Safety Resources & Tips
OFFICER IMPERSONATION & WHAT TO DO
The Rabun County Sheriff's Office suggests the following actions on how to proceed if you suspect you're being pulled over by someone impersonating an officer.
Many law enforcement agencies, including the Rabun County Sheriff's Office, utilize a variety of vehicles, some of which are unmarked and do not resemble traditional police cars. If a citizen believes they are being stopped by a vehicle displaying emergency lights that might not be a legitimate law enforcement vehicle, the recommended course of action is as follows:
- Turn on your vehicle's four-way flashers or “hazard lights.”
- Turn on your car's interior dome light (if at night) or roll down your window and signal to the officer behind you that you are proceeding forward
- Proceed at a normal rate of speed to a well-lit, populated area such as a shopping center, etc. where there are people present.
- While doing so, safely dial 911 and inform dispatch of your location and your vehicle description, explain the situation and inquire as to whether or not any of their officers are attempting to stop you.
- If the dispatcher advises you that the stop is legitimate, stop as soon as you safely can, follow the officer's instructions and then calmly explain the reason for your actions.
- If the dispatcher advises you that the stop is not legitimate, stay on the phone with them until a local patrol unit can catch up to you, while continuing at a normal rate of speed. Do not stop until what you know to be a legitimate officer is on the scene. Remain in your vehicle and follow the instructions of the legitimate officer.
Bear in mind that dispatch may not have radio contact with officers from all agencies that may have occasion to be in that jurisdiction, who might also have a legal reason to conduct traffic stop. This shouldn't change your course of action; it is simply an issue that will have to be verified once the local jurisdiction is on scene.
Identity theft, credit card theft and financial scams are the number one crime.
CREDIT CARD SWAPPING
Here's a new, credit card scam reported from out of state and headed this way: In a couple of recent incidents, customers who paid their restaurant tab with a credit card had their cards switched with a similar looking card. The cards they received turned out to be expired or cancelled, while the originals disappeared and were used a short time later by the scammer.
The switched card isn't usually discovered until later when the card owner tries to use what they thought was their credit card. Preventing this scam is easy - check your credit card when it's returned to you after every use to confirm it has your name on it.
Not a week goes by that scammers don't create a new way to separate you from your money. Stay alert and take the few extra minutes to think about what you're doing.
Two Basic Rules
- Stay alert.
- Keep your mind on your surroundings, who's in front of you and who's behind you. Don't get distracted.
- Never leave your keys in the ignition while your car is unattended.
- Park in well-lighted areas and lock your doors, no matter how long you'll be gone.
- Put valuables out of sight or in the trunk.
- Check the front/rear seats and floorboards before entering your car.
- Drive with all doors locked.
- Never pick up hitchhikers. If your car breaks down, put the hood up, lock the doors, turn on the flashers, and move to the passenger seat. Do not leave your car. If someone stops to help, roll down the window slightly and ask them to call a tow truck if you don't have a cell phone.
- Avoid underground and enclosed parking garages if possible.
- When parking or returning to your vehicle, carry your keys and be aware of your surroundings.
- Consider investing in a cellular telephone.
Locks, Doors, and Windows
- Install and use good deadbolt locks in your doors (about half of all burglars enter through unlocked doors and windows).
- Make sure all porches, entrances, and yards are well lighted.
- Maintain the neighborhood. Litter and rundown areas attract criminals.
- Do not hide house keys in mail boxes, planters, or under doormats.
- Do not put personal identification on key rings.
- Leave only your ignition key with mechanics or parking attendants.
- If you lose the keys to your home or move into a new home, change the locks.
Answering the Door
- Install a peephole or viewer in all entry doors so you can see who is outside without opening the door.
- Do not trust door chains. They can be easily broken.
- Don't open the door to anyone you don't know. Insist service personnel verify their identity before allowing them in.
Answering the Telephone
- Don't give any information to "wrong number" callers.
- Check references of any person calling about a survey or credit check before offering information.
Firearm Safety is the responsibility of every adult, whether or not you own a firearm. As an adult, you are responsible for properly securing your firearm. If another person is injured as a result of your negligence in properly securing a gun, you can be charged with a crime or be held civilly liable. If convicted, you could be fined or sentenced to time in prison.
What Your Children Need to Know
- Children should know that guns are not toys, that guns are dangerous and can hurt people.
- If they see or find a gun (even if they think the gun looks like a toy), they should follow these three steps to safety:
- They should not touch or handle the gun.
- They should get away from the gun quickly, leave the area.
- They should immediately tell a trusted adult (parent, guardian, teacher or police officer) about the gun.
- It is illegal to bring weapons to school, onto school property, or into vehicles used by a school to transport students to and from school property.
After an Assault
- Go to a safe place and call the police.
- The sooner you report the crime, the greater the chances your attacker will be caught.
- Go to a hospital emergency room for medical care.
- If sexually assaulted, DO NOT shower, bathe, douche, or destroy any clothing you were wearing. Do not disturb any physical evidence.
- Call someone to be with you. You should not be alone.