Crime Prevention DefinitionThe most widely accepted definition of crime prevention is: the anticipation, recognition and appraisal of a crime risk and the initiation of some action to remove or reduce it.
Crime Prevention Goal
The goal of Crime Prevention within the city of St. Cloud is to maintain strong police-community relations between the St. Cloud Police Department and the citizens of St. Cloud through informational and education programs and services that positively influence the quality of life in our community by:
- Reducing crime or the fear of crime.
- Increasing the knowledge of citizens in "pro-active" crime prevention strategies.
- Training the community in a wide-array of crime prevention approaches.
- Providing home and business security assessments.
- Encouraging and training citizens to participate in "Watch" activities.
Crime Prevention Training and Education
Training and education sessions are offered through the St. Cloud Police Department to the public at no charge as a public service.
They can be modified to fit the individual need of your group, organization or business. They can be presented at a location of your choosing or we can arrange to use a training room at the police department.
We recommend a minimum of 6 to 10 attendees and require advance notice to schedule a session. Refer to the Contact Us information listed to the right to inquire about training and education sessions.
Popular topics include but are not limited to: Personal Safety; Identity Theft; Cons, Frauds & Scams; Counterfeit Detection; Drug Awareness & Education; Burglar Proofing Your Residence; Safety in The Workplace; How to Work With the Police and Community Watch Programs.
Below are some helpful resources about common Crime Prevention topics.
- Burglary & Theft
- Counterfeit Money
- Cyber Safety
- Scams & Identity Theft
- Senior Safety
- Violence & Abuse
- Drug & Alcohol Abuse
Burglary Prevention Tips
Eliminate the Opportunity
Crime happens when the criminals have the ability, desire and the opportunity to commit the crime successfully. A key aspect of Crime Prevention that the St. Cloud Police wants to assist it’s citizens with is eliminating the opportunity for people to take advantage of you or your loved ones. There are some specific steps that you can take to prevent burglary. For a more comprehensive understanding, please contact us to set up a training for your group.
Secure your Home
A home security survey is a great way to see where your home may be vulnerable to forced entry. Information that is gathered from a home survey will reveal what steps you may need to take to make your home more burglary-resistant. Contact us if you’d like to go through a survey of your home with the Crime Prevention Specialist. You’re also welcome to run through your home on your own using this document to guide you.
Observing & Reporting Suspicious Activity
Reporting suspicious activity is strongly encouraged and is often what prevents crimes from occurring in your neighborhood. Here are some appropriate observed behaviors that you should call the police to report:
- Someone trying to enter a neighbor’s home by a window or side door
- A strange vehicle left running and parked on your street
- Someone yelling expressions similar to, "help," "fire," or "rape."
- Shots, alarms, or windows being broken
- Someone with a weapon
- Someone who is moving household items late at night
- Someone entering or leaving a business before or after normal hours of operation
Counterfeit Money Detection Tips and Information
Three Quick Steps for Counterfeit Detection
To keep counterfeiting low, the U.S. government continues to enhance the security of it’s currency. Even with the most technologically advanced security features, it’s you, the educated consumer who continues to be the best line of defense against counterfeiting. It takes very little time to detect a counterfeit bill and can be done without any special tools.
- Feel the bill: The bill should feel slightly rough to the touch
- Tilt the bill: Tilt the bill to observe color-shifting ink (different locations on each bill, click here for more information specific to each bill)
- Check with light: There is a watermark and security thread unique to each bill that can be seen by holding the bill to the light
There are 7 denominations in the U.S. Currency circulation
Reporting Counterfeit Money
- Report the suspected counterfeit money to the police by calling the non-emergency phone number 320-345-4444
- Important information to gather:
- Details of the incident
- Physical descriptions of suspects and accomplices
- Surveillance video (if available)
- An officer will collect the suspected counterfeit bill
- The bills will be sent by the police to the Secret Service after initial investigation
The U.S. Currency Education Program website is a wonderful, interactive resource that has numerous educational resources that are appropriate for all ages. They have downloads, quick guides, videos, activities and more.
Cyber Safety Tips
The Virtual World
Most of our day-to-day interactions are done online in the virtual world. Technology has allowed a lot of conveniences that allow us to bank, shop, socialize and so much more on a number of different devices in this virtual world. As we try to navigate the avenues of this virtual world, there are some key terms that are commonly heard but largely unknown.
|Cookie:||Information about your computer or devise that may be collected when you browse the internet. The information may be specific to your device or specific to your browsing habits.|
|Plug-ins:||The required installation of additional software to provide additional functionality. Plug-ins may be used in an attack, so before installing them, make sure they are necessary and that the site you have to download them from is trustworthy.|
|Phishing:||The act of sending deceptive electronic messages that "lure" unsuspecting consumers to malicious websites to steal personal and financial information.|
|Spear Phishing:||When a scammer poses as a company representative and sends an email to an employee at the company from a hacked or "spoofed" email address that closely resembles the company’s email format attempting to obtain personal information from you.|
|Spyware:||Software that installs itself and sends information from your computer to others without your knowledge or consent. This can be used to track your web-surfing habits to better advertise to you or by criminals to steal personal and financial information.|
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) is the Nation’s risk advisor that works to defend today’s threats to our online security. They provide resources for learning how to better secure your cyber security.
The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office has a number of publications related to cyber safety as well as other crime prevention and personal security topics. All of these publications are available via digital PDF format or are free to be delivered to Minnesota residents.
Scammers and schemes to steal your money have been around forever. The methods that scammers use change along with the changing tides of technology.
It’s important to be aware of some of the most common methods that scammers use to trick you into losing valuable information about yourself as well as your money.
- Scammers impersonate loved ones or legitimate businesses or organizations convincingly.
- Scammers play on your emotions
- Scammers swear you to secrecy to avoid getting caught
- Scammers insist that you wire money immediately
- Scammers use words like "more," "better," or "faster"
- Scammers often boast about offers that are too good to be true
Once a scammer has successfully stolen personal information they are able to commit the crime of Identity Theft which is where the greater crime occurs. Identity theft can be detrimental to your life as it can cause some of these common issues:
- You stop getting your normal bills or other mail due to identity thieves re-routing your mail
- Your charge card gets refused due to transactions that were not caused by you and have ruined your credit.
- A health plan may not cover you due to health conditions they find that are not even accurate.
- You find transactions on your account that you never made
Safety for Senior Adults
Common Senior Scams
Everyone is susceptible to falling for scams but due to the lifestyle of senior adults, there are unique scams that target seniors more than the general population. Here are some of the most common scams to hit seniors:
- Imposter Scams: Phone calls claiming to be from grandchildren, the IRS, or other fake professionals target seniors. They target seniors because they are often more able to answer there phone at any time throughout the day.
- Identity Theft: If scammers or con-artists are able to convince seniors to give them personal information about themselves, they will use this information to further exploit the victim and steal their identities. Seniors may have a harder time understanding how the internet and electronic transactions work which can be an advantage for the suspect of these crimes.
- Telephone Scams: A popular phone scam that targets seniors is related to Medicare. They offer "free or low-cost" health care supplies and can be quite convincing. It’s best to hang up on these calls and call a different and credible service that supplies the same product to ensure that you’re not a victim of a scam.
Violence and Abuse
If you are in immediate danger, call 911, always.
Violence can be damaging and scary but there are resources to help.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline A 24/7 hotline that assists victims of domestic abuse to shift power back to those affected by relationship abuse.
- RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) The nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. It’s a 24/7 hotline to offer support for victims and help prevent sexual violence.
- Anna Marie’s Shelter A shelter for women and children who are experiencing domestic abuse.
- Central Minnesota Sexual Assault Center A 24 hour crisis intervention agency providing direct services to people affected by any form of sexual violence.
- The U.S. Department of Justice has some information about Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.
- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has information about Human Trafficking
Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Power to destroy
Drugs and alcohol abuse has the potential to destroy millions of people’s lives. It’s imperative to have valuable resources to assist in education, prevention and rehabilitation.
- The National Institute on Drug Abuse has a lot of helpful topics to include: commonly used drugs, commonly abused drugs, understanding addiction and so much more.
- The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is another great resource that has a vast array of information helpful to those who have alcohol abuse related concerns.
- Rehab options in Minnesota