Police and community partnerships are a great way to reduce and prevent crime in neighborhoods. These partnerships are best formed through the Hermosa Beach Neighborhood Watch program. Learn more about neighborhood watch and apply to be a block captain!
We're entering the biggest shopping season of the year. Unfortunately this is also prime season for package thieves. The Hermosa Beach Police Department reminds you as you're making online purchases over the next few weeks to follow these tips to avoid becoming the victim of package theft.
- Sign up for delivery alerts so you know when your delivery is scheduled - and when the package has been delivered.
- If you're not able to be home when a package will be delivered, ask a trusted neighbor to hold it for you.
- If possible, require a signature for all deliveries.
- Consider shipping packages to your place of work or use the ship to store option.
- Be a good neighbor! If you see a package on your neighbor's doorstep, reach out and ask if they would like you to hold it until they are home. Better yet, if you work from home, post on Nextdoor and offer to allow your neighbors to send their packages to your house.
If you do have any packages stolen, first contact us and then check with your neighbors on Nextdoor to see if they saw anything suspicious.
One vehicle is stolen every 21 seconds in the United States. Stolen cars, vans, trucks, and motorcycles cost victims time and money--and increase everyone's insurance premiums. They're also often used to commit other crimes. Don't become a victim of this serious crime.
THE BASIC PREVENTION POLICY
- Never leave your car running or the keys in the ignition when you're away from it, even for "just a minute."
- Always roll up the windows and lock the car, even if it's in front of your home.
- Never leave valuables in plain view, even if your car is locked. Put them in the trunk or at least out of sight. Buy radios, tape and CD players hat can be removed and locked in the trunk.
- Park in busy, well-lighted areas.
- Carry the registration and insurance card with you. Don't leave personal identification documents or credit cards in your vehicle.
- When you pay to park in a lot or garage, leave just the ignition key with the attendant. Make sure no personal information is attached. Do the same when you take your car for repairs.
Add Extra Protection
Etch the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the windows, doors, fenders, and trunk lid. This helps discourage professional thieves who have to either remove or replace etched parts before selling the car. Copy the VIN and your tag number on a card and keep it in a safe place. If your vehicle is stolen, the police need this information.
Install a mechanical locking device--commonly called clubs, collars, or j-bars--that locks to the steering wheel, column, or brake to prevent the wheel from being turned more than a few degrees. Use it!
Investigate security systems if you live or work in a high-theft area or drive an automobile that's an attractive target for thieves. You may get a discount on your auto insurance.
What about Carjacking?
- Carjacking--stealing a car by force--has captured headlines in the last few years. Statistically, your chances of being a carjacking victim are very slim, and preventive actions can reduce the risk even more.
- Approach your car with the key in hand. Look around and inside before getting in.
- When driving, keep your car doors locked and windows rolled up at all times.
- Be especially alert at intersections, gas stations, ATMs, shopping malls, convenience and grocery stores--all are windows of opportunity for carjackers.
- Park in well-lighted areas with good visibility, close to walkways, stores and people.
- If the carjacker has a weapon, give up the car with no questions asked. Your life is worth more than a car.
Beware of the "Bump and Rob"
It works like this. A car, usually with a driver and at least one passenger, rear-ends or "bumps" you in traffic. You get out to check the damage. The driver or one of the passengers jumps in your car and drives off.
If you're bumped by another car, look around before you get out. Make sure there are other cars around, check out the car that's rear-ended you and who's in it. If the situation makes you uneasy, stay in the car and insist on moving to a police station or busy, well-lighted area to exchange information.
Be on the Lookout
- If your car's stolen, report it to the police immediately. Also, report abandoned cars to the local agency that handles their removal.
- When buying a used car from an individual or a dealer, make sure you have the proper titles, that the VIN number is intact, and the "federal sticker" is on the inside of the driver's door. That sticker should match the VIN.
- Suggest that any dealer, rental car agency, or auto repair shop you use offers auto theft prevention information in the waiting rooms.
- If joyriding is a problem in your community, work to improve recreational programs and job opportunities for the young people.
1.Someone is using your identifying information (name, date of birth, social security number, driver's license number, etc.) to obtain goods, services, credit, and/or open fraudulent bank accounts
This guide provides victims of identity theft with the major resources to contact. Victims themselves have the ability to assist greatly with resolving their case. It is important to act quickly and assertively to minimize the damage.
In dealing with the authorities and financial institutions, keep a log of all conversations, including dates, times, names, and phone numbers. Confirm conversations in writing. Send correspondence by certified mail (return receipt requested). Keep copies of all letters, documents, and police reports.
2.Once you discover you are a victim of identity theft you should notify the following:
Immediately call and write the fraud units of three credit reporting companies - Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union. Report the theft of your credit cards or numbers. The phone numbers are provided at the end of this brochure. Ask that your account be flagged. Also, add a victim's statement to your report, up to 100 words, such as, "My ID has been used to apply for credit fraudulently. Contact me at (your own telephone number) to verify all applications." Insist that the flag is put at the front of your credit report. Be sure to ask how long the fraud alert is posted on your account, and how you can extend it if necessary. Be aware that these measures may not entirely stop new fraudulent accounts from being opened by the imposter.
Ask the credit bureaus in writing to provide you with a free copy of your credit report every few months so you can monitor it yourself.
Ask the credit bureaus for names and phone numbers of credit grantors with whom fraudulent accounts have been opened. Ask the credit bureaus to remove the inquires that have been generated due to the fraudulent access. You may also ask the credit bureaus to notify those who have received your credit report in the last six months in order to alert them to the disputed and erroneous information (two years for employers).
Equifax: PO Box 740256, Atlanta, Georgia 30374. Web site: www.equifax.com
Report Fraud: Write to above address giving your social security number, date of birth, and copy of utility bill or drivers license to verify current address. Call (800) 525-6285 for more information.
Experian: PO Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013. Web site: www.experian.com
Report Fraud or Order a Credit Report: (888) 397-3742
To Opt Out of pre-approved offers of credit and marketing lists call (888) 567-8688.
Trans Union: PO Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834 Report Fraud: (800) 680-7289 Web site: www.transunion.com
Consumer Relations: (800) 916- 8800 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, if you have been the victim of credit fraud (15 USC §1681j(b)) or denied credit (15 USC §1681j(c)(3)) you are entitled to a free credit report. If you are a victim of fraud, be sure to ask the credit bureaus for free copies. They will provide them.
Contact all creditors immediately with whom your name has been used fraudulently by phone and in writing. Get replacement cards with new account numbers for your accounts that have been used fraudulently. Ask that old accounts be processed as "account closed at consumer's request." This is better than "card lost or stolen." When this statement is reported to credit bureaus, it can be interpreted as blaming you for the loss.
Carefully monitor your mail and credit card bills for evidence of new fraudulent activity. Report it immediately to credit grantors.
Creditors requirement to report fraud. You may be asked by banks and credit grantors to fill out and notarize fraud affidavits (FTC ID THEFT AFFIDAVIT), which could become costly. The law does not require that a notarized affidavit be provided to creditors. A written statement and supporting documentation should be enough (unless the creditor offers to pay for the notary).
Report the crime to the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction in the case. Give them as much documented evidence as possible. Get a copy of your police report. Keep the report number of your police report handy and give it to creditors and others who require verification of your case. Credit card companies and banks may require you to show the report to verify the crime. Some police departments have been known to resist writing reports on such crimes. Prior to January 1, 1998, the creditors (credit card companies, banks, etc.) were the only legal victims of Credit Fraud/Identity Theft. California Penal Code Section 530.5 went into effect on January 1, 1998, thus giving legal standing to individual victims. Some police departments have not yet received training in the new laws of Identity Theft. Be Persistent!
Stolen Checks/ATM and Credit Cards:
If you have had checks stolen or bank accounts set up fraudulently, report it to the check verification companies. Put stop payments on any outstanding checks that you are unsure of. Cancel your checking and savings accounts and obtain new account numbers. Give the bank a secret password for your account (not your mother's maiden name).
Other thefts of identity. Imposters may use your social security or driver's license number if issued a traffic citation or arrested. If you are wrongly accused of a crime or a civil judgment has been entered in your name without cause, contact the court where the judgment was entered and report that you are a victim of identity theft. If you are wrongfully prosecuted for criminal charges, contact the court where the case was filed and notify your local police.
There are many people who target senior citizens and their money. Telemarketing fraud, bank examiner schemes, faulty home repairmen, etc. Extra care should be taken to protect your assets and identity. Mail should not be left at a residential mailbox for pickup by the mail carrier. Thieves take the mail and change the information so they can cash them. Personal information should be shredded before placing it in the trash. Thieves go "dumpster diving" to obtain information to open accounts in your name. Obtain a copy of your credit report regularly to make sure someone is not using your name to open accounts. If you need help with your finances, use a trusted family member or friend.
Social Security Administration:
Report Fraud: (800) 269-0271
Write: SSA Fraud Hotline, PO Box 17768, Baltimore, MD 21235
Fax (410) 597-0118
To remove your name from mail and phone lists:
Direct Marketing Association:
Mail Preference Service, PO Box 9008, Farmingdale, NY 11735
Telephone Preference Service, PO Box 9014, Farmingdale, NY 11735
To report fraudulent use of your checks:
Check Rite: (800) 766-2748
CrossCheck: (800) 843-0760
Chexsystems: (800) 428-9623
Equifax: (800) 437-5120
International Check Svcs: (800) 526-5380
SCAN: (800) 262-7771
Telecheck: (800) 710-9898
Other Useful Resources: Federal Government Information Center: (800) 688-9889 for help in obtaining government agency telephone numbers.
Federal Trade Commission (877) FTC-HELP for help in any type of consumer complaint - specifically identity theft and referrals to local law enforcement. FTC Consumer's Page www.idtheft.gov
Useful Internet Locations:
Federal Trade Commission www.ftc.gov
L.A. County Dept. of Consumer Affairs http://consumer-affairs.co.la.ca.us
As people grow older, their chances of being victims of crime decrease dramatically. But a lifetime of experience coupled with the physical problems associated with aging often make older Americans fearful. Though they're on the lookout constantly for physical attack and burglary, they're not as alert to frauds and con games--in reality the greatest crime threat to seniors' well-being and trust. Want to conquer fear and prevent crime? Take these common-sense precautions.
Be Alert When Out and About
- Go with friends or family, not alone.
- Carry your purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
- Don't carry credit cards you don't need or large amounts of cash.
- Use direct deposit for Social Security and other regular checks.
- Whether you're a passenger or driver, keep car doors locked. Be particularly alert in parking lots and garages. Park near an entrance.
- Sit close to the driver or near the exit while riding the bus, train, or subway.
- If someone or something makes you uneasy, trust your instincts and leave.
Make Your Home Safe and Secure
- Install good locks on doors and windows. Use them! Don't hide keys in mailboxes and planters or under doormats. Instead, leave an extra
- set of keys with a neighbor or friend.
- Ask for photo identification from service or delivery people before letting them in. If you are the least bit worried, call the company to verify.
- Be sure your street address number is large, clear of obstruction, and well-lighted so police and other emergency personnel can find your home quickly.
- Consider a home alarm system that provides emergency monitoring for burglary, fire, and medical emergencies.
Watch Out for Con Artists
- Don't fall for anything that sounds too good to be true--a free vacation, sweepstakes, prizes, cures for cancer and arthritis, a low-risk high- yield investment scheme.
- Never give your credit card, phone card, Social Security, or bank account number to anyone over the phone. It's illegal for telemarketers to ask for these numbers to verify a prize or gift.
- Don't let anyone rush you into signing anything--an insurance policy, a sales agreement, a contract. Read it carefully and have someone you trust check it over.
- Beware of individuals claiming to represent companies, consumer organizations, or government agencies that offer to recover lost money from fraudulent telemarketers for a fee.
- If you're suspicious, check it out with the police, the Better Business Bureau, or your local consumer protection office. Call the National Consumers League Fraud Information Center at (800) 876-7060.
Get Involved in the Community
- Report any crime or suspicious activities to law enforcement.
- Join Neighborhood Watch to look out for each other and help the police.
Mental Health and Homeless Resource Partners
Disabled persons face many physical challenges. This could make them vulnerable to would-be assailants who assume the disabled are incapable of protecting themselves.
Look Out for Yourself
- Stay alert and tuned in to your surroundings, whether on the street, in an office building or shopping mall, driving, or waiting for a bus or
- Send the message that you're calm, confident, and know where you're going.
Be realistic about your limitations. Avoid places or situations that put you at risk.
- Know the neighborhood where you live and work. Check out the locations of police and fire stations, public telephones, hospitals, restaurants or stores that are open and accessible.
- Avoid establishing predictable activity patterns. Most of us have daily routines, but never varying them may increase your vulnerability to crime.
- Put good locks on all your doors. Sturdy deadbolt locks are best. Make sure you can easily use the locks you install.
- Install peepholes on front and back doors at your eye level. This is especially important if you use a wheelchair.
- Get to know your neighbors. Watchful neighbors who look out for you as well as themselves are a frontline defense against crime.
- If you have difficulty speaking, have a friend record a message (giving your name, address, and type of disability) to use in emergencies. Keep the tape in a recorder next to your phone.
- Ask your police department to conduct a free home security survey to help identify your individual needs.
Out and About
- If possible, go with a friend.
- Stick to well-lighted, well-traveled streets. Avoid shortcuts through vacant lots, wooded areas, parking lots or alleys.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket. If you use a wheelchair, keep your purse or wallet tucked snugly between you and the inside of the chair.
- If you use a knapsack, make sure it is securely closed.
- Always carry your medical information, in case of an emergency.
- Consider installing a cellular phone or CB radio in your vehicle.
Before You Go On Vacation
- Plan ahead. If you're traveling by car, get maps and plan your route. Have the car checked before you leave.
- Leave copies of the numbers of your passport, driver's license, credit cards, and traveler's checks with a close friend or relative in case you need to replace these papers.
- Put lights and a radio on timers to create the illusion that someone is at home while you're away. Leave shades, blinds, or curtains in normal positions. Stop mail and deliveries or ask a neighbor to take them in.
On Public Transportation
- Use well-lighted, busy stops. Stay near other passengers. Sit by the driver.
- Stay alert! Don't doze or daydream!
- If someone harasses you, make a loud noise or say "Leave me alone." If that doesn’t work, hit the emergency signal on the bus or train.
- Use well-lighted, busy stops. Stay near other passengers. Sit by the driver.
Don't Let a Con Artist Rip You Off
Many con artists prey on people's desires to find miracle cures for chronic conditions and fatal diseases. To outsmart those con artists, remember these tips:
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Don't let greed or desperation overcome common sense.
- Get a second opinion.
- Be wary of high-pressure tactics, need for quick decisions, demands for cash only, or high yield low-risk investments.
Take a Stand
- Join or help organize a Neighborhood Watch group. Make sure meetings are accessible to people with disabilities.
- Work with local law enforcement to improve responses to all victims or witnesses of crime. Role-play how people with disabilities can handle threatening situations.
- Work with rehabilitation centers and advocacy groups to offer a presentation to schools and other community organizations on the needs or concerns of individuals with disabilities.
Unfortunately no neighborhood is completely immune to crime. However, there are steps you can take to help keep your family and your neighborhood safe.
- Work together with your neighbors. Watch out for suspicious and unusual behavior in your neighborhood. Get to know your neighbors and their children so you can look out for one another. Apply to be a Hermosa Beach Neighborhood Watch Block Captain.
- Know where your children are. Have your children tell you or ask permission before leaving the house and give them a time to check in or be home. When possible, have them leave a phone number of where they will be.
- Help children learn important phone numbers. Have your children practice reciting their home phone number and address, and your work and cell phone numbers. If they have trouble memorizing these, write them down on a card and have them carry it at all times. Tell your children where you will be and the best way to reach you.
- Set limits on where your children can go in your neighborhood. Do you want them crossing busy roads? Playing in alleys or abandoned buildings? Are there certain homes in your neighborhood that you don't want your children to go to?
- Get to know your children's friends. Meet their parents before letting your children to go to their home and keep a list of their phone numbers. If you can't meet their parents, call and talk to them. Ask what your children might do at their house and if they will be supervised.
- Choose a safe house in your neighborhood. Pick a neighbor's house where your children can go if they need help. Point out other places they can go for help, like stores, libraries, and police stations.
- Teach children to settle arguments with words, not fists. Role-play talking out problems, walking away from fist fights, and what to do when confronted with bullies. Remind them that taunting and teasing can hurt friends and make enemies.
- Encourage children to get involved. Help your children get involved in what they like to do, whether it's sports, art, or anything else.
Here are 25 Ways to Make Kids Safer.
Victims of Crime:
On November 4, 2008, the People of the State of California approved Proposition 9, the Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008: Marsy’s Law. This measure amended the California Constitution to provide additional rights to victims. Crime victims may obtain additional information regarding Marsy’s Law and local Victim Witness Assistance Centers by contacting the Attorney General’s Victim Services Unit at 1-877-433-9069, or by downloading the Marsy’s Card from the following site: http://www.marsyslawforall.org/images/marsys_card.pdf
Hermosa Beach Police Dept. 540 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254 - (310) 318-0360
If you have been the victim of a crime that meets the required definition, you or others may be eligible to receive payment from the California State Restitution Fund for losses directly resulting from the crime.
To learn about eligibility and receive an application to receive payments, call:
Victims of Crime Program at (800) 777-9229
County Victim Witness Assistance Center at (310) 222-3599
Victims of Crime Website: http://www.boc.ca.govVictims Legal Resource Center @ 1 800 Victims
For more information: http://www.boc.ca.gov/Victims.htm#GEN-INFO