Dec 4, 2017
During the holidays, many crimes happen AWAY from potential victims--in the parking lot where they left their car. Former SLC police chief Chris Burbank shares a few holiday tips on what to do to minimize risk as you do your shopping. *** When you go out holiday shopping, you need to realize that more criminals—more people intent on taking things from your car—are out watching. Do not leave your purse and valuables in the car, if at all possible. If you are going to leave something in the car, make sure it’s not visible—that it’s out of sight. If you’re going to put something in the trunk in order to keep it safe, plan ahead. Don’t wait until you get to the shopping mall to get out and noticeably put your purse in the trunk and close the door. Other people, unfortunately, might be paying attention. Put it in there before you get to the shopping mall, then as you get out of your car, if somebody were to be watching this, they would have no idea that you have anything of value—nor is that attractive to them as a thief. As you shop and get packages, be organized in that. Most stores will hold purchases for you until the end of the day. So that you can go to multiple stores and then just do a pick up run, as opposed to taking something back to the car and putting it right in the back seat—where somebody, one, watches you come, and two, as they walk by the car they say, “That might be something of interest.” We’re not being paranoid, we’re just reducing the chances those packages get stolen.
Dec 4, 2017
Periodically, we may all get an email from our banking institution informing us of something new at the bank or credit union. But what if a predator uses the bank's logos and makes an email look EXACTLY as if it came from the bank? Former chief of police Chris Burbank gives us a few quick tips on how to detect fraud, and how to avoid falling victim to it. *** Criminals are very creative. In fact, you may receive an email that has all the banking institution’s company logos on there, and it’s asking you, “We have a problem, there’s nothing to worry about. Send us your account number and PIN, and we’ll change this for you.” If you receive anything like that, call the banking institution and find out. Companies are very careful, because they don’t want to be exposed. Nor do they want you, as a customer, to be exposed to criminal behavior—to someone trying to steal from them or from you as a customer. If somebody calls you claiming to be a banking institution, or somebody wants to give you money—if anyone ever asks for your personal information over the phone, or for bank information, simply say: “What number can I call you back on, or who do you represent and I’ll call the company myself and engage in that.” Even if you want to donate money, I would never donate money to anyone who cold-calls, who just calls people randomly out of the blue. I would simply say, “Thank you very much. I will contact the institution and I will make my donation that way.” That is always the best way to do business.
Nov 29, 2017
With Cyber Monday's orders getting ready to ship, how do you protect those package deliveries from thieves? Former SLCPD Chief Chris Burbank gives us a few options to minimize risk and bond together as neighbors. *** Mail order has become a huge business. We get lots of deliveries. People are sending us things, and we are ordering things. One theft that happens often during the holiday season is package theft. The nice thing about the computerized system and everything that exists in most mail order businesses—they can tell you exactly when that package is going to be delivered. If you are not going to be home, make arrangements for that package to be delivered to a neighbor’s house. Have a neighbor come pick it up—someone that you trust. Have it delivered to the back door in some circumstances. One of the things that we most often miss out on is getting to know your neighbors. When you can trust your neighbors, when your neighbors watch your house, you watch their house—on both sides of your home. You know the neighbors really well, those three homes watch out for each other. Boy, we would be very safe. It’s about reducing our exposure to risk. Minimize the chances that that package will be stolen. You can reduce the chance that you will lose that package before Christmas.
Nov 20, 2017
How do you help keep your home safe during the holidays? What does your home look like during the holidays? What does it look when you are there? What does it look like when you are gone. Former SLC Police Chief and current Director of Law Enforcement Engagement with the Center for Policing Equality Chris Burbank gives tips and tricks on how to prevent crime at your house this holiday season. Whether you're using timers or apps to control your lights or other home devices, there are several smart choices you can make that minimize the risk of burglary--even where you choose to place those Christmas presents. *** An important thing when participating in the holidays is just home safety. What does your home look like when you’re there, and what does it look like when you’re gone? If the two are similar, then it’s very difficult for someone to look and say “Ah, no one’s home I’m going to go in there.” Leave lights on. Leave radios on. Change and vary when you come and go, or maybe when the lights come on and go off. Very inexpensive timers from any home store can be installed. Remember, criminals are always looking for opportunity. If you can make them think someone might be home, they are not going to enter your home. If you are going out, close your garage door. If you have large, expensive presents, don’t leave those in locations that they can be seen from the street. Put those in a different location until the time comes to open those gifts.
Nov 16, 2017
With a few decades in law enforcement along the Wasatch Front, former SLCPD Chief Chris Burbank holds a unique perspective when it comes to crime--he sees and explains both sides extremely well. When you see lights flashing in your rear view mirror, Chris explains a few things you can do that may make both parties feel more comfortable. *** Nobody, I mean nobody, including myself, likes to be driving down the street and see red and blue lights come on behind you. What do you do? First and foremost, pull to the right hand side of the road, no matter the circumstance. Maybe you’re not the one they’re looking for. They have to pass on the left-hand side when they engage their lights and sirens. If you are, in fact, the unfortunate one being stopped, pull to the right and come to a stop. That doesn’t mean a hard turn or anything else—move yourself over and come to a complete stop. What do I do when I’m stopped? I leave my hands in plain view, on the steering wheel. I actually, if it’s night time, turn on the interior lights of the car. A police officer who can see what’s in the vehicle, know the people who are in there, is much less concerned about their personal safety. Does this mean that you’re overly acquiescing, or giving in to maybe a stop you disagree with? Absolutely not. What you are providing is a safe, comfortable environment to talk to that police officer about why your were stopped. And maybe even, maybe even, get out of the ticket.
Oct 10, 2017
Children and teens unknowingly share a lot of information with others on the web. Information that, in the wrong hands, can compromise their own safety. Former Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder gives parents a few tips on keeping things secure from the home front. *** Technology—one of the greatest opportunities of our culture. And also one of the greatest risks. Today, every youngster it seems has a mobile device—a telephone, or iPad, or a computer at home. These devices can bring the world to their doorstep. It can also bring predators. It’s imperative that you understand and observe what your child is doing online. Even the most simple of behaviors can result in contact with an individual that may pose a risk to your child. When kids are online, they will often share information that, to them, seems very ubiquitous. The reality is, sharing your age, name, phone number, and especially their location can bring with it significant risks. It’s imperative that you train your children that when they’re online, they have to have a sense of anonymity. If they do need to provide specific information, to any site or individual online, they should verify that first with a parent before they ever enter it into a computer. That data can be used for good, and it certainly can be used for ill. Remember, it’s not an invasion of privacy—it’s taking care of your children. It’s our job to keep our children safe.
Sep 1, 2017
On your family vacation to a theme park, how can you prepare in case a little one gets lost? Former Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder gives advice for both parents and children to make searching easier. *** With the warmer weather, there are many festivals, fairs, and other large events that families will enjoy together. As you’re preparing to go to these events, take a moment to instruct your children on what they should do if they get lost. One of the most important factors is for the children to know where a meet-up location is. Should they become separated, you should observe a landmark or major entry point, and have that child return to that location and stay put. You should instruct your child that, should they become lost, they should communicate with individuals that are working behind the counter at a location, or an individual in uniform—like a law enforcement officer or security personnel. Have one of the family members stay in the location where the child was last seen, and then go and contact help. Individuals—security and otherwise—can then begin looking for the child. It’s also imperative that you have a specific description of your young one. Often times we’ll have parents say that their “blonde-haired seven year old” is missing. That’s not good enough. What we need is: * A specific clothing description * Color of shirt * Color of pants * Footwear * Length of hair * Name the child responds to If you have this data, it’s often much easier to locate your child. Remember, as frightened as you are, they’re more so.
Aug 17, 2017
As you plan out your next road trip, there are a few things to make sure you pack in your car before pulling out of the driveway. Former Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder explains. *** Traveling brings with it its own set of risks. One of them is to make sure you get there safely. When you’re traveling in your vehicle, it’s imperative that you check your gas gauge to make sure you have adequate fuel to get to your destination. Judge your distances and whether you can get there safely. The other issue is, do not rely on the fact that your cell phone will always work. There are many locations in the state of Utah—the west in particular—where cell phone coverage simply does not exist. It can give one a false sense of security. It’s also imperative that as you travel you carry: * Road-side flares * Blanket * Water * Additional food * Emergency plan should the vehicle break down It seems obvious, but often times in a remote area this can provide significant safety hazards. Ensure that you have a plan when things go well, and more importantly, when things don’t go so well.
Jul 28, 2017
Getting the ultimate picture is not worth risking your personal safety. Former Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder lets us know that in a summer filled with hiking, traveling, and sightseeing, it's important to capture your memories on solid ground. *** Getting the ultimate shot—it’s not worth your life. One of the advantages of hiking in the Wasatch Range is seeing some of the most incredible vistas. And with that comes the opportunity to take a quick photograph. That can present significant dangers. Often we see individuals go to an area to take a photograph and don’t realize they’re on unstable footing. It’s imperative that you stay clear of areas that could result in a long fall. Stay clear of areas of danger.
Jul 6, 2017
As vacation times kick in and families head to the mountains, former Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder gives a few guidelines to help prevent tragedy on the Wasatch trails. *** Now that the weather has changed here in Utah, individuals are beginning to explore the beauty of the Wasatch Range. With that comes the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful country in the United States. One has to be prepared. Regularly, we see individuals that go into the backcountry very ill-prepared. They start off in what could be called a comfortable day hike, but they neglect to take basic provisions, including sunscreen, water, and food. Often they get into these situations and become a little disoriented because of their dehydration or other effects. Make sure that you notify individuals of your route and your estimated return. That way, IF something should occur, you can notify authorities and we can begin a search to recover you safely. It’s important that when you venture into these mountains, you understand that while they are beautiful, they also pose significant risks. Please: 1. Always hike with other individuals 2. Ensure that you take adequate supplies 3. Including significant amounts of water Also, take care when you are with pets. They, too, need live-saving provisions—given that temperatures can fluctuate greatly. These mountains are to be enjoyed—do so safely!
Jun 21, 2017
It’s summer time in Utah, and with it comes the raging waters of record snowfall runoff in the mountains. Former Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder gives a strong caution to us approaching and testing the water in the swollen rivers and streams. *** It’s summer time in Utah, and with it comes beautiful weather. With that beautiful weather also comes raging water. This past year, the Wasatch Range received a record amount of snowfall. And now that that snowfall is coming into our valley, we see water rates that are unbelievable. It’s beautiful to observe, and often encourages people to get close as they’re amazed at the power of the hydraulics. It’s important to understand, however, though getting too close can cause you and your family significant danger. All it takes is a slippery rock or an unstable log, that an individual can fall into a hydraulic that no man can escape from. What we often see, also, is friends or family will sometimes think it’s safe to enter in and extract that individual. This often results in a double tragedy. Every year here in Salt Lake County, we rescue—and unfortunately sometimes recover—individuals who feel that they can enter in to this water, or get close enough. It’s imperative that during this season of high water that you refrain from getting close to rivers and streams, even if you think they are safe. Remember, those waters bring lifesaving measures, but they can also take a life.
Jun 1, 2017
Many security devices are available at local retailers to help keep your home safe. Former SLC Sheriff Jim Winder shares how these little devices can have a big impact. *** Today individuals are using technology more often to secure their residence. And we support it entirely. Items like video doorbells—that allow you to identify individuals who are knocking at your door—can make you distinguish between a friend or relative, and a particular vendor that might cause some fear or concern. This is especially critical if you have youngsters at home. Their ability to identify who is at the door before they make a decision to open it—is critical. Also, external video surveillance has become very advantageous here in Salt Lake. Many crimes are solved today because of our ability to capture the video footage of individual residences. Not only crimes that have occurred at that location, but peripheral activity that has happened and been captured on those same videos. The installation of a video surveillance system is highly effective and quite economical these days. We would encourage people to not be paranoid, but to be diligent in securing their residences.
May 24, 2017
Imagine getting a phone call from police claiming that unless you pay cash now, they'll be forced to arrest you in your home. This is a scam, and former Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder explains the details they will ask for, and how you can beat the thieves. *** Imagine sitting at home and receiving a phone call, from an individual identifying themself from the Unified Police Department, who tells you that if you don’t arrange to bring several hundred dollars to the police department, that they will come out and arrest you. Today there is a large number of phone scams occurring in which individuals call vulnerable individuals, and indicate to them that if they do not go down and obtain a cashiers check and bring it to a particular location, that law enforcement, the FBI, the IRS, or other public agency will come and arrest them. This scam has been perpetrated dozens and dozens of times, both here in Utah and across the country. Individuals are actually bringing money to local police departments and meeting the suspects in the parking lot where they are transmitting cashiers’ checks to individuals identifying themselves as law enforcement. It is important to understand that agencies like the Unified Police Department, or any other legitimate government entity, would never call you at your home and ask you to bring cash. The way to manage this, is if you receive a phone call in which an individual identifies themself as a government official, tell them you will phone them back, identify the ACTUAL number for that agency, and confirm their identity and their desires. Please don’t fall prey to these terrible individuals who are taking advantage of our community in the name of our public safety agencies.
Mar 21, 2017
Some teenagers recently have been "S.W.A.T.ing" along the Wasatch Front--making prank calls to emergency personnel to embarrass other people. Former Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder discusses one of the incidents, and the serious consequences that await people who knowingly fraud emergency services. *** In today’s age of rapid-fire multimedia and communication, there’s a new term that’s been evolving. The term is SWAT-ing—the practice of initiating a police response to an innocent location. Recently, the Unified Police Department responded to a bone-chilling report of shots fired at a local school. SWAT teams, K-9 units, and large numbers of patrol resources responded, only to learn that it was a hoax. It turns out that individuals had decided that it might be “fun” to have officers from multiple agencies descend on a high school in the middle of a day. Officers entered those high schools guns-drawn, prepared to encounter an active shooter, only to find out it was a fake report. It’s important in this day and age where 9-1-1 resources and public safety resources are so limited that individuals recognize that the malicious use of their communication devices is not a hoax—it’s a crime. Please respect 9-1-1 and public safety, and never engage in these behaviors.
Mar 7, 2017
Vacations can be full of memories and fun pictures, but be careful when you post them on social media. Former Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder explains why this can be dangerous. *** With spring time comes vacations, and often times on vacation we like posting our activities online. It’s great to let your friends and neighbors know you’re having a great vacation. Unfortunately, sometimes, a bad guy is watching your Facebook account. Be aware that when you post pictures and information about being out of town for extended periods of times, individuals can identify your residence and potentially you can be the victim of a residential burglary. Make sure to share your memories, but beware of how often you do it and how specific you are.
Mar 1, 2017
Warmer weather can bring criminals if we're not careful. Former SLC Sheriff Jim Winder explains why this is the case, and what we can do to prevent it. *** With the warmer weather comes a unique set of risks. We will often take the time to open our doors and windows, allowing the new fresh air in. In doing so, sometimes we fail to secure our homes. It’s important to understand, that in the spring time, criminals can become active. Leaving your garage door open after you have mowed your lawn or done yard care allows you to be susceptible to individuals to enter your garage and take property. In addition to that, in the summer time we’ll often times leave our windows down in our vehicles. That allows us to be the victim of vehicle burglary. Most importantly, we will sometimes leave our rear doors open to allow the breeze in. Beware of this, as individuals can utilize this as an opportunity to enter into your residence. Don’t let your guard down. We have to always be vigilant for the potential for crime.
Feb 28, 2017
One of the top crimes in Utah continues to be identity theft. With a recent sting that uncovered 150,000 victims in the Salt Lake valley, former Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder lists a few things you can do to stay safe. --- Today, one of the largest crimes the Unified Police Department is investigating is “identity theft.” Individuals whose identities—specifically their credit cards and other account information—has been taken by criminals, only to be used over and over again, draining the individuals’ accounts. Not only are individuals losing real money and real time, but credit and reputations are devastated. Identity theft is a terrible crime. Recently, the Unified Police Department uncovered an investigation involving more than 150,000 victims here in the Salt Lake valley. Individuals were taking people’s identity and they were manufacturing new accounts: bank accounts, new credit cards, retail merchants, or other lines of credit. Any mechanism that they can obtain easy cash through an electronic means. Some of the ways that you can prevent identity theft is by: 1. Engaging in constant monitoring of your bank activity. 2. Routinely checking your credit rating to determine if it’s diminishing because of excessive account openings. 3. Monitor your mail. If bills or other financial documents that you would normally receive are for some reason not appearing, you may be the victim of mail theft—in which individuals have seized your account information and are attempting to perpetrate identity theft. This is a crime that can affect you not just today, but for years to come. We stand ready to continue to investigate this, but we hope that the community will also take steps to prevent identity theft.
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