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Safeguarding personal property and the home

By Simon Wong

Hints and tips for personal safety and property protection

HAYWARD, Calif. -- Hayward Police Chief Diane Urban attended the South Hayward Community meeting on November 2012 with a large delegation from Hayward Police Department (HPD), committed to combating a spate of jewelry thefts and home burglaries, offered crime-prevention advice to community members and enlisted the publicís help to fight crime.

SNATCHED GOLD NECKLACE ROBBERIES

Given that the price of gold is at record levels, there has been an increase in the number of people whose gold necklaces have been torn from their person. Most incidents occur in broad daylight. Typically, the culprit operates alone, or with a partner, and will observe the victim for the opportunity to approach and snatch the jewelry.

Police advise against wearing such items in public or in areas where a person might be alone or vulnerable. If jewelry must be worn, it should be hidden from view until arrival at oneís destination where it is safe to be seen. It is always recommended that people should never be alone to minimize the likelihood of falling victim to crime. Similarly, be on guard by being aware of your surroundings and report all suspicious activity to HPD immediately. If confronted by an armed robber, always comply with demands

RESIDENTIAL BURGLARIES

There has been an increase in day-time home burglaries mostly from Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. when people are at work or school. Many burglars knock or ring the doorbell; if there is no response, they enter the rear yard, force entry into the home and leave casually with portable items in a pillow case.

Typically, computers, laptops, TVs, video game consoles, video cameras, digital cameras, credit cards, sun glasses, tools, DVDs, money and jewelry are stolen. However, many are too large to remove from the scene without a vehicle.

HPD asks residents to immediately report all suspicious activity, such as door-to-door solicitation and unfamiliar, occupied, parked vehicles. Acknowledge callers by answering the door or talking to them through the locked door; if the homeowner feels unsafe or uncomfortable about opening the door, do not do so. Collect mail and newspapers to avoid the impression of absence; similarly, ask a trusted neighbor to take care of these items, if you do not stop them, and to watch your residence when you are on vacation; leave a vacation address, an email address and contact telephone number in case of emergency.

While away, make the home appear occupied by leaving window dressings in normal positions. Arrange for yard maintenance and ask a neighbor to put out your refuse bins on collection day(s) and to remove them from the curbside. Use timers to switch on and turn off lights, televisions and radios. Reduce the volume of the ringer on telephones so they are inaudible and do not alert burglars to your absence which should never be announced on an answer machine or via social media. If calls can be forwarded, direct them to a friend or relative. Keep garage doors and windows closed and locked and ask a neighbor to use your drive occasionally.

Ensure all doors and windows have good locks and use them. Home-alarm systems are recommended. Test smoke and burglar alarms periodically to ensure they work. Engrave valuables with your driverís License number. Ideally, store valuables in a bank safety deposit box.

CRIME MAPPING

CrimeMapping.com is an online tool that gives the public access to crime data in their cities and neighborhoods - type of offense, when and where the crime was committed. HPD transfers pertinent case data daily to www.CrimeMapping.com. Users can back-date searches up to 180 days.

The same search, conducted at different times, may yield different results. This is due to the public not reporting crimes immediately. HPD encourages the public to act promptly once a crime is discovered. In some cases, people may wait days, weeks, months and even years before speaking up. Additionally, HPD delays the release of some reports because of confidentiality and/or sensitivity issues.

CrimeMapping.com uses geographic information system (GIS) software to pin point recognizable addresses. If a locationís description is too vague, e.g. in the vicinity of the BART station, the crime will not appear on the map. Such incidents appear in a report generated by the site, instead.

Sometimes CrimeMapping.com and the news media will report the same offense differently. HPD might report a violent robbery on the website but subsequently brief the media about a homicide, if the victimís injuries eventually prove fatal.

To see the police reports for incidents on CrimeMapping.com and for cases older than 180 days, contact the Hayward Police Department Records Bureau.

HOLIDAY SAFETY TIPS

If vacationing, follow the advice under Residential Burglaries to secure your home.

Complete shopping trips during daylight hours and go with a friend, if possible. Avoid unlit areas of parking lots and parking lots without any lighting. Do not wear valuables and do not leave packages in the car. Keep your purchases with you until you return to your vehicle and place them in the trunk when you leave for your next destination. People are watching and will target unattended vehicles if they know it contains valuables, visible or hidden. Always close windows and lock your car.

Settle purchases with a credit or debit card rather than taking large amounts of cash. If cash must be used, keep it in your front pocket. Avoid struggling with too many packages so that you can hold on to your purse properly, ideally under your arm. Arrange for delivery of your shopping, where possible. Children should always approach a store employee or security guard if they become separated from their parent and never venture into a parking lot alone. Always be aware of your surroundings.

The Holiday Season proves lucrative for con artists/pick pockets. Be on guard if strangers approach for any reason. Working in teams, one member distracts the victim and the other takes what they want. Accidental bumping or jostling may not be so innocent. Pick pockets favor crowds in stores, on the street and on public transportation. Womenís purses should have a secure clasp. Men should carry wallets and money clips in inner and side pockets and not in back pockets.

Hayward Police Department is at 300 W. Winton Avenue, Hayward. Report all suspicious activity immediately at the non-emergency number (510) 293-7000. If the public sees a burglary in progress or has an emergency, call 9-1-1.

For more information or to join Hayward Police Departmentís email list, contact CommunityAlert@hayward-ca.gov with your home address in the subject line.

If interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch Group, contact Crime Prevention Specialist Gale Bleth at (510) 293-7151 or gale.bleth@hayward-ca.gov.

USEFUL CONTACTS

Lt. Dave Lundgren
South District Commander
28200 Ruus Road, Hayward
(510) 293-7296
dave.lundgren@hayward-ca.gov

Gale Bleth
Crime Prevention Specialist
South
28200 Ruus Road, Hayward
(510) 293-7151
gale.bleth@hayward-ca.gov

Lt. Mark Koller
North District Commander
1190 B Street, Hayward
(510) 293-7143
mark.koller@hayward-ca.gov

Mary Fabian
Crime Prevention Specialist
North
1190 B Street, Hayward
(510) 293-1043
mary.fabian@hayward-ca.gov



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