Sergeant Ken Belson
550 Washington Street
Holliston, MA 01746
The Holliston Police Department's mission is to protect the public safety of all citizens of Holliston, but our officers can not do it without the eyes and ears of you - the community. Crime Prevention reduces the opportunity for crime, helps people understand fear of crime vs. reality of crime, and increases neighborhood livability. The following resources are available to help residents, businesses, rental property owners, the faith communities, neighborhood associations, and others reduce the opportunities for crime, build communities where residents are aware and work together, and work with the police and others agencies in the city to address issues. If you have additional questions, you may contact the Holliston Police Department directly.
ATM's are a great convenience, but they can compromise your safety. A robber looking for easy prey only has to stake out an ATM in a low-traffic, dimly lit area and bide his time.
There is no central repository for statistics on ATM crime, but reports of ATM robberies frequently can be found in just about any local newspaper.
Cash machines at banks are probably the safest bed, but that doesn't mean you have to steer clear of the ones at malls, airports, and sports venues. You can avoid becoming a victim by using good old common sense and by planning ahead for ATM withdrawals.
Here are some great tips for making sure your visit the ATM is a safe one:
1. Always pay close attention tot he ATM and your surroundings. Don't select an ATM at the corner of a building -- corners create a blind spot. Use an ATM located near the center of a building. Do your automated banking in a public, well-lighted location that is free of shrubbery and decorative partitions or dividers.
2. Maintain an awareness of your surroundings throughout the entire transaction. Be wary of people trying to help you with ATM transactions. Be aware of anyone sitting in a parked car nearby. When leaving an ATM make sure you are not being followed. If you are, drive immediately to a police or fire station, or to a crowded, well-lighted location or business.
3. Do not use an ATM that appears unusual looking or offers options with which you are not familiar or comfortable.
4. Do not allow people to look over your shoulder as you enter your PIN. Memorize your PIN; never write it on the back of your card. Do not re-enter your PIN if the ATM eats your card -- contact a bank official.
5. Do not wear expensive jewelry or take other valuables to the ATM. This is an added incentive to the assailant.
6. Never count cash at the machine or in public. Wait until you are in your car or another secure place.
7. When using a drive-up ATM, keep your engine running, your doors locked and leave enough room to maneuver between your car and the one ahead of you in the drive-up line.
8. Maintain a supply of deposit envelopes at home or in your car. Prepare all transaction paperwork prior to your arrival at the ATM. This will minimize the amount of time spent at the machine.
9. Closely monitor your bank statements, as well as your balances, and immediately report any problems to your bank.
10. If you are involved in a confrontation with an assailant who demands your money, COMPLY.
Burglary Prevention Tips
Burglars go through neighborhoods looking for uncut lawns and stuffed mailboxes. In the evening, they look for darkened houses or lights that have been left on too long. The following burglary prevention tips will help to make you and your family safer while also showing you how to become a part of the HPD Team - so that we may serve and protect Holliston - our community - together
- Make your home look occupied, and make it difficult to break in.
- Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed. Even if it is for a short time, lock your doors.
- Leave lights on when you go out. If you are going to be away for a length of time, connect some lamps to automatic timers to turn them on in the evening and off during the day.
- Keep your garage door closed and locked.
- Don't allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or flyers build up while you are away. Arrange with the Post Office to hold your mail, or arrange for a friend or neighbor to take them regularly.
- Arrange for your lawn to be mowed if you are going away for an extended time.
- Check your locks on doors and windows and replace them with secure devices as necessary.
- Pushbutton locks on doorknobs are easy for burglars to open. Install deadbolt locks on all your outside doors.
- Sliding glass doors are vulnerable. Special locks are available for better security.
- Lawn mowers, snow blowers, barbecues and bicycles are best stored out of sight.
- Always lock your garden sheds and garages.
- Use curtains on garage and basement windows.
- Never leave notes on your door such as "Gone shopping."
Locks…get the best:
- No lock, regardless of its quality, can be truly effective. Key-in dead bolt locks provide minimum security. Ask a locksmith for advice on your situation.
- Change locks immediately if your keys are lost or stolen.
- When moving into a new home, have all locks changed.
Targeting the Outside:
- Have adequate exterior lighting. A motion-sensitive light is recommended for backyards.
- Trim trees and shrubs so that they cannot be used as hiding places for intruders.
- Make sure your door hinges are on the inside.
- Most windows can be pinned for security.
- Drill a 3/16" hole on a slight downward slant through the inside window frame and halfway into the outside frame - place a nail in the hole to secure the window.
- An alarm system is excellent for home security. It provides peace of mind to homeowners, especially while on vacation. There is a wide variety of alarm systems on the market.
- Make several inquiries to different companies for the best security system available to you.
If Your Home Is Broken Into:
If you come home to find an unexplained open/broken window or door:
- Do not enter - the perpetrator may still be inside.
- Use a neighbor's phone to call police.
- Do not touch anything or clean up until the police have inspected for evidence.
- Write down the license plate numbers of any suspicious vehicles.
- Note the descriptions of any suspicious persons.
Other precautions you should take:
- Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes or other "secret" hiding places -- burglars know where to look for hidden keys.
- Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and original value, and serial numbers, and keep a copy in a safe place away from home -- this is a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters. Make a photographic or video record of valuable objects, heirlooms and antiques. Your insurance company can provide assistance in making and keeping your inventory.
- Trim your shrubbery around your home to reduce cover for burglars.
- Be a good neighbor. If you notice anything suspicious in your neighborhood, call 911 immediately.
- Mark your valuables with your driver's license number with an engraver you can borrow from your precinct. Marked items are harder for a burglar to dispose of and easier for police to recover.
- Form a Neighborhood Watch Group. We can help you work with your neighbors to improve security and reduce risk of burglary.
- Consider installing a burglar alarm system.
The MOST important thing YOU can do is CALL THE POLICE to report a CRIME or any SUSPICIOUS activity. You have to be the eyes of your neighborhood. And remember you can always remain a pair of anonymous eyes!
Remember the three L's of Crime Prevention: LIGHTS, LOCKS & the LAW!
Light up your residence, lock your doors at all times, and call the Law when you see something suspicious.
The Internet can be a wonderful resource for kids. They can use it to research school reports, communicate with teachers and other kids, and play interactive games. Kids who are old enough to punch in a few letters on the keyboard can literally access the world.
But that access can also pose hazards. For example, an 8-year-old might do an online search for "Lego." But with just one missed keystroke, the word "Legs" is entered instead, and the child may be directed to a slew of websites with a focus on legs — some of which may contain pornographic material.
That's why it's important to be aware of what your kids see and hear on the Internet, who they meet, and what they share about themselves online.
Just like any safety issue, it's wise to talk with your kids about your concerns, take advantage of resources to protect them, and keep a close eye on their activities.
Online Protection Tools
Online tools are available that will let you control your kids' access to adult material and help protect them from Internet predators. No option is going to guarantee that they'll be kept away from 100% of the risks on the Internet. So it's important to be aware of your kids' computer activities and educate them about online risks.
Many Internet service providers (ISPs) provide parent-control options to block certain material from coming into a computer. You can also get software that helps block access to certain sites based on a "bad site" list that your ISP creates. Filtering programs can block sites from coming in and restrict personal information from being sent online. Other programs can monitor and track online activity. Also, make sure your kids create a screen name to protect their real identity.
Getting Involved in Kids' Online Activities
Aside from these tools, it's wise to take an active role in protecting your kids from Internet predators and sexually explicit materials online. To do that:
- Become computer literate and learn how to block objectionable material.
- Keep the computer in a common area, not in individual bedrooms, where you can watch and monitor its use.
- Share an email account with your child so you can monitor messages.
- Bookmark kids' favorite sites for easy access.
- Spend time online together to teach your kids appropriate online behavior.
- Forbid your child from entering private chat rooms; block them with safety features provided by your Internet service provider or with special filtering software. Be aware that posting messages to chat rooms reveals a user's email address to others.
- Monitor your credit card and phone bills for unfamiliar account charges.
- Find out what, if any, online protection is offered by your child's school, after-school center, friends' homes, or anyplace where kids could use a computer without your supervision.
- Take your child seriously if he or she reports an uncomfortable online exchange.
- Forward copies of obscene or threatening messages you or your kids get to your Internet service provider.
- Call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at (800) 843-5678 if you're aware of the transmission, use, or viewing of child pornography online. Contact your local law enforcement agency or the FBI if your child has received child pornography via the Internet.
Many sites use "cookies," devices that track specific information about the user, such as name, email address, and shopping preferences. Cookies can be disabled. Ask your Internet service provider for more information.
Set up some simple rules for your kids to follow while they're using the Internet, such as:
- Follow the rules you set, as well as those set by your Internet service provider.
- Never trade personal photographs in the mail or scanned photographs over the Internet.
- Never reveal personal information, such as address, phone number, or school name or location. Use only a screen name. Never agree to meet anyone from a chat room in person.
- Never respond to a threatening email or message.
- Always tell a parent about any communication or conversation that was scary.
- If your child has a new "friend," insist on being "introduced" online to that friend.
Chat Room Caution
Chat rooms are virtual online rooms where chat sessions take place. They're set up according to interest or subject, such as a favorite sport or TV show. Because people can communicate with each other alone or in a group, chat rooms are among the most popular destinations on the Web — especially for kids and teens.
But chat rooms can pose hazards for kids. Some kids have met "friends" in chat rooms who were interested in exploiting them. No one knows how common chat-room predators are, but pedophiles (adults who are sexually interested in children) are known to frequent chat rooms.
These predators sometimes prod their online acquaintances to exchange personal information, such as addresses and phone numbers, thus putting the kids they are chatting with — and their families — at risk.
Pedophiles often pose as teenagers in chat rooms. Because many kids have been told by parents not to give out their home phone numbers, pedophiles may encourage kids to call them; with caller ID the offenders instantly have the kids' phone numbers.
Warning signs of a child being targeted by an online predator include spending long hours online, especially at night, phone calls from people you don't know, or unsolicited gifts arriving in the mail. If your child suddenly turns off the computer when you walk into the room, ask why and monitor computer time more closely. Withdrawal from family life and reluctance to discuss online activities are other signs to watch for.
Contact your local law enforcement agency or the FBI if your child has received pornography via the Internet or has been the target of an online sex offender.
Taking an active role in your kids' Internet activities will help ensure that they benefit from the wealth of valuable information it offers without being exposed to any potential dangers.
- Never give any personal information to anyone you meet online. That means first or last names, phone numbers (they can be used to track down you home), passwords, birth dates or years, or credit card information.
- Before you post anything online, ask yourself whether you would share the information at an all-school assembly. Once you post something online, it is there for everyone to see.
- Be nice and polite to everyone you contact online. Avoid contact with strangers.
- Never meet up with anyone you don't already know. Don't tell anyone your schedule; don't say where you'll be hanging out. No party announcements. People are often not who they say they are. It's true: 1 in 5 kids will be sexually solicited online.
- If you receive a message from someone that makes you feel upset or worried, show it to your parents or a teacher.
- Don't fill out any "fun" questionnaires that are forwarded to you, even if they're from your friends. Remember, you're in a world where everything can get forwarded. All those personal things about you could land in the hands of someone who could use them to harm you.
- Make sure you know everyone on your buddy list. If you haven't met the people face-to-face, they may not be who they pretend to be. Also, Instant Messaging strangers is an invasion of their privacy.
- You do not have to answer emails or IMs from people you don't know. As a matter of fact, you shouldn't. Who knows who they are? Even if they say they're "David's friend," David could be a lucky guess. "Kids" you meet in chat rooms may actually be creepy adults.
- There's no such thing as "private" on the Internet. You may think so, but it's not true. People can find anything they want — and keep what you post — forever.
- Be careful about posting pictures of yourself (if you must, don't post sexy ones or ones showing behavior you wouldn't want your mom, teacher, boss, or potential college advisor to see). Just because an older sibling has posted snaps on a site doesn't make it a smart or a safe idea. Pictures with identifiers like where you go to school can be shopping lists for online predators and other creeps.
- Don't send pictures of other people. Forwarding an embarrassing picture of someone else is a form of bullying. How would you like it if someone did that to you?
- Don't download content without your parents' permission. Many sites have spyware that will damage your computer. Other sites have really inappropriate content. Your parents can check your computer's URL history, so you can't hide where you've been.
- Never share your password with anyone but your parents.
- The Internet is a wonderful place to find information and connect with people and friends. Surf safely and remember the three Cs…avoid contact with strangers, consider the content of your message and conduct yourself responsibly online.