighborhoods to African American neighborhoods in the area that borders the City of Buffalo.

Our department has 129 sworn officers and we’re big on community policing and getting out and knowing the public. Our goal is always to try to open doors between us and the community we serve.

Q: How did you hear about tip411?
A:
Our chief was attending an International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference several years ago and heard about it there.

After that, he brought it to Cheektowaga in 2012 and we’ve been using it for the last 5 years.

Q: How is tip411 administered in your department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A:
When we first implemented tip411 we had all the tips going to supervisors; sergeants, lieutenants, and captains. When they received a tip, each of them would designate if it needed to be forwarded to someone in particular for follow up.

We tried to stress to the community in the beginning that it was a tip line, not something that should be used for reporting in-progress crimes as it was not monitored 24/7.

However, the way society is today, it’s all about texting and we receive lots of calls for service through tip411 despite or efforts to communicate to people they should be calling 911.

Once we realized this was how people wanted to communicate, we set it up so that tips also go to our dispatch center. Supervisors still receive tips, but dispatches are also alerted to a tip so if it’s something that needs an immediate response they can dispatch units immediately.

Q: How has the tip411 system aided your department?
A:
tip411 aided our department by helping us receive some valid information and tips on drugs. Lots of tips we receive are narcotics-related or about suspicious activity that gets forwarded to our narcotics officers who can initiate an investigation on an address.

People have always been able to call in to our department and say that want to be anonymous and we’ll adhere to that, but people don’t trust that it’s truly anonymous if they can. So the value of tip411 is that people trust this system to truly keep them anonymous and they use it for that.

There are times we go back and forth via text message with the tipster to get more information and sometimes they end up volunteering their identity to help us get in touch with them to get even more actionable intel on a case.

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A:
Just a few months ago, we received a tip that 2 people were in a car smoking crack. Our officers would never have known about it, but a tip came in to our dispatchers and they dispatched units. Officers found crack cocaine and heroin and arrested both individuals in the car.

This is typical of our system. We get tips on suspicious people, suspicious cars, etc. The reality, we as police believe something like this should be called in, but if people aren’t comfortable, then they use tip411 and its better than us not getting this information at all.

Q: What have you done to promote your tip411 system to make sure residents know about it and use it?
A:
tip411 is promoted on our website and Facebook page. On Facebook we often post about individuals with outstanding warrants and ask people to share information with us via tip411.

When we first launched tip411, we rented billboards in the area and had a big display, which I think was great for getting in front of people and introducing the system. We also had our tip411 information stenciled on our police cruisers.

5 years later, we still hand out flyers with our tip information at community events and when I send out press releases to the media about certain incidents, I always include our tip411 information in there to ask residents to submit tips and help us fight crime.

Image_CheektowagaTip411_billboard

Q: Any advice for other departments considering tip411?
A:
I think it’s obvious that things change and even though it was not meant to be something for people to use to report crimes or incidents in progress, I feel it’s a necessity to have.

Around here, most departments have some form of an anonymous tip line, and to have this text option from tip411 is great. Everyone is texting; no one wants to talk on the phone anymore.

It’s a cultural thing. If people feel more comfortable texting – just like the case I mentioned where people were reported smoking crack – if people feel more comfortable texting than calling then that’s fine because we still got the information and got drugs off our streets.

Anonymous Tip

Smartphone app helps fight crime in Crow Wing County

Smartphone apps have uses ranging from checking the weather to watching movies to reading about the latest breaking news, and everything in between. Now Crow Wing County residents can download an app that lets them send crime tips to the sheriff’s department and communicate with local law enforcement from anywhere while remaining anonymous.

Tip411 is a program that has been gaining popularity in the lakes area over the last eight months. After downloading the CWCS Mobile app on an iPhone or Android device, users can simply submit anonymous tips relating to any criminal or suspicious activity directly to the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office.

And that’s not all.

“The cool thing with this feature is people can still remain anonymous if they wish, but we’re allowed to communicate back with them. So that’s where we can add the additional questions,” said Capt. Scott Goddard, of the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office.

The app allows the investigator receiving the tips to respond to the tipster and ask follow-up questions.

“They’ll text us in something very vague, like, ‘Vehicles coming or going late at night from a residence,'” Goddard said. “And then our follow-up questions might be, ‘Well, can you give us descriptions of the vehicle?’ or ‘What times are the vehicles coming and going?'”

Read the full story from the Pineandlakes Echo Journal

Delhi Township

Interview with Delhi Township: Part I

tip411 interviewed Chief Jim Howarth of the Delhi Township Police Department in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is part one of our three-part conversation.

PART I

Q: Tell us about your community and the Delhi Township Police Department (how many residents, how many sworn, etc.).
A:
Delhi Township covers 10.1 square miles and is just shy of 30,000 residents. Our department has 32 sworn officers and is open 8am-10pm each day. We are a “bedroom community” that sits on the Ohio River and borders the City of Cincinnati as well as Green Township, both of which use tip411 as well.

Being a suburb of Cincinnati, we deal with many big city crimes, just on a smaller scale. We have drug issues like most communities; we see domestic violence cases, car thefts, burglaries and robberies – Things that spill over from the city into our township. We don’t have much violent crime; averaging about one homicide every year or two.

We have an excellent relationship with the Cincinnati Police Department as well as the 47 other law enforcement agencies in Hamilton County. We rely on the Hamilton County Police Association for joint training exercises, joint SWAT Team operations, and more.

Q: How do you hear about tip411?
A:
We launched tip411 in 2011. I had been researching it for a few years before we signed on as I wanted to do my due diligence, but I first heard through the Cincinnati Police Department when I saw them using it.

When I was researching possible systems to use here in Delhi Township, what I was looking for was something that would help me get information out to residents in a timely manner, but also something that would be affordable and easy to use. This was important because I did not want to have to spend time training officers on a system they found too complicated to use as part of their daily duties.

Right away, I saw what I could do with tip411.

Q: How is tip411 administered in your department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A:
I put out alerts along with my investigative lieutenant. I use it for investigations but also for news sharing (promoting/hiring new staff, road closures, etc.) and all types of crimes.

All of my investigators receive tips as they come in and manage them to share information and communicate with the tipster to try to get more information.

To make sure our residents can find how to send us tips, we have links to our tip411 reporting form on our website, Facebook, and Twitter. We also use the Crime Map provided as part of our tip411 subscription to add share crime information with the public and allow people to submit tips through the information shown on the map.

We’re very fortunate as people in Delhi Township are willing to communicate with us to help fight crime, and even more people are now as they are less afraid due to being able to share information anonymously.

Chief Howarth Interview – Part II

Chief Howarth Interview – Part III

Crime prevention community commitment

Spring Crime Prevention Tips from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

The following is a community alert the Hillsborough County, Florida Sheriff’s Office sent to their residents using tip411 to share crime prevention tips for Spring:

“Just some friendly reminders since we just hopped into Spring. The weather is beautiful outside and there will be some spring cleaning going on inside homes as well as yard work outside in preparation for the upcoming warmer months.

  • Ensure doors and windows are locked at your home. This includes even if you are only leaving for a short period of time.
  • Ensure all of your gardening tools are secured in your garage or storage shed with adequate locking mechanisms. Don’t leave your garage open when you are working outside in the backyard out of sight of your garage. Criminals look for opportunities such as open garages.
  • Do not leave your garage door open to vent the heat out, even if it is just a few inches. Criminals can and will slide underneath. They may even use a child to slide underneath and open the door for them.
  • Always secure bicycles out of sight and in a secure location.
  • Ensure that you have a secure door between you and possible solicitors. Always keep your screen door locked and if you do answer the door, then you have a secondary barrier between. Criminals take opportunities with unsecured screen doors and make their way inside.”

View the alert to see their full list of tips.

911

Expand Your Coverage

While tip411 should never be a replacement for calling 911, many agencies have had success involving their emergency dispatchers in checking and responding to tips and allowing for 24/7 coverage.

We made a decision as an organization that we wanted give virtual real time feedback to any received tips. That’s when we gave additional responsibility to our Communications Center Supervisors to monitor the system after hours and respond to tips when needed, while the Crime Analysis Unit remains in charge of responding to tips during business hours and cataloging and assigning each received tip.” – Major David Dalton, Clearwater, Florida Police

Promote tip411

Promote, Promote, Promote!

The most successful agencies are those who hold press conferences to launch their system, regularly send alerts, hang posters around their community, distribute business cards with their tip411 information on it, and more. Need help? Reach out to our Public Relations Director for tips

“We try to feature it prominently on our website and we push it out as I said through Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media. In every community alert that we send, we include our tip411 information. We put it on flyers, on crime alerts – just about anything we send to the public.” – Major David Dalton, Clearwater, Florida Police