Wednesday, July 20, 2016

VACATION- Ways to Protect Yourself

With summer in full swing, families often take vacations. Crime prevention professionals frequently make suggestions on how to protect yourself from crime.

The typical focus is protecting your home while you are gone. You've heard the advice:

         Have you mail and newspaper held or have a trusted neighbor pick them up so that burglars do not know that you are gone.

         If you are gone for an extended period of time, have a trusted neighbor mow your front lawn and pick up any handbills left at your door to make your house look lived in.

         Park a vehicle in your driveway.

         Lock your doors and close and lock your windows when you leave.

         Use timers on some of your lights throughout your house to, you guessed it, to make it look like you are still around.

But there are more things now that you should consider before your vacation:

         Check out destinations before you arrive. Scammers can impersonate legitimate hotels or resorts. Call the property directly for reservations and to ask about added fees.

         Be careful of charter companies. Many are legitimate, but there are some which are scams.

         Considering renting a condo or apartment form your vacation? Be careful of scammers here also. A sure sign of a scam is if they want you to wire a deposit or use a pre-paid gift card.

         When making reservations or making deposits, use your credit card. Your credit card gives you more protection than a debit card, check, or cash.

 And during your vacation:

         Be careful of Wi-Fi and internet connections at your hotel and at public hot spots. Do not use public Wi-Fi for financial transactions or sensitive personal information. Be wary of falling victim to a "man in the middle" attack.

         Watch out for photocopied flyers slipped under your hotel room door, especially if there is a phone number but no address. Scammers will often use these flyers to "take your order" and your credit card number. Instead of bringing your food they will make fraudulent purchases. Ask the front desk clerk for good local places to eat.

         If you receive the phone call in your hotel room in the middle of the night telling you there is a problem with your bill and wanting to verify your credit card number, hang up. Go down to the front desk and report the call.

         At your destination, when taking a taxi, have an idea of what your route should be. Unscrupulous taxis drivers may take a roundabout way to your destination to pad the bill.

 Here are some resources for more tips on vacation safety:

 Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

 Federal Trade Commission:

 AARP Fraud Watch Network:

 Seattle Times:

 Wi-Fi Hot Spot Security:

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

SCAM ALERT- Increase in Reported Scams

There has been an increase of scams reported to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office South Precinct. Most reported scams seem to be the IRS scam. Remember, the IRS will not call or email you and threaten you with jail time if you do not pay immediately with a pre-paid gift card or a wire transfer.

For more information about common scams reported in Snohomish County, go to

NATIONAL NIGHT OUT- Tuesday August 2nd

National Night Out (NNO), the national event intended to encourage cooperation between local police agencies and communities to prevent crime, will be held on August 2nd this year.

The Sheriff’s Office is offering to help you spread the word about your NNO event. Go to to register your event. If August 2nd won’t work for your group, you can register your event on a date of your choosing.

The Sheriff’s Office and its contract partners will also be hosting several events throughout the county on August 2nd. So if your neighborhood is not hosting an event go to one of the events listed here:


The Sheriff’s Office has appointed a new Outreach Officer for the Office of Neighborhoods. Sgt. Martin Zelaya has taken over the position as of July 18. If you have a question or want to set up a neighborhood watch meeting you can contact Sgt. Zelaya at:

Phone: (425) 388-5250

Friday, July 15, 2016

CODE ENFORCEMENT- Helping with Quality of Life

Sometimes there is a house in your neighborhood that becomes an eyesore. In some cases, you might suspect that the occupants are dealing drugs. Obviously, you can call one of the non-emergency phone numbers, (425) 407-3999 for SNOPAC and (425) 775-3000 for SNOCOM (unless you see drug activity in progress, then call 911) or a tip to the Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force at (425) 388-3479 or via email at

Investigations take time and citizens rarely receive “updates” on how things are going. Also, law enforcement officials may find that even despite the looks, there may not be drug activity at that location. So that still leaves the neighborhood with a junky house.

One other agency to contact is Snohomish County Code Enforcement. Code Enforcement investigates complaints about building, zoning, land use and nuisance issues in the unincorporated portion of the county. Enforcing county building and zoning codes goes beyond junkyard conditions in residential neighborhoods. Specific complaints can include building setbacks, dangerous buildings, violations of the Endangered Species Act, fences/retaining walls, grading (excavation/filling), illegal placement of mobile homes. Code Enforcement’s website says that it will investigate complaints to determine if there is a violation and determine appropriate action. It works with all affected parties toward a resolution. The Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force and the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office often works with Code Enforcement to resolve quality of life issues.

To make a complaint to Code Enforcement and for more information about Code Enforcement resources, go to:


Is there help and/or aid for homes where there isn't drug dealing but the owners are elderly and have no means to keep up their property?


Check with Volunteers of America in Everett. They may be able to refer you to a program that can help. Their number is 211 or (800) 223-8145 and their web address is

You can also contact Snohomish County Human Services which may have a program that can help low-income households. Its web address is

Also, the homeowners ay be able to get an exemption or deferral on their property taxes from the county, which might help. More information on this can be found at

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

JULY 4 FIREWORKS- Warning About Fireworks Disguised as Tennis Balls

KOMO TV has published a warning about tennis balls being turned into homemade giant firecrackers. Making a homemade firecracker, whether in a tennis ball or other device such as a pipe bomb, is illegal.

Tennis balls are often fun toys for dogs to play catch with. Hence the danger to a family pet as well as to adults and children.

KOMO TV notes that a man found a tennis ball firecracker near a lake in the Everett area in February.

Things to look for if you find a tennis ball on the ground are signs of tampering such as detectable seam, indicating that the tennis ball has been cut open. A tennis ball with a string or wire sticking out of it may suggest that the tennis ball has a fuse. Also, a hole in the tennis ball may indicate that a fuse had fallen out.

While a spokesman for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office says that they have not received reports of abandoned suspicious tennis balls, care should be taken for anything suspicious that you might find on the ground. If you see a suspicious tennis ball, DO NOT touch it! In a Portland incident in 2000, a man walking his dog, found a tennis ball on the ground and tossed it a few times to play catch with his pet. The tennis ball exploded killing his dog.

Call 911 and let them know where the suspicious tennis ball is located.


For other resources about fireworks, go to,

National Council on Fireworks Safety:

Snohomish County Fire Marshal:

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office:

Monday, June 27, 2016

JULY 4- Use Fireworks Safely

The Fourth of July holiday is coming and fireworks will be part of the celebration.

Remember, in unincorporated Snohomish County, you can only shoot fireworks between 9am and 11:59pm on July 4. Cities within Snohomish County set their own regulations regarding fireworks. The following handout lists the rules for most cities in the county:

The Fire Marshal’s Office recommends that you take the following measures to use fireworks safely:

• in case of an emergency, when there is an immediate threat to life or property,

  dial 9-1-1.

            • have a bucket of water for emergencies and to douse used fireworks.

            • never build or experiment with homemade fireworks.

            • never let children handle or light fireworks; even sparklers can be dangerous.

• never ignite fireworks while holding them; light one at a time and move away


• make sure you give yourself enough room in a safe location – away from

  buildings, vehicles and flammable materials.

            • never light fireworks inside a structure.

            • watch what you wear; loose clothing can catch fire while handling fireworks.

            • never try to re-ignite fireworks that have malfunctioned; soak them in water,  

  then throw them away.

            • never ignite fireworks while you are under the influence of alcohol and/or mind-

              altering drugs.

            • never aim fireworks at vehicles, homes, or people.

Also, if you see illegal discharge of fireworks, please call the new non-emergency phone number, (425) 407-3999 for unincorporated Snohomish County or (425) 775-3000 for cities of Brier, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo and Woodway. DO NOT call 911 unless there is an immediate threat to life or property.

For other resources about fireworks, go to,

National Council on Fireworks Safety:

Snohomish County Fire Marshal:

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office: