Police

Holiday Safety: Use extreme caution when shopping with kids

This is the second post in a series about keeping your family and possessions safe this holiday season.

 By Lt. Craig Anderson, CSPD Public Information Officer

Stores and malls traditionally see their largest crowds during the holidays when much of the population is out searching for that perfect Christmas present.

It’s easy to lose track of essential items such as cell phones and car keys. But those things pale in comparison to what we hold dearest – our children. It’s easy for you and your kids to be distracted by all the sights, sounds, and crowds of holiday shopping, so make sure they stay with you at all times.

Nothing takes the place of your supervision when you are in a public place with your children.  If you think you might be distracted when shopping, make other arrangements for your children’s care.

If your kids do tag along, keep these practical tips in mind:

Adult Supervision

Supervise your child and always accompany young children to the restroom. Make sure your kids know to stay with you and that they check with you or the adult in charge before going anywhere. Know where your children are and who they’re with at all times.

Never use video arcades, movie theaters, or playgrounds as babysitters, and don’t expect employees in toy or specialty stores to supervise and care for your children.

Getting Separated

Practice safe shopping skills with your children. Teach them how to locate adult sources of help and checking with you before going anywhere in a store or mall.

Talk to your kids about what to do if you become separated. Designate a meeting place such as a store’s sales counter or the mall’s information booth. Teach younger children to look for uniformed security or police officers, salespeople with nametags, or people in information booths. Make sure your kids know never to leave the store or mall or go looking for you in the parking lot.

Older Kids

If you allow your older children to go to the mall or other activities without you, they should always take a friend and check in with you on a regular basis. Be sure to have a clear plan for picking them up — including place and time — and what to do if plans change.

Let’s work together to keep College Station a safe place to live, work and play by taking away opportunities for crime. The College Station Police Department wishes you a safe and joyous holiday season.

 


About the Blogger

Lt. Craig Anderson is in his 30th year with the College Station Police Department.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!

 

 


Holiday Safety: Be careful when shopping — even online

This is the first post of a series about keeping your family and property safe this holiday season.

By Lt. Craig Anderson, CSPD Public Information Officer

When Christmas shopping, you usually find yourself among enormous crowds at retail shops, malls, and grocery stores. These sizable gatherings also provide a perfect cover for those who are a little short on Christmas spirit — thieves.

If you shop online, you are equally susceptible to being targeted.

Don’t let the bad guys spoil your holiday season. By following these 10 simple tips, you reduce your chances of becoming a victim:

  1. Keep careful track of your bags and other packages. If you leave something behind, it could be stolen or discarded.
  2. Tell a security guard or store employee if you see an unattended bag or package. The same applies when taking mass transit: report any unattended packages to security or staff.
  3. Be sure not to buy more than you can carry. If your packages are making it hard for you to walk upright or see, ask a store employee to help you take them to your car.
  4. Check receipts to see whether your full credit card number appears. If a receipt has the entire number on it, take a pen and thoroughly scratch it out.
  5. Double check that you have your credit cards and checkbook after you pay for your items.
  6. Before surfing the Internet, secure your personal computers by updating your security software. Your computer should have anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-spam software, as well as a good firewall installed. Visit bytecrime.org for free software downloads.
  7. Keep your personal information and passwords private and secure. Don’t respond to requests to verify your password or credit card information unless you initiated the contact. Legitimate businesses won’t contact you in this manner.
  8. Beware of bargains from unfamiliar online companies. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  9. Use secure websites for purchases. Look for the locked padlock icon or “https” in the URL address.
  10. Shop online companies you know and trust. Check for background information if you plan to buy from a new or unfamiliar company.

Safe Exchange Zone

If you purchase an item through a website such as Craig’s List and need to exchange property in person with a stranger, we encourage you to use the designated exchange zone in the police department’s main parking lot at  2611 South Texas Ave. We record video of the area 24 hours a day.

Let’s work together to keep College Station a safe place to live, work and play by taking away opportunities for crime. The College Station Police Department wishes you a safe and joyous holiday season.

 


About the Blogger

Lt. Craig Anderson is in his 30th year with the College Station Police Department.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!

 


How to avoid being a spring break crime victim

By Lt. Steve Brock, CSPD Public Information Officer

Spring break is a time of fun and relaxation for many students. But it can also be a time for criminals to thrive.

Don’t let crime spoil your vacation. You can reduce your chances of being a victim by following these tips to protect your home — and yourself — while you’re away.

Protect Your Home

  • Don’t advertise your plans to strangers or on social media outlets.
  • Make sure your home looks lived in since most burglars want to avoid confrontation.
  • Stop mail and newspaper deliveries or ask a friend or neighbor to make daily collections.
  • Hide empty garbage cans or ask a neighbor to move your container to the curb and bring it in after collection.
  • Leave shades and blinds in normal positions.
  • Put an automatic timer on lights and radios, preferably tuned to talk radio.
  • If possible, have neighbors randomly park their vehicle in your driveway.
  • Leave a key with a trusted neighbor. Don’t hide keys in a mailbox or under a doormat or planter –  or anywhere outside.
  • Store valuables in a safe deposit box or take smaller items with you.
  • Make a record of the serial numbers for your valuable items and take the list with you, store it in your safe deposit box or send it to your personal email account.
  • Engrave your driver’s license number or a unique identifying mark on the back of all electronics and computers.
  • Lock all windows and doors. Double lock windows with inexpensive key locks.
  • Double check garage doors before you leave and unplug or disarm automatic garage door openers if possible.
  • If you’re leaving a vehicle at home, don’t leave your garage door opener in it.
  • Lock gates to fenced back yards.

Protect Yourself

  • Make sure your friends and relatives know where you’re vacationing. Call friends or family members to let them know you’ve arrived and returned safely.
  • If you drink, do it in moderation and make responsible decisions. Follow the alcohol laws at your destination.
  • Have a designated driver or designated sober friend in your group to be sure everyone gets home safely.
  • If a member of your group passes out from alcohol consumption, call 911 immediately.
  • There’s safety in numbers. Try your best to stay around your friends, and never go anywhere alone.
  • Don’t ever allow a friend go off with strangers and never take strangers to your room.
  • Don’t assume that someone you’ve just met will look out for your best interests. Acquaintances sexually assault more people than strangers.
  • Only accept drinks from a licensed bartender or consume drinks you pour yourself. If you don’t know the source of the drink, you risk receiving an altered beverage.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings, know where you’re at, and know how to get back to your hotel.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or traveler’s checks. Don’t flash your money around or let anyone know how much money you have with you.
  • Don’t be a victim of identity theft. Never allow someone access to your personal identification or credit cards, which should always be kept in your purse or wallet and never left unattended.
  • Be cautious when sharing your personal information or where you are staying.
  • Ensure the safety of your valuables by not bringing them or locking them in a hotel safe. If you don’t have access to a safe, stow your valuables in the trunk of your car or a secure place in your room.
  • Always keep your hotel room door locked. Use the peephole before answering the door, and never open it for someone you don’t know.
  • Finally, trust your instincts. If a situation or your surroundings make you uneasy, you probably sense something. Be watchful and alert.

Have a fun, relaxing – and safe – spring break!

 


About the Author

Lt. Steve Brock has been with the College Station Police Department since 2004.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!


5 ways to protect your property, stop vehicle break-ins

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Lt. Steve Brock, CSPD Public Information Officer

Since the start of 2017, about 57 percent of the reported vehicle burglaries in College Station have been the result of owners leaving their cars and trucks unlocked.

texas_gun_rights_bumper_sticker-rd873d81da0ec48959af36cea1496add6_v9wht_8byvr_324A recent trend has been for burglars to target trucks displaying stickers or emblems that suggest a firearm could be inside. After breaking a window, they quickly search the interior, especially areas where a firearm could be stored.

Since burglary is a crime of opportunity, prevention is the key. By following these five simple rules, you can make vehicle break-ins less enticing and much more challenging:

  1. Lock your vehicle.
  2. Park in a well-lit area.
  3. Take your valuables with you, hide them in the vehicle, or lock them in the trunk.
  4. Consider removing stickers and emblems that suggest a firearm may be inside.
  5. Consider leaving your gun at home or carry it with you when legal.

By being vigilant and careful, you can help us protect your property and prevent vehicle burglaries.

 


About the Author

Lt. Steve Brock has been with the College Station Police Department since 2004.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!


Don’t let drunk driving spoil Super Bowl Sunday

By Chuck Fleeger, Assistant Police Chief

Super Bowl Sunday is one of the best days of the year for sports fans, but it’s also one of the most dangerous days of the year on our roads. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, about 31 percent of traffic fatalities on a typical day involve a drunk driver. On Super Bowl Sunday, that awful number spikes to 43 percent.

We want to see that tragic figure reduced.

(more…)


Can you openly carry a handgun in College Station?

Since the Texas open carry law becomes effective Friday, The City of College Station has put together this information to clarify how the law will apply in our community:

— Public Communications Office