COMMUNITY SAFETY FORUM
1 Q&A community concerns
2 Lecture/Discussion topics:
The most common crimes in Sausalito are property crimes. Violent crime is minimal, but personal safety should always be a concern. When you get into a car and put on your seat belt, do you fear an imminent crash? Of course not! However, we do so in a businesslike manner to stay safe. Protecting yourself from criminals should be treated the same. If you are aware and alert, you will avoid most crime before it ever occurs. Being attentive also raises your confidence level, lowers your fear and promotes a happier, healthier life.
3 Common crimes and how to avoid them:
How do we avoid being the victim of a vehicle burglary? Easily! If there is no temptation, the thief will typically move along to the next car.
Do not have any containers or bags in view! Even if a bag is empty, the thief doesn’t know that.
Money, phone charging cords, GPS, Fastrak devices are easily carried and are tempting targets. The best strategy is to have your vehicle clean and devoid of all property.
ATM machines present opportunities to thieves and robbers. The best defense is to be aware of who is around you. If there are any persons loitering without purpose or if someone quickly walks up behind you as you approach the ATM, continue walking.
If someone threatens or demands money, give it to them. No money is worth your safety.
If someone stands behind you while you are operating the machine, block their view of the keypad and screen with your body. A common theft strategy is called “shoulder surfing”, which means the suspect will try to look over your shoulder to observe you entering your PIN code, check your balance, etc.
Check the card slot! Grab ahold and give the card slot a tug. A common theft strategy is to place a fraudulent card reader on top of the legitimate one. This applies to all credit machines, including gas pumps and grocery store self checkouts!
Once you receive your cash, place it directly into a wallet or pocket. Exposed cash is a signal to thieves that you are not paying attention and are an easy victim.
The most common fraud schemes today use tactics that instill fear and impose a time constraint to cloud logical thinking. If someone is pressuring you to send money, it’s a scam!
If anyone ever says you can pay in gift cards, it’s a scam!
If the IRS, FBI, Court system, of Law Enforcement contact you demanding money immediately, it’s a scam! Have a loved one help you call your local police agency and they will help verify this.
If Amazon, PG&E, or other business contact you with an unexpected charge or bill, it’s likely a scam.
Fraud generally occurs via email or phone. Occasionally it will involve mail. It is almost never done in person.
NEVER respond directly to a suspicious email. This is how you load viruses onto your computer. Have a loved one help you locate an alternate contact for the business.
DO NOT give your social security number, date of birth, or other personal information to someone via phone or email. The only exception to this is when doing routine business with your health care provider.
Fake (or real) computer virus – you then receive an unsolicited offer to fix your computer. Do Not Reply! They will attempt to gain access to your computer to steal bank account information, email access and passwords. ALWAYS get computer issues resolved in person, at a physical store.
Relatives in trouble – You receive an email from a relative that they are in jail, or in trouble in a foreign country, and they need you to make a money wire transfer immediately. Even worse, criminals can now use artificial intelligence to call you and impersonate a loved one’s voice on the phone.
There is an easy fix for these scams. Create a secret pass code that only you and your loved ones know. Do this in person, NOT by electronic means. If it is truly a family member in trouble, they will be able to verify their identity.
How to avoid being victimized:
SLOW DOWN. There is never a true rush. Give yourself time to think. Assume that anyone pressuring you with threats or time limits is a criminal.
BE SUSPICIOUS of all unsolicited contact.
NO LEGITIMATE ORGANIZATION accepts payment via gift cards or wireless transfer.
BEWARE any prize offering. Assume it is fraud.
NO STRANGER on the phone wants to be your friend. It’s a ploy to gain trust.
ASK FOR HELP from someone you trust ANY time you receive unexpected contact. This can be family, a friend, or the police.
Best practices for staying safe when out and about.
Again, pay attention to your surroundings and be confident! Robbers and assailants look for victims who are preoccupied or look fearful.
Try to avoid being isolated from other people. Criminals loiter in isolated areas, looking to accost individual victims when there is no one to help or witness.
Make good decisions about what neighborhoods you visit and what time you travel. Busy areas and daylight hours are always a good guideline.
4 Active shooter lecture
Active shooters are a popular topic in the news because they are dramatic and sell. The reality is, you are as likely to be struck by lightning as shot by an active shooter. It is not something to fear, but it doesn’t hurt to prepare, either. Consider your mental preparation to be your “active shooter seatbelt.”
Your options are not easy, but they are straightforward.
This is the best option. Leaving the scene is ideal. It is okay to call others to come with you, but do not delay trying to convince someone to leave. Active shooter events evolve rapidly, and your window of escape may suddenly evaporate.
As you flee, keep your hands in plain view. If you see a police officer, stay out of their way and follow commands. Do not impede their progress to try to converse to them. Seconds count, and they are trying to get into the fight as quickly as possible. If they want information, they will ask you.
If you cannot run, hide. Active shooters are in a hurry. They are trying to inflict maximum damage as in the shortest time possible. They generally do not conduct detailed searches or try to force their way into locked or barricaded areas.
If you choose to lock or barricade inside a room, once you have secured the door you should turn off the lights, close any window coverings, move to a corner or area where you cannot be seen and remain quiet.
If you cannot run or hide, this is the only remaining choice. Use ambush tactics. Use anything available that will serve as an improvised weapon. Use multiple people to overwhelm the suspect. Do not fight fair.
5 Verbal scenario:
Active shooter – If there were an active shooter right now, in the immediate area, what would you do?
What are the available escape routes?
Where could one hide or barricade?
What items at hand would serve as improvised weapons?
What tactics would you employ to fight back?