Precinct 5 PENS January 2024
Welcome to this month’s PENS, Police Email Notification System, bulletin. This monthly bulletin is brought to you from the Cobb County Police, Precinct 5 Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU5) and is designed to keep you aware of safety alerts and crime trends in your area and measures you can take to keep you and your family safe.
The men and women at Precinct 5 wish you all a Happy New Year!
The address for the new Cobb County Police Headquarters is 545 S. Fairground St. Marietta, GA. 30060
Public Safety Topic of the Month
Report It by LeadsOnline
Safe. Secure. Free.
With all the new gadgets and electronics that all of you received from Santa over the Holidays, you need to take advantage of the Report It program that is provided to you free by LeadsOnline.
The Cobb County Police Department contracts with a company called LeadsOnline, which collects data on pawned items that might have been taken in a theft or criminal activity. The system adds millions of records each day and is used by more than 4,000 law enforcement agencies to recover stolen property and solve crimes.
LeadsOnline also provides a service called Report It, which is a free, secure online service allowing citizens to record an unlimited number of serial numbers, description, and upload images of phones, electronics, and other valuables. Should those items ever be stolen, you can share your inventory list with law enforcement and with your insurance company. Citizens wanting to participate in Report It can register at reportit.leadsonline.com and begin building their personal property inventory list.
Hit and Run Accidents
All information that can be provided to the reporting officer is important when investigating Hit and Run cases. The tag number can be the most helpful but if not obtained, the following information can greatly assist the investigation:
- Make, model, and color of the vehicle;
- Any and all descriptions of the driver;
- Any distinguishing features of the vehicle;
- Aftermarket parts;
- Bumper stickers;
- Last known direction of travel;
- Time frame of the incident
Current Crime Trends
Scams are nothing new to the criminal game. One of the most common one in Cobb County is the Pine Straw Scam. The homeowner is quoted a price and about half way through completion of the job they are advised that the job will go over the quote. The homeowner assumes the increase maybe a few more hundred dollars but at the end the price is a thousand or two more. Sometimes the owner refuses to pay the ridiculous amount and a lower amount is settled on but unfortunately some feel intimidated and feel like they must pay. In this type of scam, the elderly are their target of choice.
There has been an increase of phone/internet scams. These scams vary in topic and method but the common goal is to get the victim to send them money by trickery, threats, and blackmail. They will have the victim send money through a cash app or gift card. PCT 5 recently had an Uber driver that was hired to go the victim’s house and pick up cash. These suspects are very hard to identify and trace. They will use cash apps, emails, and internet phone numbers that are set up with fictitious personal information and also use a third party who may not beware of the criminal activity.
Their internet anonymity allows them to conduct scams all over the world. It is very possible that the criminal contacting you is not even in the United States so even if somehow Law Enforcement was able to identify them, there isn’t a practical way in prosecuting.
There isn't one single scam, like the pine straw scam, we can warn you about. These criminals are very imaginative and produce some decent stories. Some common themes are:
- Impersonating law enforcement, a credit card company, banks, IRS, service companies, utility companies, your company's corporate office, human resources, and an asset protection department
- Exchanging photos using dating websites followed by blackmail
- A family member is hurt or in trouble and they are contacting you for help on their behalf
- An organized crime syndicate or cartel will kill you and your family unless payment is made
The best defense against this is awareness of scammers and your social media accounts. If you suspect anything isn’t legit, do not respond and do not send them any money! If they receive money from you, they will continue the threats or blackmail in hopes you will send them more money. If the email, phone call, or text is from a company, call that company directly to verify the message.
Your social media footprint and basic online information is generally their source for your information.
Computer savvy criminals can obtain a great deal of information about you.
What Can You Do?
- Be aware of scammers. They are out there trolling the internet. They send out thousands of scam attempts to increase their chances of someone paying.
- Choose Strong Passwords for all your online accounts and make sure to change them regularly.
- Don’t clink on links or open attachments in emails from people you don’t know.
- Be careful about what information you share on social media and online platforms, and manage your privacy settings . Remember, once posted, always posted.
- Beware of phishing scams where scammers try to trick you into giving them your personal information.
- Make a police report to document the incident for any future issues with identity fraud.
Even if you choose not to contact the police, do not pay!
Cold Weather Safety Reminders
- Minimize travel as the roads begin to ice over.
- Stay indoors during the worst part of the extreme cold.
- Keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle if you must travel.
- Check tire pressure, antifreeze levels, heater/defroster, etc.
- Learn how to shut off water valves for potential pipe bursts.
- Check on the elderly neighbors and family that may live alone.
- Don’t forget to bring pets inside.
Space Heater Safety
Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire. Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater. Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
What You Can Do to Prevent Theft
- Lock your doors, including the one from the garage.
- Keep garage doors closed-check before bed every night.
- Use motion sensor-activated lighting.
- Use surveillance cameras.
Entering Auto Prevention
- Lock your vehicles and remove items of value and items that appear to contain valuables.
- If you can’t keep them with you, secure your valuables in the trunk before reaching your location.
- Keep your vehicle locked and your purse or wallet on your person while fueling at the gas station.
- Use anti-theft mailboxes with a special locking system.
- Use security cameras.
- Do not raise the mail flag.
- Do not send cash, checks, or anything that has credit card information.
Remember to CALL 911 to report any suspicious persons or activity. If you see something, say something!
The Cobb County Police Camera Registration program is a police/community video partnership that operates on a voluntary basis with homeowners, neighborhoods and business owners who own private video surveillance systems. We encourage both businesses and residents to register their cameras online by completing the form below.
This program is intended to let our officers know where cameras are active in the county in case a crime occurs. It is not intended for active surveillance, and officers will not have direct access to homeowners' cameras. Those who register a camera will be contacted if a crime occurs in the vicinity of that camera.
Information provided by residents and businesses will be maintained in a secure database.
If you have not already signed up to receive the monthly PENS updates, please subscribe. Feel free to forward this e-mail to your HOA members and local businesses.
PENS is also sending out bulletins and alerts through its partnership with Nextdoor.com. Discover if your neighborhood is already signed up so you may join. If not, they will provide you with the necessary information.
Det. Lieutenant T.M. Fuller
Det. Sergeant T.J. Richie
Cobb County Police Department
Criminal Investigation Unit Pct. 5
4640 Dallas Highway
Powder Springs, GA 30127