Tuesday, October 9, 2007

ATM Safety Tips

Withdrawing cash from an ATM can represent a significant risk of robbery. Certain measures can be taken to reduce your vulnerability when making an ATM transaction. Take a look at some statistics from the USDOJ, Community Oriented Policing Services.

A few studies, although they are becoming dated, have provided some data on common ATM robbery patterns. The general conclusions are as follows:

· Most robberies are committed by a lone offender–using
some type of weapon–against a lone victim.
· Most occur at night, with the highest risk between midnight and 4 a.m.
· Most involve robbing people of cash after they have made a withdrawal.
· Robberies are somewhat more likely to occur at walk-up
ATMs than at drive-through ATMs.
· About 15 percent of victims are injured.
· The average loss is between $100 and $200.

While these statistics are not particularly detailed, some information on risk assessment can be taken from them. First, most people robbed at an ATM are there alone when approached by the robber. Second, most victims are using the ATM at night, with the highest risk between midnight and 4 a.m. This time frame coincides with the closing of restaurants and bars and begs the question; how many of these victims had been drinking before using the ATM? Statistics are not kept on this, but we know alcohol can impair judgment and lessen the perception of danger. Third, fifteen percent of the victims are injured and the average loss is between $100 and $200 dollars. This is certainly not an amount of money to get injured for (if any is). Non-compliance with the robber is usually the cause of injury. This may involve attempts to gain PIN code information by the robber. Daily cash withdrawal limits can be effective in preventing excessive unauthorized withdrawals.

Here are some more ways to stay safe at an ATM.

First and foremost, trust yourself and your feelings. In over 25 years of police work, I can’t tell you how many victims reported to me that they, “felt funny about” a situation or thought someone was “suspicious”, but went ahead anyway. We like to call this hindsight and discount it. People (especially women) have a very accurate sense of danger, but don’t often trust it.
Be aware of your surroundings, especially between dusk and dawn. If you notice anything suspicious–a security light out, someone loitering nearby–consider coming back later or using a supermarket or convenience store ATM.
If using the ATM at night, take someone with you.
Withdraw enough cash for the night before you go out, especially if you think you may be drinking.
Park in a well-lit area as close as possible to the ATM.
At a drive-through ATM, be sure the doors are locked and the passenger windows are rolled up.
If you withdraw cash, put it away promptly; count it later, in private.
Put your ATM card and receipt away promptly; never leave
your receipt at the ATM.
Make sure your transactions have ended. Don’t forget that quite often the ATM will ask. “Do you want another transaction?” before ending access to your account.
Keep your PIN secret–don't write it down, and don't share
it with anyone you don't trust absolutely. Your PIN provides
access to your account.
Shield the keypad when entering your PIN to keep it from
being observed.
Avoid being too regular in your ATM use–don't repeatedly
visit the same machine at the same time, the same day of
the week.

Fall Crime Prevention Tips

The end of the summer brings with it some of the best of Baltimore, the weather, great fall events and lower electric bills. It also brings shorter daylight hours and increased opportunity for criminal activity. Most criminals don’t want to be caught, and darkness provides convenient cover for their illegal activities.

There are things we can do, as individuals and as a community to reduce our risk of becoming victims of crime. Most of these things are common sense precautions, but it never hurts to reacquaint ourselves with the basics of crime prevention.

Never leave anything of value visible in your vehicle. Tell friends visiting the same thing. I am talking about items of ANY value. Remove or conceal satellite radios, gps units, parking meter change, cd’s, gym bags, shopping bags, clothes, shoes and ball caps, etc. Remember, while something may have no value to you, it may have a street value to a criminal.
Cooler weather brings with it the urge to open windows, especially at night. Keep all street level windows closed and locked day and night. Daytime burglaries outnumber nighttime burglaries, but nighttime burglaries usually present more personal risk to the homeowner.
Keep your entry doors locked, even when home and install a wide angle “peep-hole” viewer in the door. Keep the area outside your entry door well lighted and always check the “peep-hole” BEFORE unlocking the door.
Take evening walks with friends. Walking alone after dark places you at increased risk of personal attack. While this is fairly rare in our community, it does happen. A few precautions can help reduce your risk. Contain your walk to well lighted, populated areas. Walk with your dog or offer to walk a neighbor’s dog. Don’t walk wearing headphones or if you must listen to music, wear only one ear bud. Be aware of your environment and heed warning signs.
As a community member, report suspicious people and activities, illegally parked vehicles, unsecured abandoned properties, illegal dumping and trash. Remember, signs of public disorder tell criminals the people on this street don’t care.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Inmate Escapes

Monday, August 06, 2007WBAL Radio and The Associated Press
Maryland correction officials say that a Baltimore inmate has escaped near the downtown courthouse after getting out of his leg restraints.
Spokesman George Gregory says 24-year-old Marvin Jordan was last seen running in the 100 block of South Guilford Avenue.
He says the Baltimore man was serving a four-year sentence for robbery with a deadly weapon.
As Jordan was being escorted back to a prison van, Gregory says he got out of his leg restraints and got away from the officer. He says the officer pursued him but lost sight of Jordan in the downtown area.
more here

Officer Involved Shooting

Tuesday, August 07, 2007WBAL Radio and The Associated Press
A city police officer is on administrative duty after an early morning shooting following a call to a domestic disturbance.
A woman reported to police she and a 1 year old were assaulted by her boyfriend at a home on Thorndale Avenue.
Police spotted the suspect based on a description.
The officer fired at a suspect on Garrison Avenue. But the circumstances surrounding the shooting are still under investigation, according to Sterling Clifford of the city police department.
Police say an officer shot a man in his 20s in the leg after he ran into an alley.
The shooting victim was taken to a hospital. The injury is said to be non life-threatening.
The officer was not seriously hurt.
more here

Friday, August 3, 2007

Elderly Woman Raped in SE Baltimore

As police continue their search for the rapist who targeted an 88-year old cancer patient in Southeast Baltimore, many are left wondering who could possible commit such a crime. "I just can't imagine someone doing something like that," said Virgil Harvey, a taxi driver who has served elderly customers in the area for 38 years, “He wouldn’t be playing with a full deck I wouldn’t think.” Psychiatrist Jack Vaeth says like most rapists, the man responsible for Wednesday morning’s attack did not commit the crime for sex. "You have an individual not for sexual desire, but powerless in society and very angry so looking for victim so for once in their life they're in control." Vaeth says each year in this country, about 10,000 people over the age of 65 will become the victims of rape, and in two-thirds of those cases, the rapists elect to rob the victims as an afterthought. The rapist in Southeast Baltimore demanded money from the victim after the assault, and left the house with $6. Vaeth offers a detailed, criminal profile of the rapists capable of targeting one of the most vulnerable segments of our society. "They're individuals who usually commit their crimes a few blocks from their homes. They tend to be unemployed, undereducated, socially inept and sexually incompetant, and many suffer a drug addiction where they grab every nickel and dime they can get ahold of." Vaeth says rapists who target the elderly tend to strike again, but are often easier to catch than other sexual offenders. He says they are compulsive and pay little attention to the evidence they leave behind.
more here

City's Top Attorney Chides Kraft

BALTIMORE - Baltimore City State’s Attorney Patricia Jessamy has a message for Councilman James Kraft.

Grow up.

“Councilman Kraft, please grow up,” Jessamy wrote in a letter dated Tuesday. “Stop being a petulant ‘do nothing’ politician and represent the interest of your constituents. I am willing to work with you, but will not under any circumstances tolerate your attacks.”
Kraft drew Jessamy’s ire with a series of letters demanding she get tougher on violent crime in his Southeast District.
Kraft wrote a July 16 letter to Jessamy that he later released to the media under the title “Councilman Kraft calls on State’s Attorney for full prosecution of violent crimes.”
more here

National Night Out

by Mary Helen Sprechernewsroom@baltimoreguide.com
If the latest trend in crime prevention is that of that of civilians being proactive (citizens on patrol groups, auxiliary police programs, etc.), then National Night Out must be those civilians’ annual convention.This year’s event, scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 7, is described by the National Association of Town Watch as “a unique crime and drug prevention event,” which involves neighbors holding events outdoors, thereby making their area less hospitable to the criminal element.The following local organizations have contacted the Guide in response to a request for information about NNO activities. (Note that unless otherwise specified, events are to be held on National Night Out, Tuesday, Aug. 7).
more here

Southern District's Officer of the Month

The Southern Police District’s Officer of the Month is Officer Kareem Reed. According to Major Michael McDonald, district commander, Reed has been a member of the Department for less than two years and “has consistently displayed excellent instinct and ability.”Reed is assigned to the Southern District Operations Unit, Flex squad, responsible for enforcement and investigations in areas of the district in response to violent crime.
more here

Candidate Mitchell's Father Quits Campaign

By John Fritze Sun reporter
August 3, 2007
Dr. Keiffer J. Mitchell, father of Baltimore mayoral candidate Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr., spent more than $40,000 of his son's campaign funds for personal expenses over several months and resigned yesterday as his campaign treasurer after the errant spending was discovered, according to a statement from the campaign released to The Sun.In one instance, the elder Mitchell spent more than $14,000 to pay for his wife's stay at a Towson hotel as she recovered from knee surgery, Mitchell campaign sources said.An additional $19,000 in checks were made payable to cash or wound up in unknown hands. Additional money was spent on insurance and house repair work.
more here

Fatality Becomes City's 190th Murder

By Gus G. Sentementes Sun reporter
8:00 AM EDT, August 3, 2007
Baltimore police reported that a man was fatally shot early this morning in East Baltimore, the city's fourth homicide victim within 24 hours, and another man was seriously wounded in an unrelated shooting.The fatal shooting occurred about 1:30 a.m. in the 3600 block of E. Lombard St., in the Baltimore Highlands neighborhood. Officers found the man suffering from at least one gunshot wound to his head, police said. The man's name and additional details were not immediately available.He was the city's 190th homicide victim this year.
more here