The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Columns

July 22, 2013

Crime prevention starts with you

(Continued)

The technologies of smartphones and iPads have made life easier in some ways, but inversely they have caused many people to function in extremely low states of awareness to their environment. We all know people who are so heavily glued to the screen of their phone or iPad that they wouldn’t see a freight train coming if it were heading straight toward them. This is obviously not a good means of crime prevention or personal safety. 

Additionally, we all know someone who uses social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to post everything they’re doing along with everywhere they’re going. Telling the world where you are lets people also know where you are not. If a person posts that they are visiting family in California, it is easy to assume that they are not at their home in Oneonta, thereby creating an opportunity for a property crime. Even if a person limits their posts to their “friends,” the information can easily be shared by a friend to a non-friend, negating the security offered by privacy settings. 

It’s equally important to realize that the people who you may casually “befriend” on Facebook or who follow you on Twitter may in fact be people who have more of an interest in you (or your family) then you do in them, so beware of that. The truth is that social media have helped stalkers commit their crimes more than most people realize.

We in law enforcement do our absolute best to create public safety but no law enforcement agency can guarantee safety for any person. Safety and crime prevention start on an individual level and the best thing that anyone can do to minimize their chances of victimization is to be aware, to limit opportunities as much as possible, and to educate themselves. Please visit our website at www.oneonta.ny.us/police for additional crime prevention strategies or call us with any questions. Be alert and stay safe!

Dennis Nayor is chief of the Oneonta Police Department.

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