Sunday, December 14, 2008

Seniors Beware!

This was emailed as a comment.

The Chicago metropolitan area has seen a dramatic increase in home invasion and theft recently. Criminals gain entry by posing as public works employees or inspectors. The most common ruse is requesting a look at the water meter, suggesting “the meter may not be functioning correctly which could result in a higher bill.”
Reports alleged criminals posing as gas, electric, cable, and phone company employees. Similar scams offer a free inspection of your furnace or plumbing contractors who claim to have done previous work in the home. While one impersonator distracts the homeowner, the “assistant” sneaks in and steals anything valuable. Most victims don’t even realize they’ve been robbed until long after the two have gone.
While this is far from new tactics on the part of street-level cons, they’re still very effective, and more dangerous now than ever by the sheer volume of cases. Unfortunately, their target victims are almost always the elderly and/or disabled.
Chicago Police Sergeant Lee Bielecki is doing his best to raise the alarm and educate “our most treasured citizens” in how to protect themselves and thwart those who would prey upon them. His efforts included a visit to Congressman Dan Lipinski’s office with a request to spread the word throughout the district.
Jerry Mulvihill, Head Caseworker in Lipinski’s office, said, “This has always been a problem, but we’re seeing ten times the cases we’ve had in the past. It’s not just happening in Chicago. Crimes like this are taking place just about everywhere in the greater metropolitan area.”
On behalf of Congressman Lipinski’s office and the Chicago Police Department, the following information is offered to aid in your safety and protection.
Never open the door for someone you don’t recognize. Once you open the door just a crack, the criminals will push past you.
Every single utility researched for this article had the same procedures. If access is needed to your home, you will receive a phone call from the prospective office and an appointment will be set. Utility and public works employees will always present a badge, be in an appropriate vehicle, and will gladly wait while you confirm their identity and purpose.
If in doubt, err on the side of safety.
If someone suspicious comes to your door, call 911 immediately and identify yourself as a senior. If you can, get a description of the suspicious person or their vehicle, but never takes any chances to get this information.
Many victims were followed home from the bank, church or grocery store, so it’s extremely important to be aware of your surroundings. If you suspect you’re being followed, first get to a safe place, then call 911 or ask someone there to call.
There is strength in numbers. Try to arrange to go shopping and run errands with family, friends or neighbors. Talk to your neighbors and ask them to keep an eye out for suspicious activity or people in your neighborhood. Offer to do the same for them.
Consider getting a dog. While teacup dogs are adorable, they aren’t very intimidating. On the other hand, a monster sized dog isn’t necessary either. Even a 30 or 40 pound dog can be quite protective without eating you out of house and home. Among the many breeds (or mixed breeds) that are sweet-natured but very protective are Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, and Retrievers.
Spread the word. The more knowledgeable the community is about these scams, the harder it is for criminals to be successful at it.
To cut down on the traffic to your door, post a “No Solicitation” sign on your house.

Yet another robbery!

I received this as a comment. I haven't been able to verify it yet and get all the facts. Does anyone else have any information?

FYI Tru Value was robbed yesterday (the 13th of DEC) by a male invader from east of the tracks. Plus it was done at the height of the day 3pm. Keep on your toes people, because we all know that 22 doesn't do any proactive police work. Just like none of the businesses around there were notified that it happened.

It's Christmas time and the economy sucks. People get desperate. Watch your backs and that of your neighbors.

Self Defense at McAuley

This is a fabulous idea.

(from the Southtownstar)

Mother McAuley High School recently added a new three-session self-defense course, which introduces female students to basic self-defense skills and methods of escape, to their physical education classes.

During the classes, which are led by instructors from the Frankfort Black Belt Academy, students learn about verbal boundaries, assault statistics and self-defense skills. After the demonstration, students are able to practice the techniques with the instructors.

The self-defense program is funded through a donation from the Sheffieck family, who have two daughters who graduated from McAuley.
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