Staying Safe

  
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CrimeMapping.com is a web-based tool, accessible by anyone, via the internet. Our goal is to reduce crime through a better informed citizenry. Creating more self-reliance among community members is a great benefit to community-oriented policing efforts everywhere and has been proven effective in combating crime. The data available through Crime Map has been filtered to remove confidential information and is limited to three (3) months of data. This website is used by over 160 law enforcement agencies nation-wide to provide citizens access to crime information in their communities.

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What Parents Should Know About Bullying

Bullying among children is aggressive behavior that is intentional and involves an imbalance of power or strength. A child who is being bullied has a hard time defending him or herself. Usually bullying is repeated over time. Bullying can take many forms such as physical, verbal, emotional and cyber bullying.Signs that your child might be bullied:

  • torn clothes
  • loss of appetite
  • mood changes
  • reluctance to go to school
  • bruises or injuries that can't be explained

Signs that your child might be engaging in bullying behavior:

  • impulsiveness
  • no empathy for others
  • a desire to be in control
  • may be an arrogant and boastful winner and poor loser in competitive games

Broward County School's Anti-Bullying Policy

The Broward County School District now has an Anti-Bullying Policy that prohibits bullying of or by any district student or employee. It is important that parents become familiar with the policy. For a copy of the policy or to ask any questions, please contact your child's school or the Broward County School Board at 754.321.0000.

What to do if you suspect your child is being bullied:

Talk with your child. Be supportive and gather information about the bullying.Report suspected bullying to your child's school. You may make an anonymous report by using the anonymous reporting box located inside your school's main entry, area or district site anonymous reporting box or by going to www.browardschools.com. Anonymous reports can also occur by calling the school district's emergency hotline at 754-321-0911.

What Parents Should Know About Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying occurs when children or teens use the internet, cell phones or other devices to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass other children or teens. This can include sending mean, vulgar, or threatening messages or images; posting sensitive, private information about another person; or pretending to be someone else in order to make that person look bad. Children and teens can cyber bully each other through e-mails, instant messaging, text messages, web pages, blogs or chat rooms.

Tips to help prevent cyber bullying:

  • keep your computer in easily viewable places
  • talk regularly with your child about on-line activities that he or she is involved in
  • tell your child that you may review his or her on-line communications if you think there is reason for concern
  • consider installing parental control filtering software and/or tracking programs
  • educate your child about the consequences of inappropriate use of his or her electronics, such as losing internet access or use of their cell phone

Tips for dealing with cyber bullying that your child has experienced:

  • strongly encourage your child not to respond to the cyber bullying
  • do not erase the messages or pictures (save these as evidence)
  • try to identify the individual doing the cyber bullying
  • consider filing a complaint with your service provider
  • contact your child's school
  • contact the police if cyber bullying involves acts such as threats of violence, extortion, obscene or harassing phone calls or text messages, harassment, stalking, hate crimes or child pornography

  

Safe Boating Tips from BSO

The State of Florida ranks third in the nation for the number of registered pleasure craft, and first for the number of number of boating accidents. BSO offers these tips to help you stay safe and avoid trouble afloat:

  • Complete a boating education course. One of the primary factors contributing to vessel accidents is operator inexperience.
  • Get your boat checked for safety's sake. The Vessel Safety Check (VCS) is a free public service offered by Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron volunteer organizations.
  • Always wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket and make sure all your passengers wear one too.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages while boating. More than one-third of all boating deaths resulting from collisions involved alcohol use.
  • Be aware of weather conditions before heading out on the water and know what to do if the weather suddenly changes.
  • Have a working marine radio on board at all times and know how to use it.
  • Pack extra gear you may need. A flashlight with fresh batteries, flares, a first aid kit, sunscreen, and drinking water are a few items that should be packed in a watertight container that floats.
  • Tell someone where you are going, who is with you, and how long you plan to be out. Then stick to your travel plans.
  • Ventilate after fueling. Open hatches, run the blower, and check for fuel fumes before starting the engine.
  • Know your boat's capacity and how to properly load it. An overloaded or improperly loaded boat can cause safety problems.
  • All children under the age of 6, in a vessel under 26 feet, must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket while underway in Florida waters, and up to 3 miles from shore.

For more information about boating safety, visit the U.S. Coast Guard's Office of Boating Safety.


  

Practice bicycle safety every time you ride

Every year in the United States, bicycle-related deaths number about 900 and emergency rooms treat almost 500,000 people for bicycle-related injuries, most to the head. Bike mishaps in the U.S. send more children to the ER than any other sport. Proper use of a bike helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 88%. In Florida, children under the age of 16 riding a bike or as a passenger on a bike are required by law to wear a helmet.Regardless of your age, it's wise to follow these bicycle safety tips:

  • Always wear a helmet that meets one or more of the voluntary bicycle helmet standards like ASTM, Snell, or ANSI.
  • Make sure your helmet fits properly and is level on the head. It should not be tilted back on the crown or pulled low over the forehead. It may take time to ensure that a helmet fits properly, but it is worth the effort.
  • Before taking your bike out for a ride, make sure it is in good working order and properly adjusted.
  • Wear the proper clothing to help make sure that motorists and pedestrians can see you easily. Reflectors on you and your bike can help make you more visible.
  • Ride on marked paths and safe areas whenever possible.
  • When riding your bike on the street, always go in the same direction as car traffic.
  • Stay alert for vehicles, pedestrians, and potential dangers like potholes or debris.
  • Never ride with another person on the handlebars.
  • Keep at least one hand on the bike's handlebars at all times.
  • Know and use the proper hand signals for bike riding.

For information about bicycle laws in Florida, visit the Florida Department of Transportation website and follow the Pedestrian and Bicycle link. To learn more about bicycle safety, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.


  

Putting Burglars Out of Business and Out of Your Business

The more time it takes a burglar to break into your business, the greater the chance he'll move on. Most burglaries are committed by amateurs. They can be deterred if you take basic security measures seriously:

  • Lighting: It is important for your business to be properly lighted inside and out. Outside, there should be lighting near all doors and windows. High pressure sodium vapor lighting is recommended. It eliminates shadows and is inexpensive to operate.
  • Windows: The most vulnerable parts of any business are glass areas. In more than half of business burglaries, entry is made by breaking the glass. All rear and side windows should be replaced or covered with iron bars of 26 gauge (or stronger) wire mesh screens. For display windows, smash-resistant window film should be considered.
  • Before closing up at night: Remember to turn on interior and exterior lights. Leave cash register empty and open. Turn off all computers. Finally, secure and check all doors, windows, and locks before leaving.

  

Child Car Seat Requirements

Florida law requires children under 5 years of age to be properly restrained no matter where they are seated in the vehicle. Children through age 3 must be secured in a separate carrier (child safety seat) or in a vehicle manufacturer's integrated child safety seat. For children ages 4 - 5, a separate carrier, an integrated child safety seat, or a safety belt may be used. If a safety belt does not fit the child correctly, a booster set should be used to correctly position the lap and shoulder belts once they outgrow forward facing child safety seats (generally at about 40 pounds and 4 years old). Children from approximately 40-80 pounds and under 4'9" in height should ride in a booster seat. Infants must ride rear-facing until they are at least one year old and weigh 20 pounds or more. Rear-facing, the infant should be semi-upright at an angle or no more than 45 degrees. A forward-facing older child should ride sitting upright. Never place a child in a child safety seat in the front seat of a vehicle equipped with a passenger air bag. Always use the back seat. Violation of the child restraint law carries a fine of $60 and 3 points on the driving record.


  

Keeping children safe

Even at an early age, you can help your child remain safe by having them commit to and understand these simple rules that help them avoid danger, especially from strangers:

  • Before going anywhere, I will get permission from my parents by telling them where I am going, who I am going with, how I am getting there, who is going with me and how I will be getting back.
  • I will get permission from my parents before getting into a car or leaving with anyone, including people I know. I will not change my plans or accept money or gifts without telling my parents. If someone offers me drugs, I will tell a grown-up immediately.
  • I will use the "buddy" system whenever possible and will avoid playing or going places by myself.
  • I will not keep it a secret if a grown-up touches me in a way that makes me feel confused, but will tell a grown-up I trust. Also, I won't feel guilt if it happens because it is not my fault.
  • I will trust my feelings and will share them with grown-ups I trust. They care about me and I am not alone.
  • If I feel unsafe, I will never give up and will continue asking for help until I get it.
  • I will keep myself safe because I am a special person who deserves it.

The Broward Sheriff's Office offers many programs to educate children about stranger abduction and staying safe. For more information about Stranger Danger and other programs, contact BSO's Countywide Operations at (954) 321-4100.


  

Extremely cold weather is rare in South Florida, but when temperatures drop, BSO's Department of Fire Rescue wants you to remember these tips to stay safe while you stay warm:

  • If you use portable heaters, be sure they have an automatic safety shut-off switch and never leave children unattended in rooms with portable heaters.
  • Supervise children and pets at all times when a portable space heater is in use.
  • Never use space heaters to dry flammable items such as clothing or blankets.
  • Keep all flammable objects at least three feet from space heaters.
  • Install smoke detectors on every level, test them monthly and replace batteries at least yearly.
  • If any appliances or heating devices in your home produce carbon monoxide (CO), be sure to install CO detectors in your home and then test and properly maintain the detectors.
  • Have a qualified service technician check and clean your heating system every year.

For additional fire prevention information, call the Broward Sheriff's Office Fire Prevention Public Education Bureau at 954-831-8210.


  

Report Domestic Violence

No one, not even someone you live with, has the right to hit you or threaten you with violence. There is a law to protect you. If you are being physically or sexually abused or threatened by a family or household member you may be a victim of domestic violence. You need not be married to the abuser or related to be protected under the law. Family or household member is defined as any spouse, former spouse, person related by blood or marriage, or any other household member who is or was living the same household as you. In addition, the law also protects you from abuse by a person with whom you have a child in common. There is help! If you feel that you are in immediate danger, dial 911.

InVEST

The Intimate Violence Enhanced Service Team (InVEST) is a unique program designed to provide assistance to individuals identified to be in potentially lethal situations. Based on a community coordinated response model, members of the InVEST team include advocates, deputies, and detectives who work together to create a comprehensive victim safety system, including survivor safety plans and batterer intervention programs. This unique model allows law enforcement and domestic violence centers to work together to identify high risk victims and to possibly reduce the threat of further victimization. The InVEST program is sponsored by a grant through Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV.)For more information on BSO's InVEST team, please contact the Special Victims Unit at (954) 321-4240, Monday through Friday, 8 am - 6 pm. After hours, contact First Call for Help by dialing 2-1-1 or (954) 537-0211 (available 24 hours).

Protection from Domestic Violence

If you have been abused physically or sexually, or have reason to fear you may become a victim of domestic violence, Florida law enables you to file for a Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence; it explains your situation to the judge and tells the court from whom you need protection. An Injunction For Protection is a court document that states a particular person must not have contact with another person. You are eligible for an Injunction for Protection if you have lived with the abuser at some time and were recently the victim of abuse and/or threatened with abuse by the abuser.To file for an injunction you must go, in person, to the Broward County Courthouse at 201 SE 6th Street, Ft. Lauderdale. The Clerk of the Court's Domestic Violence Section receptionist can help you properly complete the required forms and statements.

Domestic Violence Resources

Women in Distress of Broward County, Inc.

Website: http://www.womenindistress.org/
Phone: 954-761-1133 / 24 hours a day The only nationally accredited, state-certified, full service domestic violence center serving Broward County. They offer 24-hour crisis intervention through our 24-Hour Crisis Hotline and emergency shelter, as well as counseling and support for victims and their children. They also provide education and professional trainings on domestic violence and related topics in Broward County schools and in the community.

Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV)

Website: http://www.fcadv.org/
Phone: 1-800-500-1119 / 24 hours a day FCADV serves as the professional association for Florida's 42 domestic violence centers. The mission of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence is to work towards ending violence through public awareness, policy development, and support for Florida's domestic violence centers. FCADV operates Florida's toll-free domestic violence hotline (1-800-500-1119), linking callers to the nearest domestic violence center and provides translation assistance when needed.

Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida

Website: http://www.coasttocoastlegalaid.org/
Phone: 954-736-2400 / 9:00am - 5:00 pm Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida is a non-profit law firm established in 2003 and funded in part, by the Legal Services Corporation. Our Mission is to improve the lives of low income persons in our community through advocacy, education, representation, and empowerment.


  

Prevent Drownings

Drowning is the number one cause of death for children ages one to four in Broward County. If you could prevent your child's death, would you?

  • NEVER leave children unsupervised in or around a body of water - even for a moment. Children can drown in as little as two inches of water in less than one minute.
  • Install a self-closing gate around the pool.
  • Alarm every door leading to water to alert you if a child has gone outside.
  • Teach children water and swimming skills.
  • During pool parties or family beach gatherings, designate an adult to watch the children.
  • Remove any toys that may attract children to the pool area.
  • Install a pool cover to securely cover the water area.
  • Install a poolside, cordless phone.
  • Keep lifesaving equipment - a pole, life preserver and rope - in the pool area.
  • Children with long hair should clip it back or wear a cap in the pool.
  • Avoid keeping water in buckets or other large containers when toddlers are home.
  • Don't rely on flotation devices to protect your children in the water.

Drowning Death Statistics

The statistical data shows that adults can drown just as much as juveniles, if not more. Between June 2010 and May 2011, the Broward Sheriff's Office Homicide Unit investigated 18 drowning deaths in Broward County.

  • 72% of those deaths were accidental; 28% were intentional suicides.
  • 85% of the accidental drowning cases were adults; 15% were toddlers.

It appears that adults' placing themselves in dangerous swimming conditions without having the physical ability to safely get out of the water seems to have led to many

  • Drowning Prevention Checklist
  • CONSTANT adult supervision by an adult who knows how to swim
  • Childproof locks on all doors leading to water
  • Gate or fence surrounding water
  • Gate or fence is self-closing with a lock
  • Pool cover is in use
  • Alarms for doors and windows leading to pool are activated
  • Child has completed swim lessons
  • Above-ground pool stairs removed when pool not in use
  • Lifesaving equipment in pool area
  • Pool chemicals and supplies are locked in a secure area
  • Child is watched in bathtub at all times
  • Parent and / or caregiver know CPR

For more information on drowning prevention, call BSO at (954) 831-8210.


  

Fighting small fires on the job

BSO's Department of Fire Rescue reminds employers that federal law requires businesses with portable fire extinguishers in the workplace train employees to use them. When used properly, portable fire extinguishers can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing one until the fire department arrives.

In the workplace, place fire extinguishers within easy reach, so employees can access them quickly while the fire is still small. Mount them near doors so anyone using them will have a safe escape route.

Before fighting a fire in the workplace

  • Be sure an alarm has been sounded, people are leaving the building and the fire department is being notified.
  • Be sure you know how to operate your fire extinguisher and the right way to fight a fire.
  • Be sure you have an unobstructed escape route in case you can't put out the fire.
  • Know what's burning and be sure your extinguisher is capable of fighting that kind of fire. Consider the danger posed by hazardous or highly flammable materials near the fire area.

Using an extinguisher: the PASS method

When using a fire extinguisher, keep your back to an exit and, depending on the size of your extinguisher, begin by standing 6 to 8 feet away from the fire. Follow the four-step PASS procedure (Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep) outlined below. If the fire does not begin to go out immediately, leave the area at once.

  • PULL the pin: this unlocks the operating lever and allows you to discharge the extinguisher. Some extinguishers may have other lever-release mechanisms.
  • AIM low: point the extinguisher hose (or nozzle) at the base of the fire.
  • SQUEEZE the lever above the handle; this discharges the extinguishing agent. For cartridge-operated dry-chemical extinguishers, follow the instructions on the extinguisher.
  • SWEEP from side to side: moving carefully toward the fire, keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until the flames appear to be out.

Remember that portable fire extinguishers discharge faster than most people think, many within 8 to 10 seconds. Have the fire department inspect the fire site, even if you think you've extinguished the fire.

 

Use the proper extinguisher

Fire extinguishers are tested by independent testing laboratories and are labeled for the type of fire they are intended to extinguish. There are four classes of fires and extinguishers are labeled using standard letters and symbols or both for the classes of fires on which they can be used.

 

A red slash through any of the symbols tells you the extinguisher cannot be used on that class of fire.

A missing symbol tells you only that the extinguisher has not been tested for that class of fire but may be used if an extinguisher labeled for that class of fire is not available.

Class A: Ordinary combustibles such as wood, cloth and paper.

Class B: Flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil and oil-based paint.

Class C: Energized electrical equipment such as wiring, fuse boxes, circuit breakers, machinery and appliances.

Class D: Combustible metals such as magnesium or sodium. Extinguishers for Class D fires must match the type of metal that is burning. These extinguishers do not use numerical ratings; the are labeled with a list detailing the metals that match the unit's extinguishing agent.

 

It is extremely dangerous to use water or an extinguisher labeled only for Class A fires on a fire involving flammable liquids or energized electrical equipment.

 

Portable extinguishers are also rated for the size of fire they can handle, a number from 1 to 40 for Class A fires and 1 to 640 for Class B fires. This rating appears on the label (for example, 2A:10B:C). The larger the numbers, the larger the fire it can handle. No number accompanies an extinguisher's C rating.

 

Types of fire extinguishers

Extinguishers differ by the extinguishing agent they expel onto a fire.

Pressurized water models are appropriate for use on Class A fires only. These must never be used on electrical or flammable-liquid fires.

Dry chemical extinguishers blanket burning materials with powdered chemicals. In some models, the chemicals are stored under pressure; in others, the chemicals are expelled by pressure supplied by a separate gas-filled cartridge. The dry chemicals used are corrosive and must be cleaned up immediately. ABC dry chemical extinguishers use an ammonium phosphate extinguishing agent and can be used on Class A, B, and C fires (these units aren't appropriate for fighting a fire in a commercial grease fryer because they render the fryer's automatic fire protection system ineffective). BC dry chemical extinguishers, suitable for fighting Class B and C fires, contain sodium bicarbonate (for smaller fires) or potassium bicarbonate, urea-base potassium bicarbonate, or potassium chloride (for larger fires) and are preferred for fighting grease fires (always activate a cooking appliance's own extinguishing system first).

 

Carbon dioxide extinguishers contain pressurized liquid carbon dioxide, which turns to a gas when expelled. These models are rated for use on Class B and C fires, but never hesitate to use carbon dioxide extinguishers on a Class A fire. Carbon dioxide residue is not corrosive.

 

Foam (or AFFF and FFFP) extinguishers blanket the surface of a burning flammable liquid, "smothering" the fire by denying it oxygen. Since the foams are mostly water, which conducts electricity, foam extinguishers cannot be used on electrical fires.

For more information on fire extinguishers or selecting the appropriate extinguisher for your business, contact your local fire agency or BSO Fire Rescue.

 

  

Hurricane Guide

Hurricane season in Florida runs June 1 through November 30, with the peak activity period beginning in mid-August and continuing through mid-October. It's not unusual to see storms developing early and late in the season, as evidenced by Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

This guide will help you establish hurricane procedures for your family and business and help you weather the storms.

Be aware of approaching storms

Hurricane supplies

Installing hurricane shutters

As the storm approaches

Should you evacuate?

Pet and livestock owners - special preparations

Staying safe during the hurricane

After the storm has safely passed

Generator safety

Price gouging

Snapshot Damage Assessment Program

More information

List of Broward County hurricane shelters

Other helpful information from Broward County:

To track the storm

Evacuation and Shelter Information

A - Z Hurricane Guide

Be Prepared with BSO's Hurricane Safety Brochure

Broward County

Florida Power and Light

For a complete list of Broward County services, please click here to view The Official Broward County Hurricane Preparedness Guide.

 

  

Credit Card Fraud

If someone has stolen or is fraudulently using credit cards that are issued to you (including any ATM/Debit/Check cards), you will need to take the following steps:

  • Immediately notify the credit card company or financial institution that issued your card. Do not delay as the stolen cards are normally used quickly after being stolen.

  • Make an immediate police report for the loss or theft of the credit card(s) with the law enforcement agency holding jurisdiction where the loss/theft occurred and obtain a case number. If the credit card was lost or stolen and it has been used fraudulently, a theft has occurred.

The cardholder is the victim of the theft of the card only. Even though a credit card is issued to a cardholder, the issuing credit card company or financial institution (e.g., Visa, MasterCard, an issuing bank, etc.) has total control over their credit account and only extends the privilege of its use to the assigned cardholder(s). A cardholder is not deemed to be a victim of the fraudulent use of the credit card(s) solely by having their name embossed on the card. The credit card company or financial institution issuing this card will normally be the victim of any fraudulent use of the card. The victim of the crime known as fraudulent use of a credit card is determined by whomever ultimately suffers the financial loss.

The issuing credit card company or financial institution many require the assigned cardholder(s) to complete fraud affidavits along with any other document to assist in their investigation. They will determine possible courses of action which may include:

  • reimbursing your account.

  • writing off the fraud due to the low dollar amount of the loss or declining to prosecute the case, listing this loss as a cost of doing business. Generally, the will be no further investigation by law enforcement.

  • charging back any fraudulent charges to the cardholder or merchant. If this occurs, the cardholder or merchant will become the victim of any fraudulent use of the credit card. The cardholder or merchant will have to make a separate complaint report with the law enforcement agency holding jurisdiction where the fraudulent use of the credit card occurred.

  • actively persuing prosecution for any fraudulent charges made within an agency's jurisdiction. The issuing credit card company or financial institution will be required to make a separate complaint report with the law enforcement agency holding jurisdiction where the fraudulent use of the credit card occurred.

Note: As a cardholder, you should remain in contact with the issuing credit card company or financial institution to determine what the outcome of the investigation and any decision to seek prosecution. If their decision is to take the loss, there will not be any further investigation by the agency. Contact the three credit reporting companies listed below to report this credit card theft and / or fraudulent use. should confirm that a fraud alert is placed on your personal credit file. This should help prevent any future acts of fraud.


Identity Theft

When your personal identification information (name, social security number, driver license number, etc.) has been used fraudulently to open credit accounts, bank accounts, obtain loans, utilities, telephone services, etc., without your knowledge or permission, you are the victim of the crime of identity theft. If you believe that your identity has been stolen, you should take the following steps:

  • immediately contact the company or financial institution's fraud department where your information was used and alert them of this fraudulent account. Have the account closed or cancelled.

  • file an immediate police report with the law enforcement agency holding jurisdiction where the identity theft occurred and obtain a case number. The location of jurisdiction is where the account(s) were opened or services provided. If your identity has been assumed outside of Broward County and you wish to file an information report with the Broward County Sheriff's Office, you may do so. The report will be forwarded to the jurisdiction where the crime occurred.

  • Contact the three credit reporting companies listed below to report this identity theft complaint. You will need to confirm that a fraud alert is placed on your personal credit file. This alert should help prevent any future acts of fraud involving your personal identification information where a credit check would be conducted with the three credit bureaus.

Note: identity theft cases are generally difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt due to a lack of adequate physical evidence. This is due in part to standard business practices (or policies) as businesses conduct day-to-day operations. Businesses are normally unable to provide necessary evidence (applications, contracts, receipts, etc.) or have had no actual personal contact with the perpetrator of the fraudulent act.

On occasion, you may receive information about the perpetrator such as an address, phone number or an e-mail address used to commit fraud. This information is a leadin the investigation and while usually not sufficient in and of itself to make an arrest or to facilitate submission of the case to the State Attorney's Office, you should report the information to the law enforcement agency where you filed the police report. Evidence must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the perpetrator is in fact the specific individual who committed the crime of identity theft.


Check Forgery

If you've discovered that someone has been forging checks on your checking account, you should take the following steps:


Theft of Checks

Immediately notify your financial institution of the theft. They will flag your account and determine if any stolen checks have been cashed (uttered). Make a prompt police report with the law enforcement agency holding jurisdiction where the theft occurred and obtain a case number. Provide a sworn statement to the deputy or officer, listing your bank or credit union name, account number, the check numbers of the stolen checks any possible suspect information. Include a statement that no one had your permission to take, possess or use your checks.


Checks Forged (Stolen) On Your Account

If you discover in your monthly bank statements that someone has stolen check(s) and has cashed them by forging your signature, immediately notify your bank or credit union. Make a police report as described above. You are considered a victim of the theft of checks only. Provide your bank or credit union with the original forged checks, complete and sign forgery affidavits for each forged check.

Note: Your bank or credit union will normally take the financial loss and should credit your account. Once this is done, they become the victim of the uttering of a forgery. A victim of uttering of a forgery is ultimately determined by whomever suffers the money loss. Even though your signature has been forged, you will be considered only as a witness in this case. If the bank or credit union determines that you were negligent and does not credit your account, then you will become the victim of uttering of a forgery.


Recipient of Forged Checks (Stolen or Counterfeit)

If you discover that unauthorized checks (stolen or counterfeit) have been cashed or deposited to your account, take the original forged checks to you bank or credit union. You will be required to complete and sign fraud / forgery affidavits for each check. Your bank or credit union will investigate to determine exactly how and when these stolen or counterfeit checks entered your account. They will then do one of the following:

  • Accept the financial loss and make an uttering of a forgery report with the law enforcement agency holding jurisdiction of where the check(s) were uttered / presented for payment; or

  • Notify the merchant, bank, etc. from where the check was initially received, return the check(s) in question and request repayment for their loss. The merchant or bank will have to make the uttering of a forgery complaint report with the law enforcement agency holding jurisdiction where the check was presented.

If you are the victim of any of these crimes, contact the three credit reporting companies listed below. Request that a fraud alert be placed on your personal credit file. This should help prevent any future acts of fraud. The following is a list of credit bureaus that may be contacted when there is a dispute over your credit. These bureaus can provide you with a detailed account of your credit history. Victims of economic crimes are encouraged to contact the following companies when their identity has been compromised by criminal activity.


EXPERIAN

http://www.experian.com/
To report fraud, dispute an item in your credit report, or order a copy of your credit report, call:
1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742) or write to:
P.O. Box 9352 Allen, TX. 75013


EQUIFAX

http://www.equifax.com/
To report fraud, call:
1-800-525-6285 / Fax 1-800-255-0056 or write to:
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA. 30374-0241
To obtain a copy of your credit report, call 1-800-685-1111 or write to:
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA. 30374-0241


TRANS UNION

http://www.transunion.com/
To report fraud, call: 1-800-680-7289 / Fax 1-877-553-7803 or write to:
Fraud Victim Assistance Division
P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA. 92634-6790
To obtain a copy of your credit report or to dispute an item in your credit report, call:
1-800-916-8800 or write:
Trans Union - Consumer Relations
P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA. 19022


Helpful Resources


United States Secret Service

U.S. Treasury

http://www.secretservice.gov/
Investigates account takeovers and fraudulent use of Social Security Numbers
Social Security "Hot Line"
1-800-269-0271


United States Postal Inspectors

http://www.usps.gov/
Investigates mail fraud and fraudulent applications for credit by mail
Ft. Lauderdale Office
(954) 436-7200


Federal Trade Commission

http://www.ftc.gov/
Consumer Response Center
Identity Theft: 1-800-382-4357


Tele-Check

problems with checking account frauds and opened accounts.
1-800-366-2425


Consumer Credit Counseling Service

Advice and direction to victim
1-800-388-2227


Free Annual Credit Reports

http://www.annualcreditreport.com/
Your credit reports are available to you without charge once each year from this site sponsored by Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.


  

Programming emergency contact information into your cell phone under the listing "ICE" (In Case of Emergency) and carrying BSO's ICE identification card in a wallet or purse can assist first responders in contacting family and friends in the event you're involved in an emergency. Approximately 1,400 people treated by BSO paramedics annually were unable to communicate with rescuers due to illness or trauma. Emergency contact information is frequently vital to facilitate treatment during life-threatening situations.

To program ICE into your cell phone:

  • Access the address book feature of your cell phone.

  • Enter the name ICE.

  • Enter the phone number of your husband, wife, parent or whomever needs to know about you in case of an emergency.

You may also register your ICE information with your driver's license. Visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles. The I.C.E. program was originally developed in 2004 in the United Kingdom by first responder Bob Brotchie and quickly spread into other countries.

  

Protect yourself from Africanized honey bees

Colonies of Africanized honey bees (also called "Africanized bees" or "killer bees") are found more frequently in South Florida lately. Imported to South America in 1956 by Brazilian scientists attempting to breed a honey bee better suited to tropical regions, some of the bees escaped quarantine and began breeding with local Brazilian honey bees and have since moved north; in the last 10 years, the bees have found in North America.

Attacks from these aggressive bees may result in serious injury or even death. The Broward Sheriff's Office offers these tips to help you stay safe:

  • Check your property regularly for bee colonies. Honey bees nest in a wide variety of places, especially Africanized honey bees. Look for bees in work areas before using power equipment. Check animal burrows, water meter boxes, overturned flower pots, trees and shrubs.

  • Keep pets and children indoors when using weed eaters, hedge clippers, lawn mowers, chain saws, etc. Attacks frequently occur when a person is mowing the lawn or pruning shrubs and inadvertently strikes a nest.

  • If you encounter a swarm, run as quickly as you can in a straight line away from the bees. Do not flail or swing your arms at them, as this may further annoy them. Get to the closest house or car as quickly as possible. Don't worry if a few bees become trapped in your home. If several bees follow you into your car, drive about a quarter of a mile and le the bees out.

  • Because bees target the head and eyes, cover your head as much as you can without slowing your escape.

  • Don't jump in the water. Africanized honey bees can wait longer than you can.

  • Avoid excessive motion when near a colony. Bees are much more likely to respond to an object in motion than a stationary one.

  • Don't pen, tie or tether animals near bee hives or nests and never attempt to remove a nest yourself. Find a reputable pest control company that specializes in bee removal. Check with your local cooperative extension office or the State Department of Agriculture &Consumer Services for trained and licensed pest control operators in your area.

If you're attacked:

Call BSO Fire Rescue only when emergency medical services are needed. If someone has been stung by many bees at once or has an allergic reaction to a bee sting, call 9-1-1. Call if someone has become trapped in a building or car with many bees. BSO's fire trucks are equipped with foam that can be sprayed on the bees to drown them. Don't call BSO Fire Rescue and ask for the hive to be removed; contact a pest control company.

  

The Internet is an increasingly important place for children to learn, work and play. But it also presents challenges for parents, teens and younger children, especially considering the anonymity that masks users. You can help your child avoid online pornography and encounters with predators, hackers and others who would exploit children and their personal information by establishing rules for Internet use, and making sure the rules are enforced.


General tips for parents:

  • Learn everything you can about the Internet. Have your children show you the sites they visit, learn chat room lingo and acronyms that chatters use (like POS for Parent Over Shoulder; more examples are included on this page.). Know what other Internet functionality your child may have access to like instant messaging, chat, e-mail and other text messaging. Visit http://www.cybertipline.com/ for a quick lesson.

  • Establish approved Internet time and territory. Make it clear to children what sites they can and cannot visit, what hours they may use Internet, and with whom they may communicate.

  • Keep the computer in a common area of the home, such as a living room or family room, where adults can easily monitor online activity.

  • Discuss the importance of telling you or a trusted adult if something ever makes your child or teen feel scared, uncomfortable or confused while online.

  • Consider safeguarding options like site blocking, filtering and monitoring. Enter these keywords into any search engine to learn more about software and browser settings that can help you control where children and teens go online. Know how to set parental controls and check the browser's history files.

  • Show your children how to turn off the monitor when something makes them feel scared, uncomfortable or confused.

  • Make sure you are aware of any other places your child may be using the Internet, such as a friend's house or the library.

  • Talk to your children about what personal information is and why they should never give it out.

E-mail safety:

  • Check the e-mail your children receive for appropriate content. All too often, e-mail addresses are "harvested" by unscrupulous marketers; the resulting "spam" messages frequently contain adult content.

  • NEVER post your child's e-mail address in any directory.

  • Don't "unsubscribe" on unwanted, un-requested or unsolicited e-mail. Don't sign up for free offers (remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it is!).

  • Don't forward e-mails to everyone in your address book.

  • Make sure children only exchange email with people they know and let them use chat areas you supervise.

Tips for children and teens:

  • Don't give out your personal information such as name, age, address, telephone number, parent/guardian's name, and school name/address.

  • Do not respond to mean, offensive, threatening, or unwanted email or instant messaging.

  • Choose a screen name that doesn't identify you as a young boy or girl.

  • Don't share your password with anyone (except a parent/guardian)-not even your best friend.

  • NEVER agree to meet with someone you don't know. Remember, people online may or MAY NOT be who they say they are.

  • Tell your parents, a teacher or trusted adult if you read or see something online that makes you uncomfortable or if someone threatens you or suggests you meet.

More resources:

http://www.netsmartz.org/

http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/net_safety.html

http://www.fbi.gov/publications/pguide/pguidee.htm

http://familyinternet.about.com/cs/internetsafety1/a/safety01.htm


  

It's the title of the Broward Sheriff's Office campaign to help safeguard the well-being of Broward's children, and it reflects the attitude that drives BSO's efforts to spread this important message to adults and children.

Throughout the year, BSO presents programs, events and online information to help raise community awareness of child safety from helping prevent physical abuse and neglect to safe swimming demonstrations during the summer months. An ongoing campaign, BSO is committed to continually working with local partners to help identify opportunities that will bring the Kids Come First message to Broward's residents. The campaign was launched in April 2006 when the Broward Sheriff's Office and staff from Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood joined forces to raise awareness of child abuse issues and emphasize child protection during National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Included in BSO's Kids Come First efforts:

  • A special section of our web site, BSO Kids, is targeted to children and features the agency's kid-friendly mascot, Quiggley, an alligator that dons law enforcement and fire rescue gear and offers safety tips on topics ranging from safety on the Internet to escaping an active fire to dealing with bullies.
  • BSO firefighters introduced their new "smoke house," a mobile demonstration vehicle that allows children to crawl under simulated smoke, helping them to understand the proper way to escape a blaze. Firefighters teach youngsters the importance of smoke detectors and how to duck under smoke to save themselves in a fire.

  

Empty your medicine cabinet of unused, unnecessary or expired prescription medication immediately. You can do so by participating in one of our prescription drug "take back" programs. Participants can drop off prescription drugs with no questions asked and receive a $5.00 gift card to local stores and pharmacies. For information about when and where BSO will hold its next "take back" program.


Would You Know if Your Child Was Addicted to Prescription Drugs?

While illegal drug use among teens is falling, teen prescription drug abuse is on the rise. One in five teens has abused a prescription pain medication, and in Florida prescription drugs have killed 300% more people than illegal drugs.


Prescription and Non Prescription Overdose Deaths

Between June 2010 and May 2011, the Broward Sheriff's Office Homicide Unit investigated 53 overdose death cases in Broward County.

  • 79% of those deaths were overdoses by prescription drugs; 21% were from other drugs.

  • 85% of these deaths were accidental; 15% were intentional suicides.

  • 96% of the victims were Caucasian; 4% were African American.

  • 70% of the victims were men; 30% were women.

Prescription drugs are easier for kids to get than illicit drugs mostly from their parents' medicine cabinets, but also from friends' homes, internet pharmacies or classmates. Some signs that your child might be abusing include:

  • personality changes

  • social withdrawal

  • a change in appearance

  • erratic behavior

What Parents Can Do

  • Monitor your medicine cabinets. Count how many pills you have and make note of the date when you should expect to refill your prescriptions. Be aware that kids may obtain these drugs from medicine cabinets while visiting friends or family. Restrict the availability of these substances within your home.

  • Talk with your child about drug use. Help him or her understand that misused prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as street drugs. When used in combination with other substances, such as alcohol, prescription drug use can be fatal.

  • Attend a "drug take back" program to rid your home of useless or expired medications. Visit www.sheriff.org/OMC for dates and times.

More Information

For more information about BSO's Prescription Drug Take Back Program please contact:
Jonathon Fishman, Prescription Drug Prevention Specialist
Broward Sheriff's Office
(954) 321-4146
jonathon_fishman@sheriff.org

  

Especially among senior citizens, accidental falls can be prevented. BSO's Department of Fire Rescue offers this advice:


Exercise Regularly

Reduce your chances of falling by beginning and maintaining a regular exercise program. Exercise makes you stronger, helps you feel better and improves balance and coordination. Non-strenuous exercise like Tai Chi can be very beneficial. Ask your doctor or health care worker about the best type of exercise program for you.


Make your Home Safer

About half of all accidental falls happen at home, so remove tripping hazards (papers, books, clothes and shoes) from stairs and places where you walk. Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping.

In the Bathroom:

  • Install and use grab bars to get into and out of the tub or shower

  • Use a bath chair or stool in the shower

  • Don't use throw rugs or wax on the bathroom floor. Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors

  • Use a raised toilet seat with arm rails

  • Use soap-on-a-rope or place a bar of soap in a nylon stocking with one end tied to a towel bar

In the Kitchen:

  • Use a long-handled sponge/mop to wipe up spills

  • Keep your floors smooth but not slippery

  • Store your often-used supplies in easy-to-reach cabinets

  • Avoid hard-to-reach wall phones; consider a table model or a cordless phone that can be carried from room to room

Around the House:

  • Use nightlights for hallways and bathrooms; make certain stairways well-lit

  • Wear low-heeled, comfortable shoes with nonskid soles. Don't walk around in socks, slippers or stockings on bare floors

  • Make sure carpets, including those on stairs, have skid-proof backing or are tacked to the floor

  • Improve the lighting in your home. As you get older, you need brighter lights to see well. Lamp shades or frosted bulbs can reduce glare

  • Have handrails put on all staircases

Have your doctor or pharmacist examine the medicines you take (including ones that don't need prescriptions such as cold medicines). As you get older, the way some medicines work in your body can change and make you drowsy or light-headed.

Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor. You may be wearing the wrong glasses or have a condition such as glaucoma or cataracts that limits your vision.

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Broward's Sheriff's Office
2601 West Broward Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312

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