PROCEDURE FOR OBTAINING A TRAFFIC CRASH REPORT
Crash reports are ready for pick-up 72 hours after the day of the crash. (excluding holidays and weekends)
Crash reports can be obtained from the Police Clerks office located at 600 Stanley Merrill Drive. Fatal Crash reports or serious physical injury reports involving a D.U.I. that are completed by the Traffic Homicide Unit, may take up to 30 days for completion.
THE OFFICER SAID I WAS AT FAULT IN A TRAFFIC CRASH. CAN I GET THAT CHANGED?
Crash reports are based upon the Officer's opinion of what happened. Reports ARE NOT changed because a driver simply disagrees with the Officer's opinion. Gross errors on the report's data, such as vehicle and driver information, can be changed. Remember, on the crash report, it reads:
"The data on this report reflects the best knowledge, opinion, and belief regarding the crash, but no warrant is made as to the factual accuracy thereof."
PROCEDURE FOR OBTAINING A POLICE PATROL REQUEST
An example would be where a citizen is going on vacation and they would like the Police Department to provide an extra patrol of their residential and/or business property. The request would be made in the following manner:
Call the Police Department at (256) 831-3121
Tell the Police Communications Officer you would like to make a patrol request.
Give your name and the address you would like to receive the patrols.
Give the date the request should begin and your return date.
List any vehicles and person(s) authorized to be there during your absence.
Provide the name and telephone number of an emergency contact.
1. Make your home look as lived-in as possible while you're away.
2. Let your neighbors and the Oxford Police know.
3. Give a spare key to a neighbor you trust and give them an emergency telephone number to reach you.
4. Arrange to have your mail and newspapers either stopped or picked up daily.
5. Have someone mow your yard or rake the leaves so your house looks lived-in.
6. Use automatic timers to turn on a radio, television and lights at different times to hide the fact you are not home.
7. Turn down the ringer on the telephone. An unanswered telephone is a dead give-away.
8. Be sure you don't announce your absence on your answering machine message.
9. Leave your blinds like you normally would if you were home. Only close them all the way if that is what you would normally do.
10. Be sure to close and lock the garage as well as any storage sheds, gates, etc.
11. Engrave all your valuables with your driver's license number. If possible, videotape the contents of your home. Be sure to keep the video and the list of valuables in a safety deposit box.
12. Ask your neighbor to occasionally park in your driveway. If you are leaving a vehicle parked outside, have the neighbor move it periodically so it looks as though you are home.
How To Protect Yourself
Credit Reporting Bureaus:
Agency Phone Website
Equifax (888) 766-0008 www.equifax.com
Experian (888) 397-3742 www.experian.com
TransUnion (800) 680-7289 www.transunion.com
Credit Report. Request a free copy of your credit report at
www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228 or by writing P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Make sure all activity listed belongs to you.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE THE VICTIM OF IDENTITY THEFT
Immediately call the fraud units of the three credit reporting companies—Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. Report the theft of your credit cards or number. Ask that your account be flagged.
Also, add a victim’s statement to your report. (My ID has been used fraudulently to apply for credit cards. Contact me at "your number" to verify all applications.) Ask how long the fraud alert is posted on your
account, and how you can extend it if necessary.
2. Identity Theft
Contact all creditors immediately with whom your name has been used fraudulently—by phone and in writing. Get replacement cards with new account numbers for your own accounts that have been used fraudulently. Ask that old accounts be processed as "account closed at consumer’s request." (This is better than "card lost or stolen," because when this statement is reported to credit bureaus, it can be interpreted as blaming you for the loss.) Carefully monitor your mail and credit card bills for evidence of new fraudulent activity. Report it immediately to credit grantors.
3. Stolen checks
If you have had checks stolen or bank accounts set up fraudulently, report it to the check verification companies. Put stop payments on any outstanding checks that you are unsure of. Cancel your checking and savings accounts and obtain new account numbers.
Give the bank a secret password for your account.
4. ATM Cards
If you’re ATM or debit card has been stolen or compromised, report it immediately. Get a new card, account number and password. Do not use your old password. When creating a password, don’t use common numbers like the last four digits of your social security number or your birth date.
5. Fraudulent Change of Address
Notify the local postal inspector if you suspect an identity thief has filed a change of your address with the post office or has used the mail to commit credit or bank fraud. Find out where the fraudulent credit cards were sent. Notify the local postmaster for that address to forward all mail in your name to your own address. You may also need to talk with the mail carrier.
6. Secret Service jurisdiction
The secret service has jurisdiction over financial fraud, but it usually does not investigate individual cases unless the dollar amount is high or you are one of the many victims in a fraud ring. To interest the secret service in your case, you may want to ask the fraud department of the credit card companies and/or banks, as well as the police investigator, to notify the particular secret service agent they work with.
7. Social Security Number Misuse
Call the social security administration to report fraudulent use of your social security number.As a last resort, you might want to try and change your number; the SSA will only change it, however, if you fit their fraud victim criteria. Also order a copy of your earnings and benefits statement and check it for accuracy.
DRIVING TIPS FOR TEENS
In the last decade, over 68,000 teens have died in car crashes. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for American teenagers. Car crashes are the #1 cause of death for 16-year olds. Taking on the role of driving coach and sharing years of experience may save your child's life.
Teens are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as other drivers. 65 percent of all teen passenger deaths occur when another teen is driving.
At 35 mph, a 2-second lapse in attention means you've traveled 100 feet without looking! Teens are much more likely to be distracted when traveling with other teens. Teens have the lowest seat belt use rate of all drivers. This rate becomes worse when there are other teens in the car.
Perception is about one second and time to react is about three-fourths of a second in ideal conditions. During the first year of licensed driving, 1-in-5 male and about 1-in-10 female 16-year old drivers will have a crash. Males are more than twice as likely to have serious crashes as females. But while the crash total for males has been declining over the past 20 years, the total for females has been rising. Only 32 states require a learner's permit before obtaining a driver's license. Only 15 of those 32 require the permits to be held for a minimum length of time. Don't forget: As the parent, you are the boss! Driving is a privilege-especially for teens. The parent giveth and the parent taketh away.
Tip #1: Make It Old and Bold - Old, Large and Solid - Think classic station wagon Check vehicle’s history. Make sure it is safe to drive
Tip #2: Less is More – The Potential Catastrophe of Passengers
Other teens in the car with your teen driver adds to the risk.
Friends lead to excitement, distraction and peer pressure.
Fatal crashes with teens are more likely to involve passengers.
Teens are less likely to wear seat belts when driving with other teens.
Teens plus teens in a car equals disaster. Just say "No" to passengers for the first year of driving.
Tip #3: Keep Your Hands on the Wheel to Avoid Distractions.
Keep both hands on the wheel while driving.
Don’t talk on the cell phone without a hands-free accessory.
Wait until the next stoplight to change that CD.
Don’t drive with passengers until you are more experienced.
Tip #4: Kissing the Windshield: Why Teens Don’t Buckle Up
Most teens grew up riding in car seats, but today they are not buckling up. So what gets young drivers and passengers to buckle up?
Linking belt use to graduate driving privileges.
Making your teen pay any fines that they incur.
Teaching by example – always wear your seat belt.
Exercising your parental authority.
Tell your kids to buckle up or walk. No Negotiations. When they have kids they’ll understand.
Tip #5: Defensive Driving for Teens
The first year of driving is a high risk period, especially for beginners starting at age 16. Inexperience, nervousness and lack of practical skills can lead to bad decisions behind the wheel. Create a home graduated license program with your licensed teen.
Continue to ride along and coach your teen.
Set a driving curfew (morning & night).
Monitor and limit driving during inclement weather.
Restrict the number of passengers when your teen is driving.
Talk to your teen – find out what techniques he/she has trouble with.
Take your teen to a parking lot with low or no traffic and have them practice the techniques.
Parents, teach your teen to drive defensively. Anticipate conditions and situations that increase risk. Watch for poor driving habits like not signaling, sloppy turns, speeding, lack of alertness or overcorrecting.
Tip #6: Boys vs. Girls
More and more female drivers are taking to the road as aggressively as males and paying the price for their risky behavior. Parents must teach both sons and daughters. This is not a competition either of them wants to win.
Tip #7: Learner’s Permit required
States with the most lenient licensing procedures have the highest crash rates for teens. Whether your state has a strict licensing procedure or not, you should always:
Set your own waiting period for your teen.
Pursue a driving instruction program.
Log plenty of practice time with your teen before letting your teen take the exam.
Tip #8: Parent Teen Driving Agreement
To help your teen understand, take the time to review issues and responsibilities associated with driving. Consider making a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement, using the outline below as a guide.
Issue – Curfew
Responsibilities/Rules – Weekday evening curfew 10 pm and a weekend evening curfew of midnight.
Agreement – Coming home after the curfew will result in the curfew being set one hour earlier for the next week, or the driving privileges being taken away.
Issue – Drinking alcohol and Driving
Loss of driving privileges
Tip #9: We all need our space. The 3 second Rule
Allowing enough space between you and other cars on the road allows for time to react in case of an emergency.
As the car in front of you passes a fixed point like a sign, tree or building, count "one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three". If you reach the designated point before three, slow down.
Increase your distance by one for each bad driving condition. For rain and fog you would add two seconds.
Make sure you drive in the middle of the lane to allow space on the side of the car. If the driver behind you is too close, change lanes and let them pass.
HOME BURGLARY PREVENTION
Make your House "Hard"
That is, make it seem difficult to a burglar. If he/she perceives it as difficult to enter to enter, the chances are that he/she will try somewhere else.
Develop Rapport with Neighbors
Establish that you can count on them and that they can count on you to report suspicious activities to the police. Nothing beats a cautious neighbor, ready to call 911, for burglary protection.
Have Good Lighting
Put plenty of lighting around the perimeter of your house. If you don't want your house lit up all night, install the type of lights that go on only when triggered by motion. They have the added advantage of being startling to a burglar.
Install a Burglar Alarm
The best kind is the kind that rings in the house, not the kind that electronically (and silently) reports to a central office. Your neighbor is less likely to phone in a false alarm than someone miles (or States) away listening to a machine. They also cost less. The police department recommends that you have alarms professionally installed.
Have a Second Line of Defense
If a burglar gets past your perimeter alarm system, there should be a secondary alarm system inside. One type is a sensor under a rug that goes off when more than 25 pounds pressure is applied (probably better if you have pets). The other is some type of sonic detector that senses motion in a room.
Dogs are a good deterrent - burglars will generally avoid a house with a dog. But they aren't foolproof - most dogs tend to be too friendly.
Sliding Glass Doors
Many burglars enter homes through poorly protected sliding glass doors. Additional locks and security measures here will prevent the door from being opened or lifted out of the track.
Screws installed in the track above the sliding door frame will prevent the door from being lifted out of the track. Drill a pilot hole in the top track above, and slightly in, from each corner of the sliding door frame section and install a screw into each hole. Adjust the screws so that the head of the screw just barely clears the frame when it is moved back and forth.
Auxiliary patio door locks may also be purchased and install easily.
Doors in General
Have solid doors with strong locks and strike plates at all entrances. Weak strike plates for your locks will totally defeat strong locks; they can be kicked open. Metal doors are best; thick, solid wood doors are next. Never, never use a hollow-panel door on any kind of entrance.
These doors need solid security as they are easily jimmied or forced open. Flush lever bolts installed at the top and bottom of the doors are recommended. Make sure the bolt is long, sturdy and mounted into a solid door frame.
Doors with Windows
If you have doors with glass windows or glass ornamentation, they should be secured the same way as double doors (above). This prevents the burglar from breaking the glass and reaching inside to unlock the door.
Standard locks on garage doors are easily pried, allowing a burglar access to your home without detection. Cane bolts and hasps are excellent protection. Make certain each side of the garage door is secured to prevent prying open a crawl space. The do or leading from the garage into the house should be securely locked. The more barriers you provide against the burglar, the better protected you are.
Many homes have doors which open to the outside, exposing the hinge pins. Despite your good strong lock, the burglar can remove the pins and lift the door from the frame. To prevent this, remove two opposing screws from each leaf of the hinge. Screw a long lag bolt into the frame side of the hinge leaf and saw off the head leaving about 1/2 inch protruding. Drill out the opposite hole to allow the bolt to enter when the door is closed. Do this to the top and bottom hinge plates. The hinge pins can now be removed by the burglar but the door will remain firmly in place. This technique is good for any door, no matter how the hinges have been placed.
In order to avoid opening your door without knowing who is there, install a door viewer. This device has a wide angle lens to let you see someone standing outside your door without opening it.
A deadbolt lock can provide good protection. When you turn the key, the lock mechanism slides a strong metal bolt from the door into the frame. When you buy a deadbolt lock, make sure:
- The bolt extends at least one inch from the edge of the door.
- The connecting screws that hold the lock together are on the inside of the door.
- The strike plate is attached to the door frame with screws that measure at least three inches in length.
- The cylinder has a steel guard around the key section. The cylinder guard should be tapered or rotate freely around the key section to prevent wrenching if it is twisted.
- Single Cylinder Deadbolt
- A solid bolt, activated by a key from the outside or a knob on the inside, slides into the door frame. The lock cannot be slipped or easily pried. Deadbolt locks are only as good as the door and frame they are installed in.
Double Cylinder Deadbolt
This lock is basically the same as the single cylinder deadbolt, except that it requires a key to be used from either side to function. These are no longer recommended - they can be dangerous because unless the key is in the lock while someone is in the house, you could get locked in the house during an emergency (like a fire).
When selecting padlocks to secure your garage door, storage shed, fence gate or tool box, do not economize. Low priced locks are made from low quality materials and easily pried open or cut with bolt cutters. Look for these features when purchasing a padlock:
- Double locking shackle at the toe and heel
- Hardened steel shackle, the larger the diameter the better
- Five pin tumbler
- Key retaining feature (prevents removal of the key when unlocked)
- A strong steel hasp should be used with the padlock
Sliding glass windows should be given the same security treatment as sliding glass doors. Use the same supplementary locks or screws in the frame. Screws installed in the track above the sliding window frame will prevent the window from being lifted out of the track.
Drill a pilot hole in the top track above each corner of the window frame and install a screw into each hole. Adjust the screws so that the head of the screw just barely clears the frame when it is moved back and forth.
Casement - Crank Windows
These windows are easily secured. The latch should close properly with the window tight. With the latch in a closed position, drill a small hole through the latch frame and handle. Insert a metal pin through the hole to lock the window.
For additional security, a small padlock can be used in place of the pin. Key operated replacement latches are also available from a locksmith or hardware store. Keep the key handy in case of emergency.
Double Hung Windows
An easy, inexpensive way to secure your windows is to use the "pin" trick. Drill an angled hole through the top frame of the lower window partially into the frame of the upper window. Then insert the pin (a nail or an eyebolt which is slightly smaller in diameter than the hole). The window can't be opened until you remove the pin. Make a second set of holes with windows partially open so you can have ventilation without inviting intruders. You may also purchase special key locks for windows at a hardware store.
Look for clues that that people may be casing your neighborhood. A strange kid ringing doorbells and saying, "Can I speak to Charlie" may be checking to see if anyone is home. Also be suspicious if you see someone sitting for long periods in a parked car.
Get involved in Neighborhood Watch programs.
Remove a burglar's cover - keep hedges and trees trimmed away from your house.
When you are going to be gone for an extended period, don't make it obvious. Park cars in the driveway. Use timers to turn indoor and outdoor lights on and off. Leave the radio on (or put it on a timer too). Stop mail and newspaper deliveries. Have someone mow your lawn.
Don't keep valuables in your bedroom. Crooks normally make a beeline for the bedroom because they know that people tend to keep cash and jewelry there. Keep your valuables in an unlikely place, but not in the linen closet or the freezer (too common).