Friday, June 17, 2005

Stay Alert—Crime Tips

I periodically receive tips from the Los Angeles Police Department that I like to pass along. Here is their advice on avoiding carjackings. In all of Los Angeles, there were 225 carjackings in the January-June 13 period of 2005, down 9.3% from last year. Don't panic, but stay safe.

There are many precautionary steps that you can take that will help ensure your safety. Before you enter your car, make sure to pay attention to your surroundings. If someone is loitering near your car, wait until the individual leaves. Most importantly, trust your instincts. If something makes you feel uneasy, get into the car quickly, lock the doors, and drive away.

Once in the car, keep your windows and doors locked, and if you come to a stop, leave enough space to maneuver around other cars. If a suspicious individual approaches your car, calmly drive away. If you see a stranger looming near your place of residence or work, drive around the block until the person leaves. Additionally, try to drive with someone, especially in areas unfamiliar to you.

When getting out of your car, try to park in well-lighted areas, and avoid parking near dumpsters, woods, and large vans. Don’t leave valuables in plain view, and even if you’re in a rush, try to check your surroundings before you leave.

If you are involved in a carjacking, remember that safety comes first. If you are threatened with a gun, give up your car, leave the area as quickly as possible, try to remember what the carjacker looked like, and report the crime immediately to the police.

Finally, there are proactive steps you can take to make sure that a carjacking does not happen in your neighborhood. Contact your Neighborhood Watch, local law enforcement agencies, and others to get the word out about prevention.

I can't overstate the importance of reporting crime. To contact your local police station, call 3-1-1 or contact my office.