Precinct 5 PENS February 2023
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.
Public Safety Topic of the Month
The increase in the popularity of home security video systems not only helps the individual homeowner with the security of their property, but it can contribute to the safety and security of the neighborhood. The “Ring Neighbors App” links together participating neighbors’ systems into a network that allows the participates to post videos of suspicious activity for others to view. You do not have to be a Ring customer or use a Ring product to upload pictures or videos to the “Ring Neighbors App”. This helps keep the neighborhood aware of any criminal activity that is afoot. These videos can also be viewed by detectives investigating these incidents and assist with identifying suspects. The “Ring Neighbors App” also allows police to map clusters of criminal activity so officers can concentrate patrols in these areas.
The more homeowners that participate in the “Ring Neighbors App” the greater chance we all have in deterring crime and keeping our community safe. Please see the included links for more information about the “Ring Neighbors App”.
What is the Ring Neighborhood APP and what can it do/FAQ
How well the Ring Neighborhood app works when you partner with the Police Department
Can the Police Department log in and look at my Cameras in my home?
Absolutely Not. Ring has gone to great lengths to ensure their customer's privacy. The only video Law Enforcement can see are the ones you share to the Neighbors App or share directly with them.
What is the benefit for me and my neighborhood?
Unfortunately, Police Officers don’t know who is a stranger in every neighborhood but YOU DO! Sharing photos and video allows detectives to link suspects to crimes but more importantly prevent crime before it happens.
How much does the Neighbors App cost?
Absolutely nothing! Ring saw the importance of creating a bridge between you, your neighbors and the police. They then created the app so everyone could come together and share information to build safer neighborhoods.
How do I get the Neighbors App?
You can download the app from the “iPhone app store” for free or from “Google play” for free.
I don’t use Ring products can I still use this app?
Yes! Once you have the app you can upload video or still photos from your handheld device. You can upload Ring video, Nest, Arlo or Smartphone pictures and video straight from your device.
Tips and Help for uploading and sharing videos and photos to your neighborhood
Current Crime Trends
Ladies and Gentlemen, our current crime trends continue to be Entering Autos. The bulk of the Entering Autos are taking place overnight and early in the morning. The majority of all the Entering Autos have been UNLOCKED vehicles with valuables including guns left inside. PLEASE remove all valuables especially guns from your vehicles every time you park and leave the vehicle. During these Entering Autos, we had several vehicles that were also stolen. The perpetrators were able to steal the vehicles because victims had left their Key Fobs inside the vehicles. Even if you hide the Key Fob it still allows the perpetrator to hit the push-button start and leave with the vehicle. Remove all keys and key fobs before leaving your vehicle. Also, double check that ALL vehicle doors are locked.
If you observe someone breaking into vehicles do not approach them and immediately call 911. From a safe place provide 911 with an accurate description of the suspects, involved vehicles, and what direction the suspect is going. NO property is worth getting hurt over.
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.
Phone / Internet Scams
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, I can warn you about. These criminals are very imaginative and produce some decent stories. Some common themes are:
- Impersonating law enforcement, credit card company, banks, IRS, service companies, utility companies , your company's corporate office, human resource, and assets protection department
- Dating websites, (the exchanging of phots then blackmailed)
- A family member is hurt or in trouble and they are contacting you for help on their behalf
- An organized crime syndicate or cartel with 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 on line 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, 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.
Evan If you choose not to contact the police, DO NOT PAY!
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!
Cobb County Camera Registry
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 J.B Wade
Det. Sergeant J.T. Rainwater
Cobb County Police Department
Criminal Investigation Unit Pct. 5
4640 Dallas Highway
Powder Springs, GA 30127