CRIME PREVENTION

The prevention of crimes in our community is a function of both patrol and education. Our police department is dedicated to preventing crimes against our citizens, and this section provides detail on some of our efforts, as well as links to helpful resources dealing with crime prevention.

Protect Your Identity!

Marketing Calls & Spam E-mail

C.A.R.E. Education Program

Curfew for Minors

Gang Awareness

Internet Safety

Solicitors at your Door

Illinois Crime Statistics

 Illinois Sex Offender Registry

 Beware of Scams!

HOME SECURITY SAFETY TIPS

LAKE COUNTY CRIMESTOPPERS

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Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft

Despite your best efforts to manage the flow of your personal information or to keep it to yourself, skilled identity thieves may use a variety of methods (both low-tech and high-tech) to gain access to your data. From stealing your wallet, purse or mail, or rummaging through your trash, to capturing data you might send on an unsecured Web site, identity thieves can obtain your information and embark on a spending spree at your expense. How can you protect yourself? What can you do if you become a victim? Answers to these and many other questions are available in the publication titled ID Theft, When Bad Things Happen To Your Good Name, provided by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The Winthrop Harbor Police Department encourages all citizens to read this publication, which can be downloaded in PDF format in both English and Spanish by clicking the links below.

ID Theft Publication Download in English
Download in Spanish

The 37-page publication includes a 7-page ID Theft Affidavit, which consumers who have become a victim of identity theft should use to report the crime to the Federal Trade Commission in addition to filing a police report with WHPD. To download just the ID Theft Affidavit click here.

A host of additional information and related publications is available at the Federal Trade Commission's Identity Theft Web site. Click the link below to visit the site.

ID Theft Web Site

 

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Telemarketers & E-mail Spam

Tired of those annoying telemarketing phone calls? The Federal Government created the National Do-Not-Call Registry to make it easier and more efficient for you to stop getting telemarketing calls you don't want. You can register for free by calling 1-888-382-1222 (TTY 1-866-290-4236) from the telephone number you wish to register. Or, register one or more telephone numbers on-line by visiting the Federal Trade Commission's Do-Not-Call Registry Web site. Click the link below to go there now...

Do you receive lots of junk e-mail messages? Unsolicited commercial e-mail (also known as "Spam") is not only annoying and time consuming, it costs business and consumers billions of dollars each year!

The Winthrop Harbor Police Department encourages citizens to visit the Federal Trade Commission's Web site on Spam E-mail. The site provides a host of information and strategies for reducing the amount of Spam you receive, and on how to avoid becoming a victim of commercial e-mail scams. Click the link below to visit the site now!

SPAM web  site

 

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Beware of Scams!

 Visit Scrooge.net for tips about scams!

Unfortunately, scam artists exist everywhere and prey on people young and old. Telephone scams, direct mail scams and other schemes can be lawful or unlawful, yet both types have the same result: separating you from your money.

We at the Winthrop Harbor Police Department encourage you to visit an interesting Web site about scams.... click on "old scrooge" at left and learn a bit about how to KEEP your money out of the grips of those who would gladly take it from you!

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Illinois Sex Offender Information

 Statewide Sex Offender Registry

The Illinois State Police provides an online listing of sex offenders required to register in the State of Illinois. The database is updated daily and allows searching by city, county, zip code or name.

The information contained in the Statewide Sex Offender Registry is made available pursuant to the requirements of Public Act 91-224 (730 ILCS 152/115 (b)).

Click on the icon to search the registry by city, county, zip-code or name.

For information regarding registered sex offenders residing in Winthrop Harbor, please contact the Winthrop Harbor Police Department.

9/10/02 News: The WHPD has established a Sex Crimes Unit to better serve the community. Click here for the whole story.

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Illinois Crime & Arrest Statistics

 Illinois Crime Statistics

The Illinois State Police provides a database of crime statistics on-line.

Viewing of crime data allows for selection of a year and a crime data category. Selecting crime types (e.g., murders, robberies) will display an Illinois map representing available county by county data for the established selection criteria. County specific information can be viewed by clicking on the counties of the map.

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Gang Awareness

As is the case almost everywhere, there is a presence of gangs in Winthrop Harbor. The Police Department responds to this presence by maintaining a "Zero Tolerance" attitude towards gangs and their activity in the Village by strict enforcement of laws and enlisting the help of parents, teachers, residents, businesses, social service agencies, and others to fight the problem. Remember it is much easier and safer to prevent gangs from taking control of a community than to retake control once the gangs have established their territory.

In Winthrop Harbor, children are also educated about the dangers of street gangs through our D.A.R.E. Officers. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program's 14th week focuses on teaching children "Ways to Deal with Pressure from Gangs". The sale of illegal drugs is a primary source of income for gangs. By teaching the kids to resist illegal drugs, we are attacking the gang's ability to fund their unlawful activities.

The Winthrop Harbor Police Department is also a member of the Lake County Gang Crimes Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional unit that conducts regular meetings to share intelligence information among numerous city, county, state, and federal agencies. Through our participation in this and other units, your Police Department is kept informed of not only what occurs in the Winthrop Harbor/Zion area, but throughout the entire region.

What is a gang?

In general, a gang is a group with a leader whose activities are either criminal, or at the very least, threatening to the community. Gangs can hurt and sometimes kill people. Sometimes they destroy property, deal in drugs and weapons, and steal. Gangs cause fear in the neighborhood, which in turn drives out businesses and residents. Gangs can take over communities in the most extreme cases.

Gang members can come from all ethnic, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds. Although gangs can be centered on race or ethnicity, many have members of all races. Most gang members are male and while most are in their teens and twenties, many are as young as eight years old. Others may be in their thirties, forties, or even older!

Why do kids join gangs?

Kids give different reasons for joining gangs, but the most common is to feel important and to be part of a group. They join for excitement, to earn money, and to be with friends. Many kids give in to gangs just so they can walk around the neighborhood without fear of being attacked. And for some kids, being part of a gang is a family tradition.

Although it may seem strange to people who obey the law, kids join gangs because the group meets basic human needs and offers socialization skills they did not get a home or at school. The better you understand and try to meet your child's needs, the less your child will go elsewhere to fulfill those needs. That's why it is so important for all parents to be aware of gangs and the possibility that gangs may try to influence your child.

What are the signs that my child might be in a gang?

As a parent, you may not be aware that your child is involved with a gang. Even if your child is not involved, you may be surprised to know how much he or she knows about gangs or tries to imitate gang members (imitators are known as "wannabe's" and may be mistaken for a gang member by a rival gang). Watch for these patterns in your child:

  • Changes types of friends.
  • Changes dress habits, including getting tattoos and/or wearing the same color combinations (i.e. professional sports team clothing) all of the time.
  • Uses strange hand signals, a new nickname, or unfamiliar slang vocabulary.
  • Writes or has gang symbols on books or clothing or in drawings.
  • Is secretive about activities and/or ignores curfews.
  • has extra cash from unknown sources.
  • Possesses any sort of weapon.
  • Shows declining interest in school, family and hobbies.

If you notice any of these things, you should not automatically assume your child is in a gang, nor should you accuse him or her of being in a gang. Rather, use these signs as an incentive to sit down and talk with your child about the dangers of gangs.

How can I prevent my child from joining a gang?

  • Show your child lots of affection and spend time together everyday!
  • Know the activities in which your children are involved and help them get involved in the arts, athletics, or whatever activities interest them. Take an active role in their interests!
  • Get to know your child's friends and their families.
  • Emphasize the importance of education and help your kid do his or her best in school. Don't let your child drop out!
  • Praise your children for doing well and encourage them to use their abilities to the fullest.
  • Let your child know that he or she doesn't need a gang! Talk with your child about your values and why gangs are dangerous...and listen to your child!


What can the community do to help prevent gangs?

In addition to your efforts, the community can - and should - play a very important role in preventing kids from getting tangled up in gangs. The more aware a community is, the better prepared it is to deal with gang problems. As a parent, you have the power to motivate other parents, the police community agencies, and schools to get more involved. So take action!

  • Create positive alternatives. After school and weekend programs, such as sports and tutoring, are ideal activities to consider.
  • Work with other parents. Talk to and support each other. What do they think?
  • Join the Neighborhood Watch program. Inform the Police Department of any graffiti or suspicious behavior.
  • Put together and distribute a newsletter about what your neighborhood is doing to combat and prevent gangs.


Portions of this section were taken from Parents Can Help Prevent Gangs!, a brochure provided by McGruff, a program of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.

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Solicitors at your door?

In a residential community such as Winthrop Harbor, the presence of solicitors traveling from door to door is a common sight. As a result, the presence of illegitimate solicitors is unavoidable.

In order to help protect our community from scams, cons, and other questionable activities, we have a Solicitor Registration Program, which consists of business and identification verifications performed by our Village Hall and Police Department. All residents are encouraged to ask any solicitor for their Winthrop Harbor Solicitation Permit and are advised to be very cautious of solicitors operating without a permit.

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Curfew for Minors

For the safety and well being of our children, Winthrop Harbor has a curfew ordinance that applies to all persons under the age of 18.

All children and teenagers under 18 must be in by 11:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, or by 12:00 midnight on Friday and Saturday.

A parent or legal guardian must accompany persons under 18 who are out after curfew hours. (Brothers or sisters do not qualify as "legal guardian").

TIP:
Illinois State law says that a 16 or 17 year old may not operate a motor vehicle after curfew. In fact, if a person is 16 his/her Driver's License is invalid after curfew!

 

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Internet Safety & Consumer Information Security

The Internet, an incredible tool for business, learning, and recreation, has some very unique safety issues for you and your family. The two primary safety issues to be concerned with are child safety and fraud.

To protect your children from any unscrupulous characters on the Internet you have a wide array of tools available. These tools range from security enhancements, which limit the Internet activity of your children, to family oriented Internet service providers, such as, America Online®, Prodigy®, Compuserve®, and Microsoft Network® If you have any specific questions regarding security for your children, if is recommended that you contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Fraud and theft are also possible on the Internet, especially with the growth of "E-Commerce" and the ever-increasing number of on-line stores. The best protection you can offer yourself against these crimes is to look into any company you wish to purchase from and make certain they are a legitimate business with adequate security measures in place to protect you. If you have any doubts regarding an on-line vendor you should avoid using them until you feel assured your hard earned money will bring you a product or service rather than a headache. For additional information about theft and fraud protection, you should contact your credit card companies and ISP. A new Web site by the Federal Trade Commission is also available, providing a wealth of information regarding consumer information security. Click the link below to go there now...

If you feel that you or your family is the victim of any Internet crime, contact our Police Department as soon as possible and with as much information as possible so that we may help you or contact the appropriate agency. Any specific Internet safety questions may be directed to the Investigations Bureau at the Police Department.

 

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Home Security Safety Tips

The Winthrop Harbor Police Department offers the following tips and suggestions on how best to protect your home and property against burglaries and other crimes. Any suspicious activities observed by residents or business owners should be reported to the Police Department's Non-Emergency Number at 847-872-2131. For all emergencies – dial 9-1-1.

Residential Security Begins With Self-Assessment

As the chill of winter approaches, it is a good time to review our personal safety and security habits in and around the home. The onset of winter and the holiday season can bring increased instances of burglaries to homes, businesses and vehicles.

Please consider these facts and suggestions:

• Many burglaries are crimes of opportunity. The not-so-savvy burglar looks for homes or businesses which are unlocked and unoccupied. Vehicles in driveways, unlocked overnight, are a favorite. Getting into the safety habit of locking your vehicle and residence at night will greatly reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of this type of crime.

• Leaving items of perceived value in plain view can result in a burglary. If your purse, wallet, iPod, camera, GPS, cash or other items are in plain view inside your car, for instance, it’s an invitation (and irresistible temptation) to even the most petty burglar to take the next step and break the window to obtain the item. Quite often, if a petty burglar doesn’t see valuables inside a locked car, he/she will move on to the next driveway looking for an unlocked car to rifle through.

• The more sophisticated burglar may preview or “case” a neighborhood before beginning his shopping spree. They will check in mailboxes, looking for the full ones which indicate that the residents are away. They’ll look for piled up newspapers, empty drives and unlit homes, all signs that no one is home. Making arrangements for friends or family to collect your mail and newspapers will keep your home from “signaling” to potential burglars. Another option is to advise the post office and newspaper carriers that you want deliveries held until after your return date.

• All of us can become complacent and feel that “it won’t happen to us”. We recommend that you conduct a self-assessment of the security of your property, and in fact your habits. Have you just always left your cars unlocked at night? Are you in the habit of leaving the keys in the ignition, in the driveway? Do you have adequate lighting around your home? Conducting a self-assessment of your habits and property may help you realize that with a few simple changes you can greatly decrease your risk of becoming a victim!

• Being proactive in your own protection and security is the best way to avoid becoming a burglary victim. Nine out of ten burglars do not want to attract attention, and it is human nature to seek the path of least resistance. Homes, businesses and vehicles which are locked and in well lit areas are far less likely to be targeted by those who would help themselves to your belongings.

 

 

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C.A.R.E.

The Winthrop Harbor Police Department proudly presents the C.A.R.E. (Community Awareness Resistance Education) program to all fifth grade students in the Village. Launched in the Spring of 2006, through cooperation with and approval by the community school system, the C.A.R.E. program consists of five weeks of instruction, each designed to provide meaningful education to our children.

The program consists of the following five modules:

  • Week 1. Stranger Dangers
  • Week 2. Danger of Drug Use
  • Week 3. Gang Violence
  • Week 4. Considering Consequences
  • Week 5. Peer Pressure

Week 6 includes a picnic lunch and graduation ceremony. During the program the students are required to write a three paragraph essay and turn it in after week 5 (but prior to graduation) regarding what they learned during the C.A.R.E. Program. The students are also required to explain in the essay how they plan on resisting the dangers of drugs, gangs, stranger dangers, considering consequences, and peer pressures. The final paragraph gives the students an opportunity to put in their own words what they enjoyed about the classroom instruction and meeting the various Officers of their police department throughout the program.

Certificates of completion are awarded to each child at graduation. Each child also receives a specially designed t-shirt for all their hard work and participation in the program.

The C.A.R.E. program has its own mascot, a stuffed animal Chimpanzee named Sampson! Sampson wears a police uniform, and the children are allowed to hold on to Sampson during classroom instruction when special occasions present themselves such as a child's birthday or when a teacher advises the instructor that a student has accomplished something outstanding academically or athletically.

The Officers of the Winthrop Harbor Police Department who teach the C.A.R.E. Program to the fifth grade students hope to make a positive difference in the childrens' lives. Officers want to build a positive relationship with the children of the community and keep them safe and out of harms way. Through the teachings of the C.A.R.E. program - we hope to better achieve this goal.

 

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