It can be scary if you are in an accident, serious or minor. If you haven’t been in one before, it can be a bit confusing to know what to do. Here are 7 tips for what to do in this situation.

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Get a cellphone with free roaming and a global data plan – AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile all offer these plans. Having access to a cellphone can increase security by allowing you to contact people back home, the police, and your embassy.

Hide or turn off your home’s wifi before you leave – depending on your service plan, this may save you money. But it can increase your virtual security while you’re gone and prevent people from using your internet.

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There are many factors that can make your home a better target for burglary than other homes. For example, your house is at greater risk if:

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There has been a small spike in license plate and registration sticker thefts in St. Louis this month. Your license plate can be easily taken off of your car no matter where you are parked, home or not. Most thieves only need a screwdriver to take it and there can be major ramifications for you if your plates are used by someone else. For example, if your plates are identified with a crime, you could be a suspect if you haven’t reported them missing.

What do you do if your license plate is stolen?

  1. Immediately report it to the police – call the non-emergency number.
  2. Obtain an incident report number – It is illegal to drive without plates, but if you have your report number or an official copy of the report you can give it to an officer if they pull you over.
  3. Report the stolen plate to the Licensing Office at City Hall – bring your incident report number. There will be a small replacement fee.
  4. Get a temporary tag  or a new license plate.
  5. Secure your new plates with the methods outlined below.

How can you prevent license plate theft?

  1. Get theft prevention screws – Most thieves will carry around a screwdriver to get off plates. If you use special screws that require a particular tool to remove them, it is likely the thief will move on. There are multiple brands, such as Torx Security Screws or Plate Keeper.
  2. Get a plate security frame or cover – These  go around the edge of your plate or cover it entirely and keep people from taking them off. There are multiple brands, such as Lock-Um.

How can you prevent registration sticker theft?

  1. You can obtain enhanced security tabs/stickers that have perforated edges to make them difficult to remove by thieves. They also have your license plate number on them to dissuade thieves. They are free at time of renewal, or you can obtain them later for an $8.50 replacement fee and $3.50 processing fee.
    1. http://dor.mo.gov/motorv/enhancedtabs/
  2. You can slice your old sticker with something sharp, like a razor (be very careful!). This makes them difficult to remove.

St. Louis’ Stolen License Plates Page

Keep safe,

Abigail Orscheln — Safety and Security Intern

You may hear the same tips over and over on how to prevent crime or victimization, such as locking your doors and hiding valuables. But here are some tips that you may not have heard before or are not as obvious, but are just as important.

  • Keep your keys in hand – Criminals wait for you to be off your guard, keeping your car or house keys in hand for easy access is a great way to avoid being distracted or slowed down.
  • Don’t follow the same patterns – Leaving and returning home at the same time every day, going to the same coffee shop, grocery store, or bar, taking the same routes to your favorite spot, or even a jog route can help criminals plot where you are going to be. Try varying your routes and visiting new places occasionally. Being unpredictable can be a great asset.
  • Say no to strangers – We all want to be helpful and friendly, but it probably isn’t a good idea to lend out your phone, give people money, or get caught up in a conversation. Your priority should be your safety. Catching nice strangers off guard makes it easier to take off with their things.
  • Learn defensive moves – If someone is threatening you to give up your belongings, you should give them up and get out of there. Personal items can be replaced. But if they continue the attack or are attacking you for reasons other than theft, learning some basic self-defense moves can make a big difference. Read some self-defense tips here.
  • Carry a whistle or other loud device – Criminals don’t want you to bring attention to the situation. Scream, blow a whistle, or set off an alarm. Anything to make them hesitate so you can get away.
  • Look for a personal safety phone app – There are multiple choices these days for apps that can schedule fake phone calls from friends in case you need an out from a situation, send your current location and an alert to a friend if you feel unsafe, or even call the police. These apps can be subtle and unnoticeable to the people you are around. Here is a list of some iPhone and Android apps. 

If you are a victim of a crime, don’t be afraid to reach out. Report the crime to the police and look into crime victim help groups.

 

Abby Orscheln – Safety and Security Intern

Winter Safety Tips

Posted: December 2, 2016 in Crime Tips, Current News
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Winter is a beautiful season, but cold and snowy/icy conditions can present a lot of safety concerns. Keep these tips in mind to stay safe and warm this winter.

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Avoid Scams

Posted: November 25, 2016 in Crime Tips, Current News
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Sometimes scammers will call (or email) you to try to get you to pay them money. They may try to disguise themselves as a utility company or even a family member in need. You should always verify who you are talking to and if something seems suspicious, hang up.

Currently, in Missouri, there is an issue with people calling Ameren customers, pretending to be Ameren employees, and demanding they pay their bill immediately or will have their utilities turned off. Ameren has publicly said they would never do that, and will work with people who owe money. Immediately hang up if you get this suspicious call and report it to Ameren at 800-552-7583.

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Sometimes it is necessary to leave children home alone, whether you are at work while they are coming home from school, going to the grocery store, or out handling other errands. There are certain steps you can take to ensure that your children are safe even when home alone.

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Hate crimes are a felony offense. A hate crime is a type of crime committed against a person, property, or society that was motivated in part or in whole by bias, prejudice, or bigotry against a certain perceived sexual orientation, race, color, ethnicity, religion, creed, gender, disability, ancestry, or national origin. Even misdemeanor crimes, such as theft, trespassing, damage to property, or disorderly conduct can be charged as felonies if there was a biased motivation. 

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Forest Park Southeast is home to The Grove, a booming business and entertainment district in St. Louis City. Going out at night and supporting local businesses is great, but you should always keep your safety in mind! Here are some tips for going out at night.

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