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Safety Tips

Entering Autos

The primary cause for the rate of Entering Autos is individuals leaving valuables in their unattended vehicles.

Preventing items being stolen from your vehicles requires 2 things:

  1. Taking everything of value out of your vehicle
  2. Locking your vehicle

Leaving valuables in clear view in a locked car will most likely result in a broken window. Please do not leave firearms inside vehicles. Laptop computers are in high demand and very valuable on the black market. Other highly sought items include iPhones, Satellite Radios, GPS Navigation systems, purses and wallets. Leaving them in your car will subject them to theft.

Vehicle Theft Prevention

The most current and prevalent crime trend in Metro Atlanta is a particular type of theft called “sliders.” Criminals target your unlocked vehicles while you are distracted pumping gas at convenience stores.

  • While distracted, they will “slide” into the vehicle and drive off. 
  • They steal purses, wallets, and keys that are often left in the car. 
  • If financial cards are taken, they are promptly used at stores or online. 
  • Things you can do to help protect yourself from falling victim to “sliders” 
  • Stay alert to your surroundings. Watch for vehicles at gas stations that are neither at a pump nor in a parking space. 
  • Pay particular attention to a vehicle that stops parallel to yours while you are pumping gas. 
  • Pay attention to your vehicle instead of watching the fuel pump. 
  • Lock your vehicle while pumping fuel at gas stations. 
  • Do not leave your wallet, purse, or keys inside your vehicle. 

"Sliders"

Criminals target your unlocked vehicles while you are distracted pumping gas at convenience stores. They steal purses, wallets, and keys that are often left on the passenger seat of cars. If bank cards are taken, they are promptly used at stores or online. There are things you can do to help protect yourself from falling victim to these sorts of crimes:

  • Stay alert to your surroundings
    • These crimes have been primarily committed by teenaged young men operating out of newer model high-end vehicles that are stolen from other incidents.
    • Watch for vehicles at gas stations that are neither at a pump nor in a parking space.
    • Pay particular attention to a vehicle that stops parallel to yours while you are pumping gas.
    • Pay attention to your vehicle instead of watching the gallon and cost gauges increase on the pumps.
  • Lock your vehicle while pumping fuel at gas stations.
  • Do not leave your wallet, purse, or keys inside your vehicle.

What to do if you find yourself a victim of a “slider,” or witness one of these crimes:

  • DO NOT attempt to engage these subjects. While these crimes have not turned violent, the suspects are suspected gang members and are known to carry firearms.
  • Try to get a good description of the suspects and vehicle. Tag numbers, damage or stickers on cars, tattoos, scars, hairstyles, and clothing are all helpful in attempting to identify these criminals.
  • When they leave the parking lot, note their direction of travel.
  • Call the police and report the incident.
    • Let the 911 dispatcher know any descriptions you obtained and the direction of travel.
  • Cancel your credit cards – While speaking with the companies have them give you your complete card number and pertinent information of any fraudulent charges. Having the date, time, and address of a fraudulent transaction helps investigators tremendously.

Additionally, we have found that the same suspects involved in “sliders” have simultaneously been in neighborhoods looking for open garages and unlocked vehicles. They will steal wallets and purses, but will also steal a vehicle if the keys are in it.

  • Keep your garage doors closed while you are not present in the garage, even while inside your home.
  • Continue to be alert; it is not uncommon for these suspects to enter your garage while you simply run inside your house to grab a last-minute item.
  • Even if your car is in your garage, lock your vehicle’s doors and take the keys inside.

Thefts at Fitness Centers

If you must take your valuables such as purses, wallets or laptops with you, secure them in your trunk prior to arriving at your final destination. Doing so after you arrive, only announcing to everyone what you are doing.

The other theft problem at fitness centers involves thefts from lockers while the victim is working out. Sometimes the lockers are left unlocked, but another tactic used by the perpetrator is to remove the victim’s lock, take items from their locker and then replace the lock with a different one. This tactic buys them time to use stolen credit cards before the victim can discover that they have been taken.

The only real solution to the above incidents would be to not even take valuables to the fitness centers.

Active Shooter Guidelines for Employees

FTC Parenting Guide For Kids Online Activities

The opportunities kids have to socialize online come with benefits and risks. Adults can help reduce these risks by talking to kids about making safe and responsible decisions. The Cobb County Police Department’s Technology Based Crimes Unit would like to share a few tips from the Federal Trade Commission to assist you in identifying some of the detriments that are out there lurking.

Help Prevent Cyberbullying

What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is bullying or harassment that happens online. It may occur in an email, text message, a game or on a social networking site. It might involve spreading rumors or images posted on someone’s profile to be passed around for others to see or creating a group or page to make a person feel left out.

Talk to your kids about bullying

Talk to your kids about bullying.

Tell your kids that they can't hide behind the words they type and the images they post. Bullying is a lose-lose situation. Hurtful messages not only make the target feel bad but also make the sender look bad. Often they can bring scorn from peers and punishment from authorities. 

Ask your kids to let you know if an online message or image makes them feel threatened or hurt. If you fear for your child's safety, contact the police.

Read the comments and replies. Cyberbullying often involves mean-spirited comments and replies. Check out your kid's page from time to time to see what you find.

Recognize the signs of a cyberbully

Could your kid be the bully? Look for signs of bullying behavior, such as creating mean images of another child. Keep in mind that you are a model for your children. Kids learn from adults' gossip and other behaviors.

Help stop cyberbullying

Most kids don’t bully, and there’s no reason for anyone to put up with it. If your child sees cyberbullying happening to someone else, encourage him or her to try to stop it by telling the bully to stop and by not engaging or forwarding anything. Researchers say that bullying usually stops pretty quickly when peers intervene on behalf of the victim. One way to help stop bullying online is to report it to the site or network where you see it.

What to do About a Cyberbully

Don't react to the bully. If your child is targeted by a cyberbully, keep a cool head. Remind your child that most people realize bullying is wrong. Tell your child not to respond in kind. Instead, encourage him or her to work with you to save the evidence and talk to you about it. If the bullying persists, share the record with school officials or local law enforcement.

Protect your child’s profile. If your child finds a profile that was created or altered without his or her permission, contact the site to have it taken down.

Block or delete the bully. If the bullying involves instant messaging or another online service that requires a "friend" or "buddy" list, delete the bully from the lists or block their username or email address.

Kids and Computer Security

Teaching Computer Security

Talk to your kids about:

  • Protecting their personal information. Social Security numbers, account numbers, and passwords are examples of information to keep private.
  • Watching out for "free" stuff. Free games, ringtones, or other downloads can hide malware. Tell your kids not to download anything unless it is a trusted source and they have scanned it with security software.
  • Using strong email passwords and protect them. The longer the password, the harder it is to crack. Personal information, your login name, common words, or adjacent keys on the keyboard are not safe passwords. Kids can protect their passwords by not sharing them with anyone, including their friends.

Also, be sure your family computers are protected by reputable security software and use these basic computer security practices.

P2P File Sharing

Some kids share music, games, or software online. Peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing allows people to share these kinds of files through an informal network of computers running the same software. P2P file-sharing has risks:

  • You could accidentally provide many people with access to your private files.
  • If your kids download copyrighted material, you could get mired in legal issues.
  • A shared file could hide spyware, malware, or pornography.

Here are some tips to help your kids share files safely:

  • Install file-sharing software properly. Activate the proper settings so that nothing private is shared.
  • Before your kids open or play any file they’ve downloaded, advise them to use security software to scan it. Make sure the security software is up-to-date and running when the computer is connected to the internet.

Phishing

Phishing is when scam artists send fake text, email, or pop-up messages to get people to share their personal and financial information. Criminals use the information to commit identity theft.

Here are tips you can share with your kids to help them avoid a phishing scam:

  • Don't reply to a text, email, or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, and don't follow any links in the message.
  • Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails you receive, regardless of who sent them. Unexpected files may contain malware.

Get your kids involved, so they can develop their scam “antennas” and careful internet habits. Look for "teachable moments" — if you get a phishing message, show it to your kids. A demonstration can help them recognize a potential phishing scam and help them understand that messages on the internet aren't always what they seem.

Apps

Do you, or your kids, download "apps" to a phone or social networking page? Downloading may give the app's developers access to personal information that's not related to the purpose of the app. The developers may share the information they collect with marketers or other companies. Suggest that your kids check the privacy policy and their privacy settings to see what information the app can access. And consider this: Is finding out which cartoon character you are really worth sharing the details of your life or your children's?

Kids and Mobile Phones

What age is appropriate for a kid to have a cell phone?

That’s something for you and your family to decide. Consider your child’s age, personality and maturity and your family’s circumstances. Is your child responsible enough to follow the rules set by you and the school? When you decide your children are ready for a cell phone, teach them to think about safety and responsibility.

Decide on options and features for your kid's phone

Your mobile phone company and the phone itself should give you some choices for privacy settings and child safety controls. Most carriers allow parents to turn off features, like web access, texting, or downloading. Some cell phones are made especially for children. They're designed to be easy to use and have features like limited internet access, minute management, number privacy, and emergency buttons.

  • Be smart about smartphones.
  • Many phones offer web access and mobile apps. If your children are going to use a phone and you're concerned about what they might find online, you can choose a phone with limited internet access

Get familiar with social mapping

Many mobile phones now have GPS technology installed: kids with these phones can pinpoint where their friends are — and be pinpointed by their friends. Advise your kids to use these features only with friends they know in person and trust, and not to broadcast their location to the world, 24-7. Also, some carriers offer GPS services that let parents map their kid's location.

Develop cell phone rules

Explain what you expect. Talk to your kids about when and where it's appropriate to use their cell phones. You also may want to establish rules for responsible use. Do you allow calls or texting at the dinner table? Do you have rules about cell phone use at night? Should they give you their cell phones while they're doing homework, or when they're supposed to be sleeping?

Don't stand for mobile bullying. Kids can use mobile phones to bully and harass others. Talk to your kids about treating others the same way they want to be treated. The manners and ethics you've taught them are to apply on phones as well.

Set an example. It's illegal to drive while texting or surfing or talking on the phone without a hands-free device in many states, including Georgia, but it's dangerous everywhere. Set an example for your kids. Talk to them about the dangers and consequences of distracted driving.

Mobile sharing and networking

Networking and sharing on-the-go can present unique opportunities and challenges. These tools can foster creativity and fun, but they could cause problems related to personal reputation and safety.

Use care when sharing photos and videos. Most mobile phones now have a camera and video capability, making it easy for teens to capture and share every moment. Encourage your teens to think about their privacy and that of others before they share photos and videos via cell phone. Get the okay of the photographer or the person in the shot before posting videos or photos. It could be embarrassing and even unsafe. It's easier to be smart upfront about what media they share at the outset than to do damage control later.

Use good judgment in mobile social networking. Many social networking sites have a feature that allows users to check their profiles and post comments from their phones, allowing access from anywhere. Filters you've installed on your home computer won't limit what kids can do on the phone. If your teens are using a mobile phone, talk to them about using good sense when they're social networking from it.

RUN

When an active shooter is in your vicinity:

  • If there is an escape path, attempt to evacuate.
  • Evacuate whether others agree to or not.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Help others escape if possible.
  • Prevent others from entering the area.
  • Call 9-1-1 when you are at a safe distance.

HIDE

If an evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide:

  • Lock and/or blockade the door.
  • Silence your cell phone.
  • Hide behind or under large objects staying low to the floor.
  • Turn off the lights, close the blinds.
  • Do not go to a Shelter-In-Place site.
  • Remain very quiet.
  • Call 911 as soon as safely possible.

FIGHT

As a last resort, and only if your life is in danger:

  • Attempt to incapacitate the shooter.
  • Act with physical aggression.
  • Improvise weapons.
  • Commit to your actions

911

When law enforcement arrives:

  • Remain calm and do exactly as the police direct you to do.
  • Keep your hands empty and visible at all times.
  • Do not get in the officers way.
  • First arriving officers will not stop to assist the injured or evacuate personnel.