Crime Tips

Burglary Prevention Tips

  • Lock your doors and windows when you leave your home.
  • Don’t leave notes saying you’re not home and when you will return.
  • Become familiar with your neighbors and their cars.
  • Beware of strangers knocking on doors. They may be burglars checking to see if a house is unoccupied.
  • Don’t leave a house key hidden outside your home.
  • Keep your home well lit.
  • Keep trees and bushes trimmed so they don’t provide cover for burglars.
  • If you come home and see evidence that someone has been in your home or may still be there, leave the area and call police immediately.
  • Report any suspicious activity.

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Robbery Prevention Tips for Businesses

Practice these tips to prevent a robbery:

  • Keep your front doors and windows clear of clutter to allow two-way visibility into and out of your business.
  • At night, keep the outside of your business well lit.
  • Make sure your cash register area is clearly visible to outside observers.
  • Keep a minimum amount of cash in your cash register.
  • Advertise outside that you keep a minimal amount of cash in the register and that you will not accept large bills.
  • Use video camera surveillance and post a sign informing the public that you do so.
  • Make bank deposits often.
  • Vary the times and routes that you use to go to the bank.
  • Don’t carry cash in a conspicuous place, such as a bank bag.
  • Be alert for persons posing as shoppers who loiter while pretending to shop.
  • Watch for suspicious persons outside the business.
  • If you see someone suspicious, call the police to have them investigate.
  • Have at least two clerks working at night and at opening and closing times.
  • At opening time, one person should enter the store and check to see if it has been disturbed.
  • Before closing, one person should check the office, back rooms and rest rooms to make sure no one is hiding inside.
  • Keep side and back doors locked. If possible, have employees use the main entrance.
  • Place markers at the main entrance that employees can use to help gauge the height of a robber as he or she leaves.

If you are confronted by a robber, follow these tips:

  • Try to stay calm. Don’t make any sudden movements to upset the robber.
  • Do exactly as you are told. Do not resist.
  • Activate your alarm only if you can do so secretly.
  • Warn the robber before anything surprises him or her, such as that someone is expected to arrive soon.
  • If you have to move or reach for something, tell the robber what you are going to do and why.
  • Try to get a good look at the robber so you can describe him or her later.
  • Don’t be a hero. It’s better to lose your money than your life.
  • Give the robber time to leave.
  • Note the direction of travel when the robber leaves.
  • Try to get a description of the robber’s vehicle if you can do so without exposing yourself to harm.

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Vehicle Break-in Prevention Tips

  • Place all tempting items—especially cell phones and other electronic equipment—out of sight.
  • Do not leave any papers with personal information (such as mail or bank statements) in your car. Even blank papers might tempt a thief to break into your car in an attempt to steal your identity.
  • Lock all doors, windows and any sunroof before leaving your car.
  • Park in a locked garage or well-lit area.
  • Call police to report any suspicious activity around parked vehicle.

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How to Recognize and Prevent Child Abuse

The Hawaiʻi Police Department is a committed partner in the community working toward reducing child abuse on the island.

Everyone can contribute to creating a positive, nurturing environment for our children by learning and knowing a few simple facts:

  • Recognize what child abuse is and what the warning signs are. Child abuse can be physical, emotional or sexual in nature. It can be neglectful behavior when children are deprived of basic needs, such as food, clothing and care. Child abuse can be emotional when children are isolated, rejected, berated or otherwise mistreated. Besides unexplained injuries, children can show symptoms of depression, fear, poor hygiene, difficulty in trusting others, changes in eating or sleeping patterns, hostility and other atypical behaviors. It is only when we recognize the signs of child abuse that we can begin to help the child recover.
  • As parents and caregivers, we can learn to discipline our children in thoughtful and caring ways. First of all, never discipline your child when you are upset. You need to give yourself time to calm down. Words and actions can inflict deep and lasting wounds. Use this opportunity to show children and other adults that conflicts can be settled without hitting, hurting or yelling.
  • Get children involved in outside activities. Children learn and grow when they play or busy themselves with other positive activities. Sports, hobbies, school activities and play time offer constructive stimulation and learning opportunities for children of all ages. Create play groups with younger children and provide encouraging support for older children to nurture this learning process.
  • Get involved to help others. There is always a need in our community to become directly involved in helping children learn and grow. Become a foster parent or volunteer your time with local social service agencies or youth sports leagues. Use your skills to improve the lives of others in your community.
  • Report incidents of child abuse and neglect to authorities. If you see a child being harmed or if you see evidence of abuse or neglect, report this to Child Protective Services or to the police. If a child tells you about abuse, listen to him or her carefully and assure the child that he or she did the right thing by telling an adult. Remind the child that he or she is not responsible for what happened to them.
  • Locally, police investigate more than 150 complaints of child abuse in Hawaiʻi County every year. Sadly, many more incidents of child abuse go unreported in our community. If you would like more information on how you can help to prevent child abuse, or if you would like to learn more about child abuse in our community, please call the Juvenile Aid Section of the Hawaiʻi Police Department at 961-2254 in Hilo, or 326-4646, Ext. 230, in Kona.

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Safety Tips for Children

  • Don’t talk to strangers.
  • Most strangers are nice, but some are not. You can’t tell if a stranger is nice or not by looking at him or her.
  • Be aware of dangerous situations. If a stranger asks you for help or to keep a “special secret,” it could be a dangerous situation. Say no and tell a trusted adult.
  • Don’t get into a car or go near a car without someone in it unless you are with your parents or a trusted adult. Never take a ride with someone without checking first with your parents.
  • If a stranger invites you to go somewhere, offers you a gift or just wants to talk, say you need to ask your parents for permission first. Then go do it.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel scared or uncomfortable, get away from the situation. Run away and go to a safe place.
  • Know what to do. Think No, Go, Yell, and Tell. If you’re in a dangerous situation, say no, run away, yell as loud as you can and tell an adult.
  • Never go into a public restroom by yourself.
  • Never go alone to malls, movies, video arcades or parks. Take a friend with you and always check first with your parents to make sure it’s OK.
  • Stick with friends. It’s always safer to play in a group.

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Home Invasion Prevention Tips

Home invasion is the residential version of automobile carjacking. Most home invasions occur at nights and on weekends when homes are more likely to be occupied. The people committing this type of crime rarely work alone and rely on an overwhelming physical confrontation to gain control and instill fear in their victims.

The same tactics used to prevent burglaries will go a long way toward preventing incidents of forced entry home invasion. If home invaders can be delayed at the point of entry, then there’s a chance of deterring them and being able to call police.

Here are some prevention tips to consider:

  • Have a solid-core door for all entrance points.
  • Use a quality, heavy-duty deadbolt lock with a one-inch throw bolt.
  • Use a quality, heavy-duty, knob-in-lock set with a dead-latch mechanism.
  • Use a heavy-duty, four-screw, strike plate with three-inch screws to penetrate into a wooden door frame.
  • Use a secondary blocking device on all sliding glass doors.
  • Use anti-lift devices such as through-the-door pins or upper track screws.
  • Use highly visible alarm decals and beware of dog decals or neighborhood watch decals.
  • Secure all accessible windows with secondary blocking devices.
  • Make sure someone cannot reach through an open window to unlock a door or remove a blocking device.
  • Use anti-lift devices to prevent the window from being lifted out.
  • Secure windows at night and, if need be, leave only a slight opening for ventilation purposes.
  • Get to know your adjacent neighbors.
  • Agree to watch out for each other’s home.
  • Use motion sensor lights near or around key entry points.
  • Use good lighting along pathways to and from main entry points.
  • Make sure any exterior lighting allows for 10-foot visibility.
  • Make sure your alarm system has an audible horn or bell to be effective.
  • Instruct your neighbors how to respond to your alarm should it become activated.
  • Be sure to activate your alarm system before leaving home or before retiring for the evening.
  • Identify your valuables by engraving objects with a set of numbers that only you would know, make a list of the items and their numbers and keep the list in a safe deposit box or somewhere in your home.
  • Photograph items of value.
  • Photocopy the contents of your wallet and other important documents.
  • Do not keep the PIN for your credit cards or debit cards in the same place.

The best defense against home invasion type crimes is education and planning. Have a security plan devised so that there are escape routes out of your residence or a safe location within your home. This location should have a telephone so that you are able to alert the police. If an escape route is part of your plan, make sure that everyone in the household knows where to run and what to say.
If your home is invaded, be sure to keep a cool head. Do not scream, yell out, cry or attempt any violent confrontation. Do not attempt to run or escape unless you can do so without getting hurt or caught. Do exactly as you are told — nothing more or nothing less. Do not volunteer information unless asked to do so. Without being obvious, take some time to remember the best possible description of the suspects. Remember, safety for yourself and family is paramount in this situation.

To request a home security check, call Lieutenant Jason Cortez, community policing coordinator, at 961-2350.

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Internet Safety Tips

  • Think about how different sites work before deciding to join a site. Some sites will allow only a defined community of users to access posted content; others allow anyone and everyone to view postings.
  • Think about keeping some control over the information you post. Consider restricting access to your page to a select group of people, for example, your friends from school, your club, your team, your community groups or your family.
  • Keep your information to yourself. Don’t post your full name, Social Security number, address, phone number or bank and credit card account numbers—and don’t post other people’s information, either. Be cautious about posting information that could be used to identify you or locate you offline. This could include the name of your school, sports team, clubs and where you work or hang out.
  • Make sure your screen name doesn’t say too much about you. Don’t use your name, your age or your hometown. Even if you think your screen name makes you anonymous, it doesn’t take a genius to combine clues to figure out who you are and where you can be found.
  • Post only information that you are comfortable with others seeing—and knowing—about you. Many people can see your page, including your parents, your teachers, the police, the college you might want to apply to next year, or the job you might want to apply for in five years.
  • Remember that once you post information online, you can’t take it back. Even if you delete the information from a site, older versions exist on other people’s computers.
  • Consider not posting your photo. It can be altered and broadcast in ways you may not be happy about. If you do post one, ask yourself whether it’s one your mom would display in the living room.
  • Flirting with strangers online could have serious consequences. Because some people lie about who they really are, you never really know who you’re dealing with.
  • Be wary if a new online friend wants to meet you in person. Before you decide to meet someone, do your research: Ask whether any of your friends know the person, and see what background you can dig up through online search engines. If you decide to meet them, be smart about it: Meet in a public place, during the day, with friends you trust. Tell an adult or a responsible sibling where you’re going, and when you expect to be back.
  • Trust your gut if you have suspicions. If you feel threatened by someone or uncomfortable because of something online, tell an adult you trust and report it to the police and the social networking site. You could end up preventing someone else from becoming a victim.
  • When posting an item for sale on the internet, be aware that that criminals can and do respond to those postings. Never go alone to meet someone to look at an item that you wish to sell or buy. Whenever possible, meet in public at a time and place that you feel safe. Remember when you are speaking and meeting with a potential buyer or seller, that person is a stranger.
  • If you are in a situation that you feel has become unsafe, please do not hesitate to call the police.

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Scam Prevention Tips

  • Do not respond to suspicious letters, emails or phone calls, especially any requesting personal or financial information. Many of these scams originate from foreign countries, and recovery of stolen funds is highly unlikely.
  • If you receive correspondence that you have won a prize from a contest that you did not enter or have never heard of, you should be very suspicious. Never send anyone any money to claim a larger prize.
  • Be suspicious of unknown persons posing as “Good Samaritans” who tell you your car or property needs repair work and offer to fix it. In these scams, the suspect will ask for cash to purchase parts and keep the money without making any repairs.
  • Never give your address to a caller who claims to work for a parcel delivery service and says you have a package. If you get such a call and the caller gives you a phone number don’t call it. Instead, look up the phone number of the delivery service in the phone book and call that number to confirm that the service really has a package for you. Suspects in these cases often attempt to locate unoccupied homes or get address information for future burglaries
  • Be suspicious of vague phone calls that claim you owe an outstanding debt especially any requesting personal or financial information. Outstanding debt should be confirmed through the establishment to which the money is owed.
  • If you are selling items through the newspaper or an internet site, beware of buyers who offer to purchase items with checks or traveler’s checks that can turn out to be bogus. Accept only cash and never meet a stranger alone.
  • Do not give money to persons who approach you and offer “lifetime” services, such as house cleaning, pressure washing, rubbish removal or driveway repairs and then ask for advance payment.
  • Be suspicious if you receive a phone call from someone posing as a relative who claims to be in some sort of legal trouble and asks for money for an attorney.
  • Be suspicious if you receive an email from someone posing as an acquaintance claiming to be stranded in a foreign country and asking to borrow money to get home.

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Theft Prevention Tips for Shoppers

To reduce the threat of theft or identity theft, especially during the holiday season, follow these tips.

  • When shopping, do not leave purses or bags unattended in shopping carts. All it takes is a split second for a thief to walk by, remove your bag and flee undetected. Shoppers should keep their bags or purses on their person and zipped or snapped shut.
  • When paying for merchandise, be wary of openly displaying checkbooks or credit cards, as they contain vital financial information that identity thieves can write down or photograph with smart phones. If paying with cash, avoid openly displaying the contents of your wallet.
  • When approaching your vehicle to load your purchases, keep at least one hand free to open your trunk or doors. While loading your packages, don’t leave your handbag or purse unattended.
  • To eliminate drawing unwanted attention to contents in your vehicle while doing additional shopping, conceal any packages or bags so they are not visible.

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Graffiti Prevention Tips

Parents should be aware of their children’s whereabouts and activities and be alert for the following signs of possible graffiti involvement:

  • Graffiti on papers, books, walls, clothing, or other objects.
  • Unusual amounts of spray paint cans or marker pens.
  • Photographs of graffiti.
  • Accessories such as backpacks with a strong odor of paint, containers with an assortment of spray paint tips, etc.

Police ask that the public report any suspicious activity. Victims of graffiti property damage should report the damage to police for documentation and then have the graffiti removed as soon as possible. Removal of the graffiti removes the “glory” the taggers desire.

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Halloween Safety Zone Tips

Children of all ages look forward to the Halloween season but we would also like to make sure that they are kept safe to enjoy the festivities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly four times as many children ages 5-14, are killed while walking on Halloween evening than other time of the year. Here are some tips on staying safe while having fun:

Trick or Treaters:

  • Carry flashlights to see and be seen.
  • Use reflective tape or stickers on bags or costumes.
  • Use crosswalks and sidewalks. If no sidewalks are available, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  • If masks are used, it shouldn’t obstruct a child’s vision; consider face paint or makeup instead.
  • Costumes should not be so long that they are a tripping hazard.

Motorists:

  • Be especially careful in residential areas by slowing down and looking for keiki on roadways, on median and curbs.
  • Watch for keiki darting out from between parked cars.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
  • If you are drinking this evening, don’t drive – make sure you have a reliable, licensed designated driver before you start drinking!