I reviewed a number of reports recently that indicates we still have thieves going around and getting into unlocked cars and garages. I would encourage you not to leave valuables in your vehicles. Right now, it seems like CDs, cell phones and cash are the items of choice. Unfortunately, these folks generally grab everything and dump what they don't want. It is definitely unwise to leave your keys in your car. Most of the vehicles stolen in Northfield are found with the keys still in the ignition.
We have also received reports that we have people traveling to Northfield driving around neighborhoods during the day checking out what is visible in garages where the doors are left open. The thieves then return after dark to help themselves to the contents. Oftentimes the garage doors are still open. Please be sure to lock your garage when you are not actively working in or around it.
A recent interview with an admitted thief caught in the act, revealed that among circles of drug users and car prowlers, this area is a good target to find unlocked vehicles and homes in which to steal items from. The Star Tribune published a recent article about this problem. To read that article, click here.
We are also getting increased reports of identity theft incidents. In many cases, thieves are removing mail from residential mailboxes that individuals have put there with the flag up for the postal carrier to pick up. The flag up on the mailbox is a signal for a potential thief as well as the carrier. We would strongly suggest that you take your mail, especially bills and items that reveal your identity to a U.S. Postal mail box for pickup.
There have been a number of inquiries lately about emails people receive that look like they are from a bank or credit card company. The emails are asking for account information and social security numbers. Your banks, credit card companies, and insurance companies already have your credit information and don't need to have it verified through an email There are also people who have taken a snapshot of the Amazon.com home page and are sending it to people asking them to fill in their information, including credit card information. I can't get a response from Amazon but an examination of the email I got showed it didn't come from Amazon.com, so be careful.
If you have a concern about anything you receive by mail, email or a phone, it is best for you to contact the business directly to determine if they sent you the request. Do not respond to emails just because they look "official." It is quite easy to acquire a web address containing the name of a well known business or financial institution within five minutes on the Internet. These folks establish the site for about 24 hours and then abandon it after they get the information from unsuspecting victims who respond.
On a brighter note I want to remind you that our National Night Out activity will be this Tuesday, August 3rd from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Northfield Safety Center. There will be many representatives present to discuss their programs. We will have crime prevention and Neighborhood Watch information available as well.
I also want to congratulate our Northfield Police Explorers and Sergeant Ted Berg on their successful competition at the National Explorer Conference. I've asked for some photos and information that I'll post as soon as I receive it.