Manassas City Police Wants You to Stay Safe for the Holidays with Daily Tips from "30 Ways in 30 Days"!
Home Security Having good quality, functioning locks on all your doors and windows is vital. But did you know to be effective they need to be installed with quality hardware and framing? Make sure the screws in your strike plates are at least 3-1/2" long, that exterior doors and frames are made from solid wood, metal or clad, and that you use your locks all the time - regardless of whether you're at home or away.
Manassas City Police Department 9518 Fairview Ave, Manassas, VA 20110 | www.manassascity.org/Police Emergency: 9-1-1 | Non-Emergency: 703.257.8000
Safer Surfing Today and Every Day
Auto Theft: Stolen ...but Warm?
Are you leaving a trail? This Cyber Monday - and on every
During this time of year, it is tempting to leave our vehicles
other day - make sure that any site prompting you to
unattended in order to let them warm up while we grab our last
enter financial information begins with https://. The "s" stands
cup of coffee and head out the door. However, this habit
for "secure" and is accompanied by a lock icon to the right on
makes us a target for auto theft every time. Never leave your
the same bar.
vehicle unsecured or unattended, even for a minute - it's an open invitation to auto thieves everywhere.
Winter Weather Awareness: Are You Prepared?
Lighting the Night
We never know what Mother Nature will throw at us, but we
The Festival of Lights may come around only once a year, but
can be prepared. Monitor the weather, sign up for free
that doesn't mean you can't have good lighting year-round.
emergency alerts at CAPITALERT, and always have disaster supply kits ready in your home and car. For tips on what to
Lighting is one of the least expensive ways to prevent
include and other information including free videos, visit the
crime, especially with new technologies at our fingertips.
Just In Time Disaster Training online video library, and be sure
Photoelectric cells, or "dusk-to-dawn" sensors, that easily
to visit the Department of Fire & Rescue online.
screw into your porch light fixtures not only make your neighborhood safer; they enhance security around your home and even help you save money on your utility bill. Oil not included.
Holiday Lights and Decorations: Little Twinkling Fire Hazards? Holiday lights and decorations can pose a fire hazard if they are not handled properly.
Inspect each year for frayed wires, gaps in insulation, and excessive wear before installation.
Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate that it is safe to do so. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet, and make sure to periodically check the wires they should not be warm to the touch.
All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.
Never put wrapping paper in the fireplace. Doing so can result in a very large fire, throwing off dangerous sparks and embers that may result in a chimney fire.
If you use lit candles, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down by people or pets. Never leave the house with candles burning.
Securing Prescription Medications
Are You Being Stalked?
"More than 2,000 teens begin abusing prescription drugs each
6.6 million people are stalked in one year in the United States.
day, and more than 70% of people 12 and older who abuse
1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men have experienced stalking
prescription drugs say they get them from a friend or relative."
victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they
(Source) Many such prescriptions are obtained by theft.
felt fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed. The majority of stalking victims are
Avoid becoming a victim of prescription medication theft
stalked by someone they know.
by being open to the possibility that in some cases, even a member of your family, an employee, or a casual visitor could
Some stalkers repeatedly call you and oftentimes hang up,
be or is the one trying to steal your medication. That means
follow you and show up where you are, monitor your phone
during your holiday party this year, make sure your
calls, computer use or whereabouts, or damage your home,
medications are out of sight away from family and guests and
car or other property. Learn more signs of stalking
Never broadcast the types of medicine that are prescribed to
Stalking is a crime under the laws of 50 states, the District of
you. Before leaving the pharmacy, conceal all medications in
Columbia, the U.S. Territories, and the Federal government. If
a purse, bag or jacket.
you believe you or someone you know is being stalked, contact law enforcement and the Stalking Resource Center at
If you have been a victim of medication theft, contact law
1-800-FYI-CALL (1-800-394-2255) right away.
enforcement and your physician right away. No matter who stole your prescriptions, doing so is a crime.
Protecting Children from Cyberbullies
December 10 Is Your Christmas Tree a Fire Hazard?
No child deserves to endure the social, emotional, and
Christmas trees account for hundreds of fires annually.
physical effects of bullying. To help protect your child from
To prevent your tree from becoming a fire hazard, find one that
bullying, follow these tips from the NetSmartz速 Workshop:
is fresh from the start with branches that are difficult to pull back and a trunk that is sticky to the touch. Keep your tree
Tell your child not to respond to rude e-mails, messages and
watered and away from heat sources, and try not to leave it up
for longer than two weeks.
Save the evidence, such as e-mail and text messages, and take screenshots of comments and images. Take note of the date and time when the harassment occurs. If harassment is via e-mail, social networking sites, IM, and chat rooms, instruct your child to "block" bullies or delete your child's account and reopen another one. If harassment is via text and phone messages, consider changing the phone number and instruct your child to share the new number with only people he or she trusts. Lastly, make a report to www.cybertipline.com.
December 11 It's a (Safe) Date!
December 12 Tax Season is Approaching, and So Are the Scams
Do you have a date this holiday season? Or maybe you're
Don’t believe callers, emails or texts that say they’re from
searching for that special someone to count your way into the
the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Tax identity thieves may
New Year? Whether you're waiting under the mistletoe or in a
send phony “phishing” emails that appear to be from the IRS
standing relationship, remember that every decision you make
and ask you to click on a link and provide your personal
affects your personal safety.
information online or over the phone. Don’t do it. The IRS doesn’t email, call, or text people to get personal information.
When you meet someone and might like to see him again,
If the IRS needs to contact you, they will do so by mail. If you
consider taking his number rather than giving out yours.
have any doubt whether a message is legitimate, call the IRS
When meeting someone for the first time, consider meeting
directly. For more information on IRS scams, click here.
him or her at a public location instead of at home.
Scheduling a group outing or double date can be a safe
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced Tax
and fun option as well.
Identity Theft Awareness Week, January 13-17, 2014. To
Purchase your drinks directly from a bartender or server,
receive tips during Tax Identify Theft Awareness Week:
and never let it leave your sight. If your drink is left
1) Follow @ManassasCityPD on Twitter
unattended even for a second, purchase a new one. Your
2) "Like" MCPD on Facebook
safety is worth much more than the cost.
3) Visit www.manassascity.org/Police
If someone you're dating lacks respect by taking physical or conversational liberties that make you uncomfortable, it might a red flag. Trust your instincts.
December 13 The Most Common Crime Is the Easiest to Prevent
December 14 Being Involved Before Disaster Strikes
Theft from motor vehicles continues to be an ongoing issue
Should disaster strike, it is a good idea to have an emergency
throughout the City, leaving citizens deprived of valuable
plan in place for yourself and those in your care as a first
possessions. In fact, theft from vehicles is the most commonly
priority. But what about others in your neighborhood who need
reported crime in the Manassas. However, you CAN prevent
assistance, such as senior citizens and individuals with
disabilities? How can you pull together to help mitigate the effects of a winter storm?
Always park your vehicle in a well-lit, populated location.
Roll up all windows and always lock your vehicle. This
Find tips on how to prepare yourself for emergencies, and how
goes for while you are pumping gas as well!
you can assist your community in the event of disaster with the
Thieves have a tendency to stake out parking lots, where
help of City of Manassas Community Emergency Response
they watch people put bags and other items into the trunks
Team (CMCERT) online.
of their vehicles. Stow your items away BEFORE your arrival rather than waiting until you reach your destination, and never underestimate the value something in your car might have to someone other than yourself.
Watch the VIDEO. www.manassascert.org
December 15 Are Robocalls Driving You Crazy?
December 16 A Safe and Happy Workplace
If you receive a robocall, or automated call, trying to sell you
The holidays can be an extra stressful time for some people,
something (and you havenâ€™t given the caller your written
including your coworkers. Take the time to learn the signs of
permission), itâ€™s an illegal call. You should hang up. Then, file a
potentially violent behavior. If you observe any red flag
complaint with the FTC and the National Do Not Call Registry.
behavior, waste no time in reporting it to a supervisor and/or law enforcement.
Watch the VIDEO.
Take time to become familiar with the security, emergency and reporting procedures at your workplace. Know who is responsible for security and how to contact them in case of an emergency. Also, have a plan in place in the event you ever do find yourself in a violent situation - no matter how big or small.
Watch the VIDEO.
December 17 Landscaping's Role in Security
December 18 Using Personal Protection Devices
Landscaping plays a large role in home security and natural
No matter what kind of protection device you're looking to use
surveillance around your home, workplace and school. Where
for personal defense, remember that most devices are not
security is an issue - that is, along pedestrian walkways and
reliable as a means to incapacitate. They should always be
near all windows and doors - shrubs should be maintained at a
used in combination with other defensive strategies. Higher
height no taller then 3' and trees trimmed up no less than 5'.
justification is required to use any weapon, and training is
Make sure tree limbs are also kept away from all lighting
absolutely necessary prior to use in order to achieve
fixtures so the light output shines where it is intended. If you
responsible and effective use.
spot landscaping that poses a security risk where you work or go to school, help make it safer for everyone by notifying a property manager or administrator right away. You can also request a free security assessment online or by calling 703-257-8064. BEFORE
December 19 Safe and Secure Travels this Season
December 20 A Safe Shopping Experience
Before leaving town this holiday season, make your home
Whether you're taking advantage of door-busters or leisurely
looked "lived in" by stopping mail and newspaper service or
shopping for loved ones, stay safe this season by walking
asking a neighbor to collect them, making use of light
briskly when you are out and about. Keep your head up and
timers, leaving a vehicle in the drive, and having a Police
your shoulders back to exude confidence. Conceal all
Officer check up your home. You can request a Vacation
valuables and only carry what you need for your trip. Lastly,
Check Request online or by calling the non-emergency
even though it might be daylight when you enter the shopping
number at 703-257-8000.
mall or store, it could be dark when you exit. If you feel unsafe walking to your vehicle alone, do not hesitate to ask a store
Do your research, especially before heading overseas.
employee or security officer to escort you, remaining cautious
The U.S. Department of State is a tremendous resource for
of unsolicited offers to help and aware of your surrounding at
everything travel-related, from safety tips to alerts to currency
exchange rate information.
December 21 Remember Grandma?
December 22 Got Drugs? Dispose of Them Safely
Ready to celebrate the end of finals and enjoy the last stretch
Unused or expired prescription medications are a public safety
of the Christmas holiday? If parties and libations are part of
issue, leading to accidental poisoning, overdose, and
your holiday plans, be sure to monitor your eggnog intake so
abuse. To dispose of prescriptions safely, the best option is to
you don't become That Guy or That Girl. Also, make sure you
find a DEA Take-Back Initiative Event near you.
designate a sober driver whom you trust or program a cab number into your phone before heading out for the night. For a
If you cannot wait for the next event and need to dispose of
FREE ride home, call SoberRide速 at 1-800-200-TAXI.
your drugs, do so by taking the medicine out of their bottles and mixing them with someone unappealing such as coffee
"A man who drives a sleigh and play with elves" may be unfit
grounds or kitty litter. When you throw away the empty
to carry a driver's license - but so is anyone who's been
prescription bottles, use a dark black marker to black out your
name and the type of medicine you had and conceal it in the trash can - never in an open recycling bin. This can prevent trash pickers from knowing what you had - and probably have more of - in your home. For more information and upcoming drug disposal events, visit the National Take-Back Initiative online.
December 23 Where's My Stuff?
December 24 Neighbors Looking Out Neighbors
While any home of neighborhood can be a target for theft,
Keep an eye out for your neighbor by reporting all suspicious
burglary is nearly always a crime of opportunity.
behavior to MCPD by calling 703-257-8000. Suspicious
Criminals often choose homes that seem unoccupied or
behavior is anything out of the ordinary in your community and
easiest to access. Make sure the doors and windows are
secured and locked at all times, including the garage. Also, take inventory of the valuables in your home. Include serial
- Loud noises such as glass shattering or a door being kicked
numbers, photographs, other identifying information and their
- A vehicle driving without its lights on or without a clear
value, and store a record someplace safe outside of
- Someone going door-to-door or around to the rear of homes - Someone peering into homes or cars
Locating a serial number
- An alarm being activated - The sound of hooves on the roof (Well, maybe that wouldn't be so strange tonight...) After helping your neighbor, be sure to follow up with the Virginia Fusion Center as well by calling 1-877-4VA-TIPS. You never know if what you're observing is a piece of a much larger puzzle. If your community does not have a Neighborhood Watch, start one.
December 25 New Devices, New Rules
December 26 Don't Be a Victim of Door to Door Scams
If your child received an internet device this holiday season,
If you are home during the day or evening you might be
make it a point to lay down some ground rules for their safety
approached by someone who is selling a product door to door.
before the box is even opened.
Solicitors are regulated and must have a permit on-site in order to legally sell goods and services door to door. In addition,
If your child has a laptop or computer, make sure it is kept in a
certain salespeople such as locksmiths and alarm
high-traffic area of your home. Don't forget to monitor cell
company representatives must be registered with the Virginia
phones, tablets, and video games as well since most of them
Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and carry
also have an internet connection.
their credentials at all times.
Establish limits for which websites your child can visit and for
Never let anyone into your home, and don't be pressured into
anything. Be extremely cautious about entering any contract without sleeping on it first and consulting family or friends. To
Surf the internet with your child and let him or her show you
look up a company's license or make a file complaint, visit
what they like to do online, and be open with your child about
the Better Business Bureau online or call 202-393-8000.
online safety. Encourage him or her to do the same and to tell you about anything online that makes him or her uncomfortable. It can be difficult keeping up with children's online activity these days, especially when most parents did not grow up with the same technology. For answers to hundreds of questions, conversation starters to help you open a dialogue about online safety with your child, and tons of fun online activities for children, visit the NetSmartz速 Workshop online. http://www.netsmartz.org/
December 27 Dealing with Breakdowns
Choosing a Locksmith
Hopefully you won't have sleigh troubles this season, but here
Did you know that locksmithing for the general public is a
are some tips to prevent them and stay safe if they happen:
regulated business activity in VA? Despite this fact, locksmith scams are a growing epidemic.
Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times and service your vehicle regularly. Keep a charged cell phone in your
Legitimate locksmiths ask lots of questions before performing
vehicle at all times.
work you request because your answers will affect pricing. Legitimate locksmiths are willing to give out the
If you experience a breakdown, pull over as far onto the
company name, do not evade questions, and carry
shoulder of the road as possible. Unless it is unsafe to do so,
credentials. Before hiring a locksmith, make sure he or she
stay in your vehicle at all times. Otherwise, stand on the other
can provide a Virginia Department of Criminal Justice
side of a guardrail to protect yourself from oncoming traffic.
Services (DCJS) business license number.
Be cautious with unsolicited offers to help. Stay in your locked
If the so-called locksmith cannot provide valid DCJS
vehicle and only lower your window partially to speak with
credentials, or shows other signs of running an illegitimate
people who stop and be confident in turning people away while
operation, it is recommended that you do not do business with
you wait for other help. If anyone acts suspiciously, do not
them. You may verify a locksmith's license online or by calling
hesitate to call law enforcement for assistance.
804-786-4700. Read What You Should Know Before Contracting with a Locksmith to find out more.
December 29 Smart Smoke Alarm Placement Makes All the
December 30 Property Maintenance Affects Crime
Keeping your home, workplace, and neighborhood free of litter,
Eighty-five percent of all fatal fires occur in a residence. You
graffiti, and other signs of disorder sends a message to
can help reduce the number of home fires by making sure you
potential intruders that their presence would not go unnoticed.
have the appropriate number of working smoke alarms in your
Keep your space free of litter, keep shrubs trimmed down and
home and that they are working properly and efficiently.
trees trimmed up, and maintain all lighting fixtures in good working condition.
Every floor of the home including hallways, living areas, inside bedrooms, and outside of sleeping areas should be equipped with fully functioning, UL-listed smoke alarms. Smoke alarms should be replaced every ten years and tested monthly. For more information on alarm placement, contact the City of Manassas Fire & Rescue Department at 703-257-8458. Additional resources are available from the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
Watch the VIDEO.
December 31 Still Looking for Your New Year's Resolution? In the spirit of National Make Up Your Mind Day today, consider making yours the decision to take charge of your own safety. From identity theft prevention seminars to self-defense, visit the Manassas City Police Department online to explore ways we can help you develop your personal safety plan in 2014.
Happy New Year!
Manassas City Police Department Manassas, VA www.manassascity.org/Police 703.257.8000
Published on Jan 7, 2014
If you missed any of the daily safety tips from December, you can view them all in the "30 Ways in 30 Days" Online Booklet. From the MCPD f...