Although we like to consider Livingston a haven from serious crime, we are not immune to the same problems that most communities share. Commonly committed crimes that may affect visitors include; property theft, theft from vehicles, vandalism, and stolen vehicles. These are often preventable crimes. We simply recommend that you exercise reasonable caution, and take the following steps to help reduce the chances of becoming a victim:
- Always lock vehicles and never leave keys in the ignition.
- Keep personal items locked inside the vehicle, out of sight if possible, or move them to a secure location. Property left in plain sight or exposed in the back of pickup trucks, boats or trailers are an open invitation to thieves.
- At night (when staying in motels, for instance), try to park vehicles in well lit areas and in public view. Unless necessary, do not leave vehicles unattended in remote locations for extended periods of time.
- Maintain an inventory of valuable items, documenting such information as make, model, serial numbers, value, and any other identifying characteristics. In the event of theft this information is important for the police report, and will assist in our efforts to recover and return stolen property. Lost property should also be reported to law enforcement.
- Have appropriate phone numbers for credit card companies, banks and cell phone carriers readily available. Promptly notify them if your credit cards, cash cards, cell phones or personal checks are lost or stolen.
As we are dedicated to providing assistance when needed, we also have the responsibility to enforce our laws in a fair and consistent maner. We certainly hope to avoid negative contact with our visitors by asking that they comply with the law and understand that officers may be obligated to take enforcement action, using reasonable discretion when appropriate. Most laws are fairly consistent from community to community, and from state to state. However, we do have some laws that may be unique or differ from what you are accustomed to. Please contact the police department if you have any questions about our laws, or to inquire about the legality of a specific activity.
Frauds and Scams
Improved technology has facilitated the opportunity for criminals to prey on unsuspecting citizens at an alarming rate, especially through the internet and via e-mail. Some so-called scams, although less than honest, may even be legal. We are faced with the reality that people use very creative and effective ways to successfully try to (and do) take your money.
Scams comes in various forms, all appearing to be legitimate, including; offers received through the mail, phone solicitations, door to door sales pitches, and e-mail transactions. With the popularity of on-line internet banking, sophisticated criminals are finding ways to access bank accounts and obtain funds. All they usually need is your willingness to provide personal information.
In most cases, frauds and scams are carried out simply because people were led to believe the transaction was legitimate, and they didn't follow some simple guidelines to protect themselves. Below are some tips that should be followed to help avoid becoming a victim.
- Always be suspicious of lucrative opportunities. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is.
- Never give personal information out to anyone, unless you initiate the transaction or are certain the transaction is legitimate. This includes over the internet, or responding to e-mail requests.
- Do not respond to e-mail requests to update banking information without checking with your bank to verify that it is a legitimate request.
- Do not respond to e-mail requests to provide personal information, regardless of how legitimate the request seems to be, unless you initiated the contact and know where the information is going.
- Don't be pressured by telemarketers. All you have to do is hang up.
- Don't be pressured by door-to-door salespersons. You can simply ask them to leave and close the door. In Livingston, city ordinance prohibits the solicitation of goods or services on private residential property unless invited by the resident.
- Junk mail is usually just that...junk. Don't fall for gimmicks, such as free offers, free trips, cash prizes, etc. Nothing is free. You will end up paying something, probably much more than you expected.
- Never donate money without verifying that it is going toward a legitimate cause. If you are unsure, check into it by asking for written information or internet websites, or have them refer you to a local contact person you could speak with.
- Never spend, donate or invest more money than you can afford to lose. If you are unsure about any transaction, talk with friends, family members or an attorney for advice. If in doubt, decline the offer.
- Don't be pressured into making quick decisions. A legitimate business transaction will wait until you have had time to check into it and make an informed decision that you feel comfortable with.
- Don't throw out mail, receipts or other documents that contain your personal information, such as bank account numbers or credit card numbers. People could use this information to access your accounts, or assume your identity. Destroy these documents by burning, shredding, or otherwise disposing in such a manner that they are not legible to others who may find them.
- Promptly contact law enforcement to report suspicious activities, or if you have fallen victim to a fraudulent scheme. Keep in mind....it may be difficult, or impossible, for law enforcement to successfully investigate many of these types of crimes. It is even more difficult to recover lost money. The best prevention is to avoid becoming a victim.
The following links can provide more information: