The Collin County Crime Prevention Section has been
in existence for 25 years. The section currently consists of two full
time crime prevention deputies. Training for the deputies consists of
a 100 hour school which familiarizes the deputy with several areas of
crime prevention. These areas include: lighting, alarms, armed robbery,
credit card fraud, check fraud, shoplifting, locks, rape, security surveys,
public speaking, domestic violence, and crimes against the elderly.
Crime Prevention Deputies are actively involved in the school systems located throughout Collin County. Programs are offered for all age and grade levels. These programs are supplemented with McGruff , the Crime Dog when the age level is consistent with its use. Programs that are popular with the elementary schools are Stranger Danger and Bicycle Safety. An emphasis is placed on drug and alcohol abuse through middle school and high school. For High School students, a professionally made slide show called "DWI - HIGHWAY TO DEATH" is an emotionally charged program that is a reality check. This show is approximately 45 minutes long in which 22 minutes are a photogallery of DWI crashes occurring in Collin County. This photogallery has graphic pictures of actual crashes which show the reality of a DWI crash.
Other programs that are offered by the Crime Prevention section include Neighborhood Crime watch, Safety talks for women, and Safety talks for Senior Citizens. The Crime Prevention Section also offers the R.U.O.K. Program, which is a computer generated calling system that calls senior citizens which have subscribed to the system on a daily basis to check on their welfare.
The Crime Prevention Section also is available to set
up a booth at safety fairs and disseminate safety information and visit
with the public attending the safety fairs. On special request, McGruff
the Crime Dog can be there too. The Crime Prevention Section coordinates
a Citizen's Academy that is 14 weeks in length. The Academy is for adult
citizens of Collin County, 21 years of age or older. The Academy will
be to educate and familiarize the citizens with the Sheriff's Office and
the function of it's employees.
TELEPHONE AND MAIL FRAUD
- Don't give out your credit card or bank account numbers unless you initiated the call or know the organization with which you're dealing.
- Be wary of prize notification letters. Don't call 900 numbers to claim a prize; such a call can cost you quite a bit. (You can ask your local phone company to block access to 900 numbers from your phone. There should be no charge.)
- If a telemarketer calls you after 9 P.M. or before 8 A.M., it's illegal.
- Don't donate money over the phone, and don't send money to anyone you don't know. Ask for written information. Then, if you wish to donate, do it by check.
- To reduce the number of unsolicited calls you receive, write: Telephone Preference Service, c/o Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 9014, Farmingdale, N-Y 1 1735-9014. Request that your name be placed on a list of people who do not want to receive unsolicited telephone calls.
- To reduce the amount of unsolicited mail you receive, write: Mail Preference Service, c/o Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 9008, Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008. Request that your name be placed on a list of those who do not wish to receive unsolicited mail.
STREETWISE AND SAFETY
Knowing how to protect yourself - and joining with your neighbors to make your streets safer places to be can reduce the opportunity for muggers, purse snatchers, and other street criminals to strike.
3 BASIC RULES
- DO stay alert. Keep your mind on your surroundings, who's in front of you and who's behind you. Don't get distracted. If you're worried about crime, ask a friend to accompany you when you go out.
- DO communicate the message that you're calm confident, and know where you're going. Stand tall, walk purposefully, and make quick eye contact with people around you.
- DO trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a place or situation, leave.
- Plan the safest route to your destination and use it. Choose well-lighted busy streets and avoid passing vacant lots, alleys, or construction sites. Take the long way if it's the safest.
- Know your neighborhood. Find out what stores and restaurants are open late and where the police and fire stations are.
- Make sure you know where your children are going when they go out and encourage them to play with other kids. Show them safe places in the neighborhood where they can go if they ever feel scared.
- Carry your purse close to your body and keep a firm grip on it. Carry a wallet in an inside coat or side trouser pocket, not in a rear trouser pocket.
- Don't flaunt expensive jewelry or clothing.
- Walk facing traffic so you can see approaching cars.
- Don't overburden yourself with packages and groceries that make it hard to react.
- Bring "emergency" change for cab fare, bus fare, or a telephone call.
- Have your car or house key in hand as you approach your vehicle or home.
- If you suspect you're being followed by someone on foot, cross the street and head for the nearest well-lighted, populated area. Walk quickly or run to a house or store to call police. If you are really scared, scream for help.
- If you are being followed by someone in a car, change direction immediately and make a visible point of writing down the license number.
- Never hitchhike.
IN THE CAR
- Keep your car in good running condition to avoid breakdowns.
- Plan your route in advance, particularly on long or unfamiliar trips. Have enough gas and money to get there and back.
- Drive with all car doors locked. Keep windows rolled up whenever possible.
- Never pick up hitchhikers.
- If you see another motorist in trouble, signal that you will get help and then go to a telephone and call police.
- If your car breaks down, raise the hood, use flares, or tie a white cloth to the door handle. Stay in the locked car. When someone stops, ask them to phone for help.
- Park in well-lighted areas that will still be well-lighted when you return. Lock your car doors.
- Be particularly alert and careful when using underground and enclosed parking garages.
- If you are being followed while driving, drive to the nearest police or fire station, open gas station or other business, or well-Lighted residence where you can safely call police. Try to get the car's license number and description. if no safe areas are near, honk the horn repeatedly and turn on your emergency flashers.
- Look in the elevator before getting in to be sure no one is hiding.
- Stand near the controls.
- Get off is someone suspicious enters. If you're worried about someone who is waiting for the elevator with you, pretend you forgot something and don't get on.
- If you're attacked, hit the alarm and as many floor buttons as possible.
JOGGING, BIKING AND OTHER OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
- Choose routes in advance that are safe and well populated.
- Vary your route and schedule.
- Avoid jogging and biking at night.
- Know businesses that are open and locations of police and fire stations.
- Consider carrying a shriek alarm.
- Consider not wearing your stereo headphones. It's safer to be alert.
WHAT IF IT HAPPENS TO YOU?
- Remain calm try not to panic or show any signs of anger or confusion.
- If the attacker is only after your purse or other valuables, don't resist. You don't want to escalate a property crime into a violent confrontation.
- Make a conscious effort to get an accurate description of your attacker-. age, race, complexion, body build, height, weight, type and color of clothing.
- Call the police immediately, identifying yourself and location. Contact your local victim assistance agency to help you deal with the trauma that all crime victims experience. They can also help you learn about victim compensation laws and how to follow your case's progress.
TAKE ACTION TODAY
- Help reduce opportunities for street crime in your community.
- Make sure street lighting is adequate and parks, vacant lots, and alleys free of debris and graffiti. Places that look as though no one cares attract crime.
- Get together with your neighbors and local law enforcement to start a mutual protection program like Neighborhood Watch or Apartment Watch.
- Try to make sure teens in your community have a place for their energies - a cleaned up park, recreation areas, community tasks.
- Volunteer to escort a friend or neighbor who goes to work or class at night.
- If you see a crime being committed, call the police immediately and stay with the victim until they come. Be supportive and offer to accompany the victim to the hospital or police station. How would you feel if you needed help and no one volunteered?