Don’t Be Left Out in the Cold

Vehicle exhaust pipe in winterAs the morning temperatures continue to get colder the Wichita Falls Police Department would like to remind drivers not to leave their cars running and unattended.  In most cases not only is this against the law but it will also increase your chances of becoming a victim of theft or burglary.

There are a few simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of losing your vehicle or belongings to an opportunistic thief:

  • STAY WITH THE CAR. It’s better to be cold for a few minutes in your car while it warms up than to be left in the cold while the thief drives it away.
  • LOCK THE DOORS. If unattended locking your doors will decrease the opportunity for the criminal to strike.
  • TAKE YOUR KEYS.  Don’t hide your keys on or in the vehicle; thieves know where to look.
  • HIDE YOUR BELONGINGS.  If leaving property in the vehicle hiding it will help reduce the risk of a burglary or vehicle theft.

For more information on the law click here.

10 tips for using ATMs safely

Man using his credit card in an atm for cash withdrawalHere are our top 10 ATM safety tips. Please take a moment to read and share with neighbors, friends, and family.

  1. Always pay close attention to the ATM and your surroundings. Don’t select an ATM at the corner of a building — corners create a blind spot. Use an ATM located near the center of a building. Do your automated banking in a public, well-lighted location that is free of shrubbery and decorative partitions or dividers.
  2. Maintain an awareness of your surroundings throughout the entire transaction. Be wary of people trying to help you with ATM transactions. Be aware of anyone sitting in a parked car nearby. When leaving an ATM, make sure you are not being followed. If you are, drive or walk immediately to a police or fire station, or to a crowded, well-lighted location or business. If you feel you are in danger, call 911!
  3. Do not use an ATM that appears unusual looking or offers options with which you are not familiar or comfortable.
  4. Do not allow people to look over your shoulder as you enter your PIN. Memorize your PIN; never write it on the back of your card. Do not re-enter your PIN if the ATM eats your card — contact a bank official.
  5. Do not wear expensive jewelry or take other valuables to the ATM. This is an added incentive to the assailant.
  6. Never count cash at the machine or in public. Wait until you are in your car or another secure place.
  7. When using a drive-up ATM, keep your engine running, your doors locked and leave enough room to maneuver between your car and the one ahead of you in the drive-up line.
  8. Maintain a supply of deposit envelopes at home or in your car. Prepare all transaction paperwork prior to your arrival at the ATM. This will minimize the amount of time spent at the machine.
  9. Closely monitor your bank statements, as well as your balances, and immediately report any problems to your bank.
  10. If you are involved in a confrontation with an assailant who demands your money, COMPLY.

SCAM ALERT

Scam AlertRecently, some local residents have received a phone call from someone claiming to be a “detective” from our agency. The “detective” is phishing for information and the caller ID is showing 940-720-5000, which is our non-emergency number. However, we want you to know that no legitimate call will ever come from our agency showing that number. If you receive a similar call, please do not give the scammers any information and hang up the phone.

If you feel that you have already been a victim of this scam, please call our Financial Crimes Unit at 940-761-7762.

Vehicle Burglaries

Relay-car-theft-keyless-entry-cars-885216The Wichita Falls Police Department observed an alarming crime trend in our community back in May of this year.  Officers were seeing an increase in vehicle burglaries.  Aside from the crime itself officers were finding that the vehicles that were broken into showed no signs of forced entry and firearms were left unsecure.

Between May 7th and May 20th 45 vehicles were entered into and 12 firearms were stolen.  Of those vehicles that were entered into none of them showed signs of forced entry.

With the help of local media getting the word out to the public regarding the need to keep firearms secured and vehicles locked along with an aggressive proactive police response that resulted in multiple arrests the WFPD has seen a decrease in vehicle burglaries.

Between July 16th and July 29th 16 vehicles were entered into with two firearms stolen.  Of those vehicles that were entered into none of them showed signs of forced entry.  That is a 64% decrease in vehicle burglaries compared to the two weeks reported in May.

Although, it is a positive to see the number of vehicle burglaries decreasing the WFPD would still like to remind everyone to lock their vehicles and secure their firearms.  When encountering a locked vehicle criminals most often leave it and go looking for an easier target.  Never leave a firearm unsecured in a vehicle.  An unsecured firearm can become the weapon that hurts or kills an innocent victim.

It’s That Time of Year Again

back_to_schoolChildren in Wichita Falls and surrounding communities will be returning to school in the next few days. We would like to  remind drivers to be extra cautious as school zones become more active and be aware of school buses that will be making frequent stops.

Following these simple tips can help children reach school safely and help drivers avoid costly fines and tickets.

Tips for Driving in School Zones

  • Put away your cell phone and anything else that may be distracting you as you drive.  A distracted driver is a dangerous driver.
  • Always obey school zone speed limit signs. Remember, traffic fines usually double in school zones.
  • Drop off and pick up your children in your school’s designated areas, not the middle of the street.
  • Keep an eye on children gathered at bus stops.
  • Be alert for children who might dart across the street or between vehicles on their way to school.

Tips for Children Walking or Biking to School

  • Always cross at intersections and designated crosswalks. Look left, right and then left again before proceeding.
  • Look for traffic when stepping off a bus or from behind parked cars.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
  • Always obey crossing guards.
  • Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.

WFPD Supports Nextdoor.com as Virtual Neighborhhood Watch Platform

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So far, over 8,000 Wichita Falls residents have joined the Wichita Falls Police Department on Nextdoor.com to get to know their neighbors and to take a stand against crime.  Are you one of them?  If not, please visit http://www.nextdoor.com and sign up.  It’s free and simple.  Iphone and Android apps are also available.

Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Here is what Nextdoor.com is all about:

Nextdoor is the private social network for you, your neighbors and your community. It’s the easiest way for you and your neighbors to talk online and make all of your lives better in the real world. And it’s free.

Thousands of neighborhoods nationwide are already using Nextdoor to build happier, safer places to call home.

People are using Nextdoor to:

  • Quickly get the word out about a break-in.
  • Organize a neighborhood watch group.
  • Track down a trustworthy babysitter.
  • Find out who does the best paint job in town.
  • Ask for help keeping an eye out for a lost dog.
  • Find a new home for an outgrown bike.
  • Finally call that nice man down the street by his first name.

Nextdoor’s mission is to use the power of technology to build stronger and safer neighborhoods.

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Join Nextdoor Today!!!

Know What’s Going on Around You: RAIDSONLINE

unnamedThe Wichita Falls Police Department would like to remind everyone of a free program that is designed to keep you, the citizen, informed of what’s going on around you as it relates to police activity; RAIDSONLINE.

RAIDSONLINE  is an analytical information system.  The WFPD keeps records about incidents that occur within the jurisdiction. When an incident happens, the responding officer  writes a report with information about the event including the location, people, related vehicles and other useful information.  The information is then shared at www.raidsonline.com and is updated on a regular basis for accuracy.

You can easily search for information on nearby criminal activity.

Analytical layers show how crime relates to other factors such as date, time, location type of crime, etc .

RAIDSONLINE helps the public get a better idea of the crime activity in their area so they can make more informed decisions about how to stay safe. RAIDS crime map  connects law enforcement with the community to help reduce crime and improve public safety.

RAIDSONLINE is a web based program but it is also available as a free app download.

Protect Your Valuables with ‘Report It’

reportitThe Wichita Falls Police Department would like to remind everyone of a great tool available to them free of charge: Report It.

Report It is a proactive tool that allows you to easily catalog information about your valuables. This includes serial numbers, owner applied numbers, photos of property and scans of receipts. It’s completely internet based, so you never have to worry about losing the data you have saved.

Nobody expects to have their property lost, stolen or damaged, but if it does happen, you’ll need to be able to provide the information to law enforcement and your insurance provider.

You can use Report It to store identifying information of anything of value – think about collectibles, jewelry, electronics, machinery, lawn equipment, and even designer clothes and handbags.

 

WFPD Offers Active Shooter Training

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Sgt. McClure presenting the CRASE course to faculty at Notre Dame School

In the past two decades, horrific mass shootings have been thrust into public consciousness. Mitigating the effects of these sudden incidents is the responsibility of those who serve in our communities’ public safety organizations. The public expects an effective and swift response to these threats and the sequence of events that follow them.

Research has shown however that many of the mass shootings, or active shooter events, are over before law enforcement responders arrive on the scene. Civilians who find themselves in an active shooter event must be prepared to take immediate action to save their own lives before law enforcement arrives. The average response time for police response to an active shooter event is three minutes. Without effective, preplanned response options for civilians at the scene of the attack, many victims can be seriously injured or killed during these three minutes.

The Wichita Falls Police Department is frequently asked to provide guidance to the community about what civilians should do if faced with an active shooter threat.

The WFPD is currently offering Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events, “CRASE” training.  The training is designed for any civilian group including schools, businesses, civic organizations, faith-based organizations, and others.

If you are interested in having this training brought to your organization please contact Sgt. Harold McClure at (940) 720-5016 or you can e-mail him at harold.mcclure@wfpd.net.

Don’t Be Fooled by Funny Money

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Over the past few weeks The Wichita Falls Police Department has seen an increase in counterfeit bills being reported in the local area. The majority of the bills are 100’s. At this time there are few leads on suspect(s).

A way to prevent from becoming a victim is to gain knowledge. You can do that by learning what security features are incorporated into each bill. The following link is a PDF describing security features on various bills: (https://www.secretservice.gov/data/KnowYourMoney.pdf).

You can also take a free online training course at https://www.uscurrency.gov/training-course and learn more about the money you handle.

If you have any information on this crime you can contact the WFPD at 940-761-7792 or if you want to remain anonymous you can call Crime Stoppers at 322-9888.