|It can be hard to resist a phone call from a charity seeking desperately
needed funds for flood victims, endangered species, or the homeless. A postcard
claiming you have won a prize if you'll just call and send in an
"administrative fee." Or an investment offer giving you an
"exclusive chance to earn potentially enormous profits.
But you must resist. These are just a few examples of the kinds of fraudulent
schemes Americans run across every day. Experts estimate that consumers lose
more than $100 billion annually to a broad assortment of frauds, cons and scams.
Fraudulent telemarketing and direct mail appeals account for $40 billion of this
Alarmingly, the elderly are a major target for con artists, especially phony
find raisers and hucksters hawking bogus investment and insurance schemes.
Whether they are widowed and lonely, eager to help others or merely intrigued by
a "once in a lifetime" opportunity, increasing numbers of older
Americans are falling for sophisticated and slick appeals that can wind up costing
them thousands of dollars, not to mention untold anguish and stress.
Taking your money is the number one goal of the nations scamming scoundrels.
Many concoct their cons just to get a credit card number so they can go on a
spending spree financed by Y-O-U. Other will bill you incredible sums for merely
calling them to find out more. And still more want a check or cash as soon as
possibly - by overnight delivery, by wire or even courier - so they have your
money before you have them figured out.
What consumer soaking schemes are the rage these days? Among the major scams
of the 1990s are postcard sweepstakes offers. In a recent pole, 30% of Americans
said they had responded to such mailings, sometimes sending hundreds of dollars
to "register" for seemingly fabulous prizes or trips.
False charities are another popular consumer con. Telephone trouble makers
claiming to represent everyone from police officers to the disabled take
advantage of American's generosity to the tune of billions of dollars every
year. Adding to the problem is an array of fraudulent appeals - in newspaper
ads, on television and by mail - about business and investment opportunities,
vacation homes, and even "miracle cures" for everything from baldness
What can you do:
- If a caller asks for your credit card, bank account or social security
number to verify a free vacation, a prize, or gift, say "NO" and
- If you are calling a 900 number in response to an advertisement or
something you received in the mail, make sure you know all the charges up
- Before you agree to support a charity that calls seeking money, ask for
written information bout its finances and programs.
If you feel you've been conned, call the police or Better Business Bureau. Remember:
consumer fraud is a crime. And last but not least, remember that an offer that
sounds too good to be true, probably is.
|A small investment of time and money can make your home more secure and can
reduce your chances of being a victim of burglary, assault or vandalism.
Get to know your neighbors. Watchful neighbors who look out for you as well
as themselves are a front line defense against crime.
Check the Locks
In almost half of all residential burglaries, thieves walk through an
unlocked door or crawl through an unlocked window. Check the following:
- Make sure every external door has a deadbolt.
- Secure sliding glass doors with commercially available locks or broom
- Secure double-hung windows by sliding a bolt or nail through a hole
drilled at a downward angle in each top corner of the inside sash and
partway through the outside sash. Secure basement windows as well.
- Don't hide keys in mailboxes or under doormats. Give an extra key to
neighbor you trust.
- If you have moved into a new house or apartment, re-key the locks.
Check the Doors
Locks aren't as effective if they are installed on flimsy doors.
- Make sure all exterior doors are solid wood or metal
- Doors should fit tightly in their frames, with hinge pins on the inside.
- Install a peephole or wide-angle viewers in all entry doors, so you can
see who is outside without opening the door. Door chains are not a security
Check the Outside
To discourage burglars from selecting your home as their target of opportunity,
make sure to:
- Prune back shrubbery that hides doors and windows. Cut back tree limbs
that could help a thief climb into windows.
- Light porches, entrances, and yards - front and back. Consider times or
- Keep your yard well maintained. Store ladders and tools inside your locked
garage, basement, or storage shed when you're not using them.
- Clearly display your house number so police and other emergency vehicles
can find your home quickly.
- Help the neighborhood stay in good shape.
- Put lights and radio on timers to create the illusion that someone is at
home when you are away.
- Update your home inventory, with complete description, serial numbers,
photographs or engravings.
What About Alarms?
If you have valuables in your home, or live in an isolated area or a
neighborhood vulnerable to break-ins, consider an alarm system.
Before you invest in alarms:
- Check with several companies and decide on the level of security that fits
- Look for an established company and check references before signing a
- Learn how to use your system properly.
- If you come home and find a screen slit or door forced open, don't go in.
Call the police.
- If you hear a noise in the night that sounds like somebody breaking in or
moving around, call the police and wait for them to come. If you can leave
safely, do so. Otherwise lock yourself in a room, or if the intruder is in
the room, pretend to be asleep.
- Think carefully before buying a firearm for protection. Guns can be stolen
and sold to anyone, or captured and used on you or the police. If you do own
a gun, lock it up and learn how to use it safely.
|Tips for proper use:
- Children 12 and under should ride properly restrained in a rear seat.
- Infants should never ride in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger
- Smaller children should ride in a rear seat in child safety seats approved
for their age and size.
- Check your vehicle owner's manual and the instructions provided with your
child safety seat for correct use information.
- Everyone should buckle both lap and shoulder belts where available.
- Drivers should sit at least 10 inches from the center of the steering
wheel to their breastbone for the clearest margin of safety.
- Have a person trained in child safety seat installation install your child
seat. Check with the Fairfield Police Department Crime Prevention Officer
for seatbelt installations.
State law requires all front seat passengers and all children under 16 to
wear seatbelts. Children under 6 and under 60 pounds must be in a child safety
|Any person under 21 years of age that operates a motor
vehicle when their blood alcohol is over two-hundredths of one percent can be
arrested for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
Violators can have their driver license suspended and face criminal penalties.
- More than 60% of all teen drinking occurs at parties
in the home of a teen.
- 30% of all teenage drinkers get alcohol from home
with their parents' permission.
|Creating a safe place where children can learn and grow depends on a
partnership among students, parents, teachers, as well as other community
Some ways you can help:
- Settle arguments with words, not fists or weapons.
- Report crimes or suspicious activity to the police, school authorities or
- Take safe routes to and from school and know good places to seek help.
- Get involved in your school's anti-violence activities.
- Sharpen your parenting skills. Work with your children to build positive strengths.
- Teach your children how to reduce their risk of being victims of crimes.
- Know where your kids are, what they are doing, and whom they are with - at
- Help your children learn non-violent ways to handle frustration, anger
- Become involved in your child's school activities.
- Work with other parents in your neighborhood.
|Make Sure Your Kids Dress Saferly
- Check that the costumes are flame retardant so the little ones aren't in
danger near burning jack-o-lanterns and other fire hazards.
- Keep costumes short to prevent trips and falls.
- Try make-up instead of a mask. Masks can be hot and uncomfortable and
they can obstruct a child's vision.
- Make sure kids wear light5 colors or put reflective tape on their
- Trick-or-treaters always should be in groups. Parents should accompany
Make Trick or Treating Trouble Free
- Make sure older kids trick-or-treat with friends. Tell them to stop only
at familiar homes where the outside lights are on.
- Try to get your kids to trick or treat while it is still light out. If
it's dark, make sure someone has a flashlight and pick well-lighted streets.
- Make sure kids know not to enter strange houses or strangers' cars.
- Kids need to know not to eat their treats until they get home.
- Check out all treats at home in a well-lighted place.
- Eat only unopened candies and other treats that are in original
wrappers. Inspect fruit and homemade goodies for anything suspicious.
Parents and kids can avoid trick-or-treating troubles entirely by
organizing a Halloween costume party with treats, games, contests, music,
scary stories, and much more.
|Facts About Residential
- It is a crime of opportunity
- Most occur during daylight hours
- Highly skilled burglars are few and far between
- Chances of becoming victimized by a burglar can be greatly reduced if
crime prevention techniques are implemented
- Burglars do not like to make noise or spend a lot of time in the home, or
- Most burglars shy away from homes with burglar alarms and do not like to
- Burglary is one of the easiest crimes both to commit and to prevent, but
one of the most difficult to solve
- 98% of burglars go to the bedroom
- Police alone can't control residential burglaries
Facts About Guns For Protection in the Home:
- Most people who have guns in their homes for protection do not practice
with them and are not qualified with their use
- Many tragic accidents with guns occur in homes where guns are accessible.
Domestic (family arguments), children playing with guns, shooting family
members by mistake.
- Most guns kept in the home are stored in the bedroom. Night tables,
dresser drawers and under the matress. all places where burglars look.
- People who have guns in their homes are providing the potential to arm
Tips On How To Avoid Being Victimized By A Burglar:
- Use good locks
- Keep doors and windows locked
- Don't hide an extra key outside the home
- Report broken street lights in your neighborhood
- Report strangers loitering, people asking vague questions, suspicious
- Keep garage door closed
- Use exterior lighting effectively at night only
- o not store ladders outside unless secured by a lock
- Keep shrubs trimmed and eliminate all hiding places for the burglar
- Consider an alarm system. Contact the Fairfield Police department Crime
Prevention Unit for information on the bestb types of system and how to select
an alarm company
- Use timers on interior lighting in rooms that don't allow complete viewing
from the outside.
- Consider joining a Neighborhood Watch Program.
- Keep an inventory and description of your possessions for insurance
purposes and faster recovery (record the serial numbers off all electronic
- Take color photos and complete description of furs, jewelry, art and other
- Install large street numbers on your home (at least 6 inches high)
Tips For Vacationers:
- Stop all deliveries or have a friend pick up deliveries
- Do not discuss your vacation plans in public before you leave
- Use timers
- Don't close the blinds
- Have lawn mowed and sidewalks shoveled
- Move valuables away from windows
- Arrange to have a friend check your home
What To Do If You Think Your Home Has Been Entered:
- Do not enter
- Call the police (from outside the home)
- Leave everything exactly as you find it so that evidence will not be
|For more information on any of the above topics, or any other topics related
to crime or law enforcement, you can contact us at 203-254-4808.
The Town of Fairfield and the Fairfield Police Department
expressly disclaim any and all liability resulting from this material and any
recommendations herein, and do not represent that these recommendations will
prevent a crime or in the event of such crime limit damage to any person or