Here is the latest "City Watch" alert from Senior Deputy Tim Lohman of the Thousand Oaks Police Department. If you would like these updates directly from via email, click here for more information.
November kicks off the busiest shopping season of the year. During this time, many people feel rushed and stressed to get much accomplished. Do not become complacent giving thieves an open invitation to make your home or vehicle a big gift box this holiday season.
When you park your vehicle at your home or out, make sure you roll up the windows, lock your vehicle, take the keys, and insure your valuables are concealed or removed.
While out shopping, be aware of your surroundings; scan the area from time to time. Avoid concentrating so hard on shopping that you fail to keep track of your surroundings, others near you, or your personal property.
Shop with friends or a relative if possible there is safety in numbers. As you shop, be alert in crowded places. Among pickpockets' favorites are revolving doors, jammed aisles, elevators, and public transportation stops, especially at rush hour. Carry the day's most expensive purchases closest to your body, and don't carry so much you lose the ability to react quickly.
Plan your shopping so that you don't load your trunk until you are ready to drive to another destination. Load your trunk when you leave a location. Never open a trunk, fill it full of valuables, close it, and then just walk away to do more shopping or other errands. Someone may be watching when you put items under or behind a seat. An opportunistic thief is on the lookout for "trunk-packing", and can break into your car the minute you're out of sight or follow you to your next location.
If you have to store packages in the trunk or if your vehicle doesn't have one, place the items out of plain view (on the floorboard, under a blanket or clothes, etc). When possible, have purchases delivered instead of taking them with you; many businesses offer free delivery during the holiday shopping season.
When returning to your vehicle, carry your keys in your hand and be ready to unlock the door and enter as quickly as possible. As you approach your vehicle, scan the area, glance underneath the vehicle, and take a quick look inside before entering.
If you take your children with you, keep a close eye on them while shopping.
Teach your children to go to a store clerk or security guard if they get separated from you in a store, and be sure they know their first and last name so they can tell someone who they are or they have your cell number.
Return to the mall or store for assistance if you spot suspicious activity near your vehicle. Stay alert while loading items into or out of the vehicle or arranging cargo stowage. If someone approaches, and you feel threatened, get in and lock up until they leave the area; if they loiter, drive away.
Using debit or credit cards is much safer than carrying a lot of cash. If the retailer you visit don't take cards, consider obtaining traveler's checks, which unlike cash, can be replaced if lost or stolen.
Visit ATMs only at well-lighted and populated locations; visit during daylight hours if possible. Using the drive-up is usually safer than walking up or into a banking facility. Remember to scan around you as you make your withdrawal. Many ATMs now have "fisheye" mirrors mounted above the keyboard to enable you to view the entire surrounding area while conducting business; try to patronize ATMs and use the mirror!
If anyone is loitering around an ATM, go to another ATM. Stand so others behind you cannot see your PIN as you enter it. Your PIN should NEVER be written down on or carried with your ATM card.
This time of year also brings out a lot of charitable solicitation/ donations. Confine your charitable giving to reputable established organizations, preferably those with a local branch. Do not give out your credit card numbers or personal information not listed in the phone directory, and don’t allow an organization to come to your home until you are certain of their reliability.
The City of Thousand Oaks and the Thousand Oaks Police Department have a mutual interest with the community in ensuring that children reach their scholastic and personal growth potential. In today’s society, children have several obstacles, bad influences, and distractions. Raising children is not easy. Children sometimes engage in harmful behaviors fueled by negative influences including alcohol, gangs, and peer pressure.
In furtherance of our commitment to the community, the Thousand Oaks Police Department will be offering a parenting class on Thursday evenings for ten weeks starting on January 10. Parents with difficult, defiant, or problematic children are encouraged to attend; however, all parents of middle and high school students will also benefit from this course. Our goal is to give parents guidance and to develop more successful children. We are excited to offer these sessions and truly wish to support parents and offer strategies to deal with difficult children.
The course content consists of ways to address drugs, sex, gangs, poor grades, runaways and violence. Additional content includes guidance in gaining children’s compliance of house rules, how to never argue with your child again, and how to use other parents for support. Additional information can be reviewed at www.parentproject.com.
Classes will be presented on Thursdays at the Conejo Valley Unified School District office. Space is limited for the course. Interested parents are encouraged to make reservations early by contacting Senior Deputy Tim Lohman at (805) 371-8362.
It is important to report suspicious persons or activities immediately. Remember if it’s a crime in progress and requires an emergency response call 911, otherwise contact (805) 654-9511 for non-emergencies.
Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for these type of crimes. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).
Until next time, stay safe