Harwood Heights - http://www.harwoodheights.org/departments/police/prevention.asp
Take a Bite Out of Crime

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One of the most important goals of a Police Department is to supply information to the citizens on how to prevent crime from taking place. This page will give you some simple and important ways to protect you, your family, your property and for the business owners, your business.

At the end of the page you will find several Internet web sites that will supply you with even more information.

Crime Statistics

HARWOOD HEIGHTS CRIMES STATS 2012-2015   

Type 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Murders 0 0 0 0
(per 100,000) 0 0 0 0
Rapes 1 1 0 1
(per 100,000) 11.6 11.5 0 11.5
Robberies 3 3 1 5
(per 100,000) 34.7 34.6 11.5 57.67
Assaults 4 8 5 2
(per 100,000) 46.2 92.2 57.67 23.06
Burglaries 19 24 23 31
(per 100,000) 219.6 276.7 265.2 357.55
Thefts 102 109 102 172
(per 100,000) 1,178.8 1,256.5 1,178.8 1,983.8
Auto thefts 6 10 10 12
(per 100,000) 69.3 115.3 115.3 138.4
Arson 0 0 0 0
(per 100,000) 0 0 0 0
City-data.com crime rate (higher means more crime, U.S. average = 291.8) Harwood Heights is well below. 100.4 121.0 112.0 155.8




Home Safety
  • Install an alarm to cover all doors, windows and points of entry
  • Install GOOD locks including dead bolts with at least a 1" throw
  • When leaving on vacation stop all deliveries such as newspapers and mail.
  • Install spot lights with sensors that turn on automatically when someone approaches, or use lights to keep your home well lit.
  • Keep bushes and shrubbery around the house trimmed so it will not conceal someone trying to enter through a window. Do not allow anyone into your house unless you are sure of their identity. Check servicemen's identification and if a stranger asks to use your phone, have them remain outside and you make the call for them.
  • Engrave your valuables with your drivers license number or social security number. An engraver can be borrowed from the Police Department
  • When leaving home for even short periods of time lock all doors and windows.
  • Don't hide a key to your house outside. That is the first thing burglars look for

When you leave on vacation

  • Do not leave just one light burning when you are on vacation. Have timers turn different lights on and off in different parts of the house giving the appearance that someone is home.
  • Notify the Police so an extra watch can be kept on your house while you are away, and the phone number of someone to call in the event of an emergency
  • Leave a key with a neighbor with information on where you can be contacted in the event of an emergency.
  • Make arrangements to have your lawn mowed while you are away
Vehicle Protection
  • Install an alarm that senses motion and any attempts to enter a door, window or hood. Items such as "The Club" can increase the safety of your car.
  • Lock your car whenever you leave it no matter for how short a period of time. NEVER leave your car running when you leave it for even a moment.
  • Never leave valuables in view in the car. Lock all valuables and packages in the trunk. Don't leave purses or briefcases on the seat as you drive, hide them or put them on the floor
  • When driving keep doors locked and windows rolled up as far as possible to help prevent theft of the car or its contents
  • When parking your car in a parking lot at night try to park it under a light
Business Protection
  • Install an alarm to cover all entry points with infra red and motion detectors
  • Make frequent cash drops to keep the amount of money in the cash registers to a minimum
  • Keep small high price items under lock and key preferably in cases with shatter proof glass
  • Practice good customer service. To an honest customer it means you care. To a thief it means someone is watching me
  • Utilize closed circuit cameras especially covering cash registers and dead corners
  • Supply the police with a current list of who to call in the event of an emergency
  • In the event of a robbery, cooperate and obtain a description of the offender, the direction they left the place of business and a description of any vehicle used and the license plate of the vehicle
Personal Protection & Safety
  • The key to your personal safety is not to make yourself a target. For the most part criminals pick the easiest target not the most difficult. So by following a few simple rules you can greatly diminish the chances of becoming a victim of a crime.
  • Walk facing traffic so cars cannot pull up behind you
  • Stay alert-Be aware of others around you and threatening situations
  • Maintain a confident posture and attitude
  • Walk in well lit areas, avoid dark secluded areas whenever possible
  • Keep your purse close to your body and keep a firm grip on it
  • Don't flaunt expensive jewelry
  • Have your key in hand as you approach your car
  • Never pick up hitchhikers or hitchhike yourself
  • Always have emergency money for cab fare, bus fare, or a telephone call
  • If you feel like you are being followed while driving, drive to the nearest police station or open public place and contact the police. Try to obtain the license plate number of the vehicle for the police. If you are on foot walk quickly or run to the nearest public place and contact the police
  • If you car breaks down, raise the hood, put on your flashers and/or use flares. Remain in your locked car. When someone stops ask them to call the police.

Some Useful Crime Prevention and Safety Web Sites

Internet Safety

In today's world, the internet plays a vital role in supplying a wealth of information on just about any subject to both businesses and individuals. However it can also be filled with harmful material and hidden dangers. But, there are safeguards and guidelines that can be followed to reduce these negative areas.

First of all, what is the internet? The internet or World Wide Web was created in the 1960's as a military project to more or less keep tabs on the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It is really nothing more than a group of computers connected by telephone lines. Information is created on what is called a web page and stored in what is known as a server. Each of these web pages has what is known as a URL or internet address.

When you enter this URL address in what is called a web browser it is retrieved and you can view the information. Today there are literally tens of millions of web pages available and this number is growing everyday.

In addition to the Internet there are also what are called Service Providers such as America Online, Prodigy and CompuServe. These differ from the internet in that they not only allow you to surf the internet but also supply their customers with information supplied just by them. Both the internet and the individual service providers also supply what is known as E-Mail or electronic mail. Now, instead of writing a letter, putting a stamp on it and mailing it you can correspond with others almost instantaneously as long as they are online. You can even attach electronic images known as GIFS or JPEG's to your e-mail that the recipient can download and view. You can also go to "Chat Rooms" where you can meet people and talk about any subject under the sun.

At the present time there are no restrictions as to what type of information a person can put on the web. That is why you need to protect you and your family from material that can be harmful. In addition, you also need to know how to protect yourselves from meeting or falling pray to the wrong type of person. Remember that you really never know who you are talking to online unless you know them personally. The utmost caution should be used when meeting someone that you have met online. This goes for adults as well as the kids. Here are some guidelines that should be followed everyday:

For the Parents

  • Talk with your children about the internet letting them know the dangers and what they are and are not allowed to do on the web.
  • Learn to "Surf" the web yourself. It's not only educational and fun but it will also give you the ability to understand what your child is doing online.
  • Allow your child's natural sense of wonder and discovery to come out but temper it with your experience and advice.
  • Keep the computer in the family room or in a location that the whole family spends time in. This will keep the kids from doing things online that aren't appropriate or dangerous.
  • From time to time sit with your child while they are online so you can discuss what they are finding. It can make learning fun for the whole family.
  • Monitor the time your child spends online. Surfing the web can make time go by very quickly so find an amount of time they can be online that you both can live with.
  • Monitor your phone bill for any unusual charges. Some online sites cost money and many times are billed to your phone bill.
  • If your child creates a "Profile" (online information sheet) about themselves read it to make sure it is proper and check it from time to time. Make sure that the profile does not contain personal information such as your last name, phone number or address.
  • Use Web blocking software and set your online providers parental controls to help stop your children from viewing or downloading inappropriate material.
  • Learn how to use a computer and know where to check in the computer to see the type of sites your children have been visiting on the Web.
  • Know the screen names of those your children talk to online.
  • If your child notifies you that someone online has made improper advances or sent pornographic materials to them notify the police immediately.

For the Children

  • NEVER agree to meet someone you met online unless your parents give their permission and ALWAYS pick a public place.
  • NEVER give out personal information about yourself such as where you live, your phone number, last name or where you go to school.
  • ALWAYS notify you parents if someone makes any lewd, unwanted or threatening advances, sends pornographic images, or any other illegal activity towards you.
  • Don't send any scanned pictures of yourself to anyone unless you have your parents permission.
  • If you receive any mean or unwanted messages don't answer it and tell your parents.
  • Don't go to a web site that costs extra unless you have your parents permission.

For Everyone

  • NEVER download anything unless you know the person who sent it. So call "hackers" can send programs that will steal your password or credit card information. No matter how good it sounds DON'T DO IT!
  • NEVER give out your password or credit card information to anyone. Your online provider will never ask for it. This is another trick hackers use to tap into your computer and steal information. If you make an online purchase and want to use your credit card make sure the company you are sending it to uses a secure server. This will encrypt you card number so it cannot be seen by others.
  • Most online providers have E-Mail preferences. You can set these to block unwanted "Spam" mail (unsolicited E-Mail)
  • Online providers have certain rules that must be followed. Make sure you follow them or they can cancel your account. If someone violates these rules by sending improper material or trying to get your password you should report it to the proper department.

Netiquette

  • Don't TYPE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. In online terms this is like shouting, is considered rude and is very hard to read.
  • Be polite. Act online just like you should act in public.
  • If you enter a chat room don't jump right in. Watch and see what is being talked about before joining in and don't hog the conversation.
  • If you are a veteran online be tolerant of "newbies" or newcomers to the online world. Remember you were new once yourself.

Some Helpful Internet Safety Web Sites:

Gang Information

Gangs are no longer a word associated with the inner city. Today gangs are found in the most affluent suburbs as well as the largest cities. There are no walls, no borders and no shields to keep gangs from coming to your doorstep. As a parent you should be asking yourself one question. "How can I prevent my child from ending up in a gang?" Finding the answer starts with EDUCATION. You need to know:

What is a Gang?

In general, a gang is a group with a leader whose activities are either illegal or, at least, threatening to the community. Gangs can injure and even kill people, destroy property, steal, and deal in drugs and weapons. Gangs cause fear in the neighborhood, which in turn can cause business and residents to be driven out.

Gang members can come from all ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds. Most gang members are male however female gang members are growing rapidly. Most are in their teens or twenties but gang members can be less than 10 or even in their sixties or seventies.

Why do kids join gangs?

The reasons for joining a gang do differ but the most common reason is they want to feel important and to be part of a group. They join for excitement, money and to be with friends. They also join because the gang meets basic human needs and offers socialization skills they did not get at home or at school. The better you understand and try to meet your child's needs, the less your child will go elsewhere to fulfill those needs. That is why it is so important for all parents to be aware of gangs and the possibility that gangs may try to influence your child.

What are the signs that my child might be in a gang?

As a parent, you may not be aware that your child is involved with a gang. You may also be surprised to know just how much your child knows about gangs, or that they are what is known as "wanna-bes," or someone who wants to belong to a gang. You should constantly be watching for these patterns in your child:

  • Changes types of friends
  • Changes in dressing habits, including getting tattoos and/or wearing the same color combinations all the time
  • Uses strange hand signals, a new nickname, or unfamiliar slang vocabulary
  • Writes or has gang symbols on books or clothing or in drawings
  • Is secretive about activities and/or ignores curfews
  • Has extra cash from unknown sources
  • Possesses a weapon
  • Shows declining interest in school, family and hobbies
  • Has been arrested or detained by the police

If you see any of these signs in your child do not automatically assume that your child is part of a gang, nor should you accuse them of being in a gang. You should however, use these signs as an incentive to sit down with and talk with your child about the dangers of gangs.

How can I prevent my child from joining a gang?

  • Show your child lots of affection, and spend time together every day
  • Know the activities in which your children are involved, and help them get involved in the arts, athletics, or whatever activities interest them. Take an active role in their interests
  • Get to know your child's friends and their families
  • Emphasize the importance of education, and help your kids to do their best in school. Don't let your child drop out!
  • Praise your children for doing well, and encourage them to use their abilities to the fullest
  • Let your child know that they don't need a gang. Talk with your child about your values and why gangs are dangerous. And also listen to your child.

What can the community do to help prevent gangs?

Communities need to take an active part in preventing gangs from gaining a foothold. Cooperation between the community leaders, police, and schools can have a positive effect on preventing gangs and gang activities. Some of the things a community can do are:

  • Create positive alternatives. Have after-school and weekend programs such as sports and tutoring
  • Parents should find out the extent of the communities gang problem. Talk with the police and attend any police/community meetings
  • Groups such as the PTA, YMCAs, YWCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, and the Scouts should take an active participation in working with the kids in a positive manner
  • Join a neighborhood watch and if one does not exist work with the police in forming one.
  • Notify the police of any graffiti or suspicious behavior. Graffiti is used by gangs to mark their territory as well as warning or sending messages to other gangs. If you see graffiti on your property remove it immediately. Leaving it up tells the gangs that you are giving in to them. Removing it tells the gang you won't tolerate it and they are not welcome in your neighborhood.

Harwood Heights has an ordinance that requires graffiti be removed by the owner of the property or a citation can be issued.

If you notice any gang activity in town, gang graffiti, or have a question regarding gangs please e-mail us at ogradyj@harwoodheights.org

Scams & Cons

Most people don't think they could ever be tricked into giving up their hard earned money for some phony deal. Unfortunately it happens everyday to the very same people who thought it would never happen to them. Con artists are experts in human nature and they know just how to find and take advantage of people's weak points.

The key to not being taken is to follow some very simple rules.

  • Never accept unsolicited "free" inspections.
  • Get several written estimates for work you need done
  • Ask your friends and neighbors for the names of companies that they have had favorable results with
  • Never allow a stranger in your house
  • Be suspicious of high-pressure sales tactics and demands for cash payments
  • Check out every prospective company with your local Better Business Bureau
  • If it sounds too good to be true it probably is
  • Never part with your hard earned money until you have completely checked out the company or individual

Here are some web sites that will give you even more information:

Date Rape Drugs

Rapists have discovered a new way to overpower their victims. It isn't a knife or a gun, it is a group of drugs that render the victim incapable of fighting back or resisting and, often times leaves the victim with no memory of what has happened. These drugs when dissolved are colorless, odorless and many times tasteless... they can also be deadly.

How Does It Happen?

It can happen anywhere, at a club, a party, a social event or even your home. All it takes is for someone to slip a drug like Rohypnol or GHB in your drink. As you consume the drink the drug begins to take effect. You feel weak, helpless and can even fall into an unconscious state. You are sexually assaulted and when the drug wears off you cannot remember anything because the drug often causes amnesia. Because these drugs are combined with alcohol they are extremely dangerous and, have on occasion have been lethal.

What is Rohypnol?

Rohypnol is the brand name for flunitrazepam, a benzodiazephine drug. It is in the same family of medications as Valium and Xanax but it has never been approved for any medical use in the United States. It is illegal to manufacture, distribute, or possess Rohypnol in this country. It is most commonly found in tablet form but has been ground into a powder and has also been found in liquid form.

What Are Rohypnol's Effects?

Rohypnol is a potent and fast-acting sedative. Within twenty to thirty minutes of ingestion the physical effects of the drug will be noticeable. These can include drowsiness, confusion, impaired judgement and reduced levels of consciousness. When mixed with alcohol the combination can produce extremely low blood pressure, respiratory depression, difficulty breathing, coma or even death.

Street Names For Rohypnol

Rohypnol goes by many names on the street; Ruffies, Roofies, Rophies, Roches, La Rochas, Rope, Rib, Forget Pill, Poor Man's Quaalude, R-2's, Circles, Dulcitas, Whiteys, Trip and Fall, Mind Erasers, Mexican Valium, Pappas and Potatoes.

What is GHB?

GHB is gamma-hydroxybutyrate. It has been tested for potential medical uses in the United States, but has never been approved for any use outside of FDA-approved research trials. GHB also has been promoted for body building but in 1990, the FDA issued a warning to consumers to stop using GHB because of its numerous deleterious effects. GHB is most often found in a clear liquid form that is colorless and odorless but it does have a "salty" taste to it. It has also be found in a white crystalline powder form.

What are the Effects of GHB?

GHB is a powerful synthetic drug that acts as a depressant on the central nervous system. It rapidly takes effect and its effects can be felt within 15 minutes in ingestion. It can cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, seizures, respiratory depression, in tense drowsiness, amnesia, unconsciousness, coma or even death.

GHB is perhaps even more dangerous than Rohypnol in that even a slight overdose can be deadly. It is often homemade and the slightest error in the quantity of ingredients can has disastrous results.

Street Names For GHB

GHB is also known as Grievous Bodily Harm, Liquid X, Liquid E, Liquid Ecstasy, Easy Lay, G, Vita-G, G-Juice, Georgia Home Boy, Great Hormones, Somatomax, Bedtime , , Scoop, Soap, Gook, Gamma 10 and Energy Drink

Signs That You May Have Been Drugged

  • If you feel a lot more intoxicated than your usual response to the amount of, alc,, ohol you consumed.
  • If you wake up very hung over, feeling "fuzzy," experiencing memory lapse, and can't account for a period of time.
  • If you remember taking a drink but cannot recall what happened for a period of time after you consumed the drink.
  • If you feel as though someone had sex with you but you can't remember any or all of the incident.

What To Do If It Happens To You

  • Get to a safe place and get help immediately.
  • Call the police
  • Preserve as much physical evidence as possible. Do not urinate, shower, bathe, douche, or throw away the clothing you were wearing during the incident. If possible save any other materials that may provide evidence, such as the glass that held your drink.
  • Get to a hospital emergency room as soon as possible for an examination and evidence collection. Inform the hospital staff that you may have consumed one of these drugs so a urine sample can be obtained and any evidence found during the examination can be saved.
  • Call a rape crisis center for information and support.

How To Protect Yourself

  • Don't drink beverages that you did not open yourself
  • Don't share or exchange drinks with anyone
  • Don't take a drink from a punch bowl
  • Don't drink from a container that is being passed around
  • If possible bring your own drinks to parties
  • If someone offers you a drink from the bar, accompany the person to the bar so you can watch the drink being poured and carry the drink yourself
  • Don't leave your drink unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom or making a phone call
  • Discard any drink that has been left unattended
  • Don't drink anything that has an unusual taste or appearance (salty taste, excessive foam, unexplained residue)

Watch Out For Each Other

  • Appoint a designated "sober" person when you go to parties or clubs so everyone can be checked from time to time
  • If anyone appears to have possibly been drugged or shows any of the signs mentioned get medical help immediately
  • If you see someone "dosing" a drink, intervene. Warn potential victims and discard the drink and call the police
  • If you know that "dosing" is, or has occurred at certain bars or clubs warn your friends of these high risk places
Missing Children