Members of the Wauwatosa Police Department's Community Support Division, with backup provided by the folks at WauwatosaNow.com, are now blogging. We will be providing you with an ongoing series of crime prevention tips, any current crime trends as well as pertinent news and notes as it relates to your Police Department.
When you are unpacking those great electronic gifts you receive at Christmas, do not leave the boxes at the curb. Doing so only advertises what kind of really cool new goodies are in your house. The “Bad guys” do drive around and “Shop”, making note of where the flat screens and laptops are based on the boxes at the curb. Then they will actually “Case” the homes where the boxes of the desired items were observed.
So please, break down all your boxes and take them yourselves to proper recycling facilities such as the cardboard dumpsters at the City dump located just east of the Police Station; the Police Station is 1700 N 116th St and the dump is 11100 W Walnut St. The dumps hours of operation are Tue – Sat 7:30AM – 4:30PM except holidays. There is a $10 annual dump permit fee.
As a side note any old electronics can be taken to any Good Will who will sell or recycle; these items are not excepted at the City dump.
Theft from vehicles is making a comeback in the City of Wauwatosa. In almost all of the cases the cars were left unlocked with some desriable items inside including satellite radio receivers, laptops and GPS units. In a few instances, just a GPS mount was left visible and the cars locked; unfortunately this was enough temptation to lead to a window being broken in hopes the GPS was inside.
Just a quick reminder since good biking weather has finally arrived, and that is to secure all bikes when they are not under the actual physical control of someone. By securing I mean locking with a chain or cable through the wheels and frame to a sturdy and secure object or bike rack, locking it in a shed or garage or bringing it into the house. It only takes a few seconds for someone to take your unlocked bike and you may never see it again.
Recently there has been some thefts of wallets from purses. The thefts seem to be taking place in local restaurants when attention is turned away from the purse and it is left hanging on the back of chair or stool. Often the theft is not noticed until after the thieves have already made purchases with credit or debit cards.
Recently a person has taken cash from several businesses in the greater Milwaukee area by impersonating a Fire Inspector. He arrives at the door and verbally identifies himself as the Fire Inspector and states he needs to check fire extinguishers. He is allowed into the business and left unescorted and not long after he leaves the business discovers that he has taken cash that is left in an unlocked safe or otherwise unlocked and unattended.
Recently there was a series of thefts from vehicles on the east side of Wauwatosa. In each case the cars were left unlocked with some desriable items inside, mostly that loose change often left in the car.
Those really cool GPS devices that many people are using have become the new target for bad guys. Unlike most thefts from vehicles when the bad guys only target unlocked vehicles, they are going that extra step and forcing entry to the vehicles to get to the GPS. Victims are not only losing these expensive electronic devices but are also suffering several hundred dollars in damage to the vehicle as the bad guys break windows, windshields and/or door locks.
There is a way the "Bad Guys" are scamming us on gift cards, even before we purchase them. How are they doing that? Well, some stores elect to have their gift cards on racks or hooks where you just pull them off and have the cashier charge them up with an amount. In stores like that the "Bad Guys" are writing down serial numbers off of the cards on the rack and they can later retrieve a balance by using the store's customer service telephone number. And to make matters worse, they can use the gift card online just by having that serial number they copied earlier and a known balance provided by the store.
- Never leave your vehicle running unattended.
- Never leave your keys in the ignition.
- Always roll the windows up and lock the doors, even if parked at home.
- Install tapered door lock buttons, discard the ones with the lips on them. This will prevent the opening of your doors with a coat hanger or similar device.
- Never leave anything of value in the auto; this includes the change left over from the convenience store and drive through.
- Never hide a key on or under the vehicle, thieves will take the time to try and locate "Hidden" keys.
- Park in busy and well lit spots.
- Consider having the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) etched on the entire vehicle's glass.
- Consider installing an ignition kill or cutout switch in a hidden location.
- Consider using a mechanical steering wheel locking device.
- Consider installing an alarm.
- Consider a vehicle monitoring and tracking system.
- If you install an alarm or employee a tracking system, display the provided stickers on your vehicle.
- If you have recently purchased a used vehicle, especially from a private party, consider changing the ignition switch.