Crime Stoppers of Tangipahoa Press Release

Press Release: October 28th, 2009
AMITE – Crime Stoppers of Tangipahoa, Inc.
 
October is Crime Prevention Month (Part 5)

Each October our nation celebrates Crime Prevention Month. The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) designated October as Crime Prevention Month in 1984. The NCPC provides helpful information as tools to help you create safer places to live, learn, and play in October and all year long. Their hope is that citizens will use this information to do more to “watch out and help out” to prevent crime. The NCPC encourages citizens to get involved in community safety and needs their commitment and energy to keep us all safe from crime.

Crime Stoppers of Tangipahoa, in celebration of Crime Prevention Month will be providing information on home and neighborhood safety, Neighborhood Watch, various personal safety tips including internet safety for teens and parents, and Halloween safety tips. In this article, Crime Stoppers of Tangipahoa will be focusing on Halloween Safety tips for the family.

Halloween Safety Tips for the Family

Crime Stoppers of Tangipahoa would like to wish everyone a happy and safe Halloween. Crime Stoppers urges parents to have a Trick-or-Treat route plan and asks them to follow a few simple tips to protect their children. The National Crime Prevention Council suggests “Playing it Safe on Halloween” and offers the following “Pointers” for parents and children:

Halloween is a fun holiday for kids, but for parents, trick-or-treat time can be a little scary. Concerns about children’s safety - whether they are out in the neighborhood or back home with bountiful bags of goodies-can cast a spell on the evening’s festivities. But not to Worry! Following a few safety tips will ensure that Halloween will be a “howling” good time for all!

 Welcome trick-or-treaters at home by turning on your exterior lights.
 Remove Hazardous objects from your yard.
 Ask your Neighborhood Watch Group to patrol the neighborhood and recruit volunteers to be “witches helpers” to help children cross the street.
 Drive slowly all evening-you never know what creatures may suddenly cross your path
 Consider hosting a Halloween party with games and treats to avoid trick-or-treating troubles.
 Make costumes safe- check to make sure they are flame-retardant so your little one is not in danger near candlelit jack-o-lanterns. Keep them short to avoid trips and falls. Try makeup instead of a mask so nothing obstructs their vision when they are crossing streets and going up and down stairs. Make sure kids wear light colors or put reflective tape on their costumes. Encourage children to create or wear costumes that do not need fake weapons to be scary and fun.
 Stay with your young child at all times and if you can’t be with them make sure your older children go out with friends in groups. If you live in a rural area drive them all in your car.
 Set a time limit for trick-or-treat and map out a safe route, not taking any shortcuts through dark alleys or fields. Try to get them to trick-or-treat while it is still light outside. Parents- check www.TPSO.org for a list of registered sex offenders along your route. They are not allowed to hand out candy, wear masks, or participate in the trick-or-treat holiday. If you see someone that looks suspicious please call 9-1-1.
 Cary a flashlight, glow-stick, or reflective bag.
 Do not let you children eat their treats until they get home and you have checked them in a well lighted area. Only eat unopened checked candies that are in their original wrappers and don’t forget to inspect fruit and homemade goodies for anything suspicious. To keep them from snacking while you are still out feed them a substantial meal before you leave home.

Have a SAFE and fun Holiday!

For more information please visit www.ncpc.org or www.mcgruff.org

Crime Stoppers of Tangipahoa pays cash for tips that lead to an arrest. Call Crime Stoppers anonymous Tip Line 1-800-554-5245 (JAIL) or visit www.tangicrimestoppers.com to submit your tip online. You will never be asked for your name just your information.

Article by: Jodie W. Powell Sources for article: National Crime Prevention Council

Crime Stoppers Press Release

Press Release: October 27th, 2009
AMITE – Crime Stoppers of Tangipahoa, Inc.


October is Crime Prevention Month (Part 4)

Each October our nation celebrates Crime Prevention Month. The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) designated October as Crime Prevention Month in 1984. The NCPC provides helpful information as tools to help you create safer places to live, learn, and play in October and all year long. Their hope is that citizens will use this information to do more to “watch out and help out” to prevent crime.

The NCPC encourages citizens to get involved in community safety and needs their commitment and energy to keep us all safe from crime.

Crime Stoppers of Tangipahoa, in celebration of Crime Prevention Month will be providing information on home and neighborhood safety, Neighborhood Watch, various personal safety tips including internet safety for teens and parents, and Halloween safety tips. In this article, Crime Stoppers of Tangipahoa will be focusing on Internet and phone safety for parents and teens.

Internet and Cell Phone Safety Tips for Parents and Teens

Today’s families rely heavily on the internet and cell phones. Homework, social media, staying in touch, and just general communications are a few of the reasons a family may use their computers or cell phones. While they are a great convenience, simplify our lives, and make it easy to keep up with one another – caution should still be used. With every great convenience, comes a consequence of which we need to be aware.
In most families I know, the teens know more about the computer or cell phone they are using than their parents know about it – and while it is fun to search the internet, text or chat with friends, there are people waiting in cyberspace to steal your personal information, deceive you, and worse - use the information you share with them to hurt you!
As parents is it our responsibility to oversee our children’s use of the computer and their cell phone. It is our responsibility to learn how to use their devices and to know where they go on the internet, who they chat with, and who they are texting on their phone. The National Crime Prevention Council recommends the following Internet and Cell Phone Safety Tips for Parents and Teens.

Tips for Parents

• Talk with your children about the benefits and risks of the internet.
• Ask them what they do online, what sites they visit, who they chat with, what games they play.
• Go online with your child. Have them show you their favorite websites, online games, and chat rooms.
• Make a list of any websites you find that you think your children will enjoy and share that list with them.
• Keep the computer in a common area of the house.
• Agree with your children on rules about what they can and cannot do online, when the can go online, and how long they can stay.
• Talk to your children about never giving out any personal information online, on their cell phone, or while texting. Never give out your social security number, your address, cell phone number, or email address to a person or company you do not know. Shred and indentifying information that you put in the trash, such as account numbers, dates of birth, etc. Identity Theft can happen to anyone.
• When choosing passwords, think of something that is not obvious and change it often.

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• Monitor the balances of your bank accounts and review your credit card statements regularly. Check for any unusual activity and correct any errors.
• Do not respond to emails, texts, friend requests, videos or phone calls from people you do not know.
• Make sure your children have “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) numbers programmed into their cell phones (ICE 1, ICE 2, ICE 3).

Tips for Teens

• Tell your parents or an adult that you trust if you see something online, on your cell phone, or hear a voicemail that makes you uncomfortable.
• Let your parents know who you talk to online and how you communicate (e.g., email, IM, chat rooms, blogs, etc.) Be sure to be as nice online as you are offline.
• Discuss with your parents the dangers of meeting new friends online.
• Ask your parents’ permission before you purchase items or sign up for online services (e.g., membership to a gamming site).
• If you conduct online research for a term paper or other project, be sure to give credit to the author, organization, or website that created the content.
• If you download music or movie files onto your computer, do so legally. Check out pay per download or pay per month services like iTunes and Napster.
• Never give out your personal information online in any forum or on your cell phone. Never share your password, not even with friends. Never talk about your personal information on the phone where others can hear you.
• If someone sends you a mean or threatening message do not respond, print it, save it and show it to an adult. Never open emails, texts, videos or pictures from someone you do not know or someone you know is a bully. You do not have to talk or respond to everyone who sends you an email or IM.
• Do not harass anyone on line.
• Learn what a firewall is and how it can protect your computer from hackers and keep your antivirus and anti-spamware software up to date. Protect your computer or cell phone with a password.
• Put ICE (In Case of Emergency) numbers into your cell phone for easy access and let the people who you put as CE know they are in your emergency numbers. If there is an emergency call 9-1-1 and give them your location and parish.
• Do not text or talk on your cell phone while driving, walking through a parking lot, or crossing the street – pay attention to your surroundings.
• Send only appropriate texts, emails, or pictures on your phone or the internet.
• Know and understand hen to turn your devices off or on vibrate in certain situations where it is necessary and only talk or text on the phone when it is appropriate.-follow all signs about where and when you can or cannot use your phone – like hospitals, airplanes, etc. If you are with your family or friends talk to them instead of talking on the phone or sitting on the computer. Remember to speak in a normal or quiet voice when on your phone.

For more information on Internet and Cell Phone Safety please visit www.ncpc.org or www.wirelessfoundation.org/wirelessonlinesafety for free information.

Crime Stoppers of Tangipahoa pays cash for tips that lead to an arrest. Call Crime Stoppers anonymous Tip Line 1-800-554-5245 (JAIL) or visit www.tangicrimestoppers.com to submit your tip online. You will never be asked for your name just your information.

Article by: Jodie W. Powell Sources for article: National Crime Prevention Council and wireless foundation.org

Crimestoppers Press Release



Press Release: October 9th, 2009
AMITE – Crime Stoppers of Tangipahoa, Inc.

October is Crime Prevention Month (Part 2)
Each October our nation celebrates Crime Prevention Month. The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) designated October as
Crime Prevention Month in 1984. The NCPC provides helpful information as tools to help you create safer places to live, learn, and play in October and all year long. Their hope is that citizens will use this information to do more to “watch out and help out” to prevent crime.
The NCPC encourages citizens to get involved in community safety and needs their commitment and energy to keep us all safe from crime.

Crime Stoppers of Tangipahoa, in celebration of Crime Prevention Month will be providing information on home and neighborhood safety, Neighborhood Watch, various personal safety tips including internet safety for teens and parents, and Halloween safety tips. This week Crime Stoppers of Tangipahoa will be focusing on How to start a Neighborhood Watch program.

Neighborhood Watch Needs You to Get Involved!

Over the past week, I have received an outpouring of concern from the Tangipahoa Parish community regarding my article in last Sunday’s paper. I would like to say thank you for all of the support! My family and I are fine, I have received my vehicle back from the shop, and returned the rental car – slowly life is returning to normal!

In light of the recent burglary at my home, I started thinking -what more could I have done? What could I have done differently? What changes could I make that would prevent being burglarized again? After all, I had all of my lights on, followed my nightly mental checklist and it still happened. I believe my burglar was on foot and only took what they could carry, however, they now know everything else that I have. Will they return? – Will I be victimized again? What can I do to better protect myself and my family?

We all live such busy lives – gone are the days of the 8 to 5, home for supper every night at the table, and then a leisurely evening before bed. I believe that most of us are juggling work, school, friends and family, sports games and dance recitals – I am sure this list could go on and on! My concern is - Are we taking the time to pay attention to our surroundings? Are we doing the little things that we need to do to protect our home, neighborhood, and community? Or as citizens, are we ignoring them? Are we ignoring them because we are afraid or we think it will go away? I can assure you that the criminals are paying attention and they hope you do ignore them!

So what will I do differently? I am going to get to know ALL of my neighbors! I know one of them - I have known them for years! However, I have not taken the time to get to know my other neighbors like I should have. I am not even sure if they know I was burglarized. We say hello from time to time and wave to one another in passing – but I do not know their names – what kind of car they drive or when they are in our out of town. Maybe they have been burglarized too! Shame on me!

I had the opportunity this past week to attend a meeting of concerned neighbors and citizens who want to start a Neighborhood Watch Group. Often Neighborhood Watch groups get stared because there have been incidents in the community that have caused concern – acts of vandalism, burglaries, or auto thefts. While some groups are started for proactive reasons, others are reactive. Neither reason is a bad one.

I arrived at the meeting early, introduced myself as people were walking in and listened as they introduced themselves to each other. I suddenly didn’t feel so bad – There were a few that knew one another and where they lived in the neighborhood and then the others did not. What struck me as the most interesting part of the meeting, was when someone made the statement that” they only knew of one burglary in the neighborhood and that it was years ago”. The tone of the meeting changed and people began sharing their stories and frustrations. The realization was made that they had a problem! However, if that one concerned neighbor had not taken the initiative to call the meeting – this person would have never known about the crimes happening there until possibly it happened to them personally.
The types of crimes that they were describing are the exact types of crime that Neighborhood Watch is the most successful in reducing. An active Watch Group can also reduce drug dealing and open-air drug markets, discourage gangs, improve the security of its young people, and help older neighbors stay safe from crime.

I wish much success to this group and have every confidence that they will take their neighborhood back safely and become a great support to one another personally!

Did you know that you can your local Police departments throughout Tangipahoa and ask to speak to their Neighborhood Watch officer? Did you know that they will come to your neighborhood and give you safety tips and the resources to start, register, and run your own Watch group? I f you live outside of the city limits and are within Tangipahoa Parish, you can call the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office and do the same.

The National Crime Preventions Council suggests the following questions that you may ask yourself in determining whether a Neighborhood Watch Group may be something that will help your neighborhood are: Has your neighborhood become a better or worse place to live in the last year, or is it about the same? – Do you think your area will be a better, worse or about the same a year from now? – Is crime in your neighborhood more of a problem than in nearby areas? – Do you know a neighbor that will keep an eye on your place if you have to go out of town?-Do children and older people feel free to move about safely? –Do you know your neighbors and do you talk about community problems and how you can solve them?

What is Neighborhood Watch?

In 1972, the National Sheriff’s Association implemented the program. Since then Neighborhood Watch has meant neighbors looking out for each other, working on neighborhood problems, and making themselves safer. They are the extra eyes and ears for reporting crime and helping neighbors. Members learn how to work with law enforcement and report suspicious activity to the police or sheriff’s office. It is one of the most effective and least costly ways to prevent crime and reduce fear. It fights the isolation that crime both creates and feeds upon. It forges bonds among area residents, helps reduce burglaries and robberies, and improves relations between police and the communities they serve.

Why Neighborhood Watch?

It Works. Dramatic decreases in burglary and related offenses are reported by law enforcement professionals in communities with active Watch programs.
Society is less personal. Many families have two working parents and many activities that keep them away from home. An empty house in a neighborhood where none of the neighbors know the owners is a prime target for burglary.
Community. NW also builds pride and serves as the springboard for efforts that address other community concerns such as recreation for youth, child care, and affordable housing.

How Do You Start a Neighborhood Watch Group?

A motivated individual, a few concerned citizens, a community organization, or a law enforcement agency can spearhead the efforts to establish a Watch. Together they can:
1. Organize a small planning committee of neighbors to discuss your needs and concerns.
2. Contact the local police, sheriff’s department, or Crime Stoppers for help in reporting, training, and security skills.
3. Hold an initial meeting to gauge neighbor’s interests, establish purpose, and begin to identify issues.
4. Select a coordinator and ask for block captain volunteers who are responsible for relaying information to members.
5. Recruit members and keep up to date information on all residents and making special efforts to involve the elderly, working parents, and young people.
6. Work with local government or law enforcement to put up Neighborhood Watch signs, usually after at least 50 percent of the households are enrolled.
Who Can be Involved?

Any community resident can join – young or old, single and married, renter and homeowner. Even the busiest people can belong to a Watch group – they too can keep an eye out for neighbors as they come and go. You can live in an apartment complex, a block, a subdivision, or in the country. Yes, Watch groups can be formed around any geographical unit.

What Are the Major Components of a Watch Program?

1. Community Meetings should be set up on a regular basis.
2. Communications. These can as simple as a flier on a community board, an email, a newsletter or a phone call.
3. Citizens’ or community patrol. A group made up of volunteers who walk or drive through the community and alert police to crime and questionable activities. Not all Watches need a citizens’ patrol.
4. Special Events. These are Crucial to keep the program going and growing. Host talks or seminars that focus on current issues. Host a block party, holiday dinner, or any activity that will provide neighbors a chance to get to know each other.
5. Other Aspects of Community Safety. For instance, start a block parent or buddy program to help children and seniors in emergency situations.

What are My Responsibilities and What Should I be on the Look Out For as a Member?

Be Alert! Know your neighbors and watch out for each other. Report suspicious activities and crimes no matter how small they may seem to the police and sheriff’s department and take the initiative to learn how you can make yourself and your community safer. Things you should look out for are screaming and shouting for help, someone looking in the windows of houses and parked cars, and property being taken out of houses where no one is at home or a business is closed. Other things to consider are strange vehicles driving or sitting in your neighborhood, stranger in vehicles talking to or watching children and anyone being forced into a vehicle. All of these incidents should be reported to law enforcement and you should talk about your concerns and problems with your neighbor or Watch group.

How Should I Report These Incidents?

Please call 9-1-1. Give them your name and address an explanation of what happened and describe the suspect: sex and race, age, height, weight, hair color, clothing, distinctive characteristics such as a beard, mustache, scars, accent, or tattoo. If a vehicle is involved: color, make, model, year, license plate, and special features such as stickers. If you are not comfortable calling 9-1-1 and it is NOT an emergency you can call Crime Stoppers of Tangipahoa anonymously at 1-800-554-5245 (JAIL).

If you are interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch group you can call your local police department and ask to speak to their Neighborhood Watch Coordinator or you can contact the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, Officer Dawn Panepinto 902-2008 or Det. Nick Vinterella at 902-2046.

For more information on Neighborhood Watch please visit www.ncpc.org or call 1-800-627-2911 for a free brochure. Also visit the

National Sheriff’s Association’s website www.USAonwatch.org for free and downloadable brochures on Neighborhood Watch, and personal and public safety tips.

Remember to thank your local law enforcement officers and public safety agencies personnel when you see them. They work very hard for our Tangipahoa Parish Community.

Crime Stoppers of Tangipahoa pays cash for tips that lead to an arrest. Call Crime Stoppers anonymous Tip Line 1-800-554-5245 (JAIL) or visit www.tangicrimestoppers.com to submit your tip online. You will never be asked for your name just your information.

Sources for article: National Crime Prevention Council
National Sheriff’s Association

5th Annual Starry November Night






October 26, 2009
5th Annual Starry November Night
Contact: Terry Lynn Smith, Executive Director
Downtown Development District
#2 W. Thomas Street
Hammond, LA 70401
985-542-3471 or 985-974-2065

HAVE YOU BEEN DOWNTOWN LATELY? SANTA IS WAITING FOR YOU!!

Hammond Downtown Development District’s busiest night of the Christmas season is fast approaching! On Friday, November 20th, 2009, the fifth annual Downtown Development District’s Starry November Night event will begin at 5:00 p.m. Several Christmas shoppers will visit our streets and merchants. This is Downtown Hammond’s biggest retail night of the Christmas season…Friday, November 20, 2009.

It is a night when everyone comes to Historic Downtown Hammond. There is something for everyone including:
• A special guest will be arriving on North Cypress for our younger visitors… parents bring your cameras!
• Snow will blanket the grounds behind the Downtown Development District’s office creating a winter wonderland
• Horse Drawn Carriage rides will be available for $10, children under age 10 ride for free.
• Taste TWENTY different selections of wine in our Wine Tasting Stroll through beautiful downtown Hammond
• La Carreta is our music sponsor again this year. They will have live music by Solar Heat on the main stage.
• Keith Davis Violin Maker will have live music and an instrument making demo.
• Columbia Theatre will be showing White Christmas for $6 a person.
• Tasty Pastry Cafe will be having a cake walk and live music.
• PJ’s Coffee will be exhibiting Johnny Chauvin’s “Best in Snow.”
• The Livingston Lodge will be distributing soup to keep everyone toasty for the evening.
• RK Rowell, Pat Macaluso, Brittany Green, Kayla Morgan, and Johnny Chauvin are a few of the artists that will be exhibiting their artwork during the event.
• The Oak Street Gallery will be presenting the Louisiana Watercolor Society's Annual Juried Show.
• The Firemates will be selling Frito Chili Pies
• Choirs and Carolers will spread the joy of the season through song
• Look for the festive store fronts for the annual window dressing contest, judging at 8:30 pm

A wonderful Map/Brochure is available to all who visit – keep this map, specials good through January 2010!

Over the years, we have perfected the way to have a really great time in downtown Hammond. Join us for an evening of art, music, wine tasting, shopping and food. The Downtown Development District works with participating business owners who will offer a different wine for visitors to taste as they browse through the stores. The restaurants are very much a part of Starry November Night and welcome visitors to relax, dine, and take in the starry night.

For the wine tasting, wrist bands will be sold to guests who are 21 and older at the DDD office from 5:00 pm -8:00 pm. The $20 fee includes a wine tumbler, the official wrist band and signals participating merchants that the person wearing the wrist band has been ID.

Once again, the Crescent Bar and Red, White & Brew are partnering with the Downtown Development District to procure wines for distribution to the wine tasting stops, which will attract wine tasters to our business locations during this special event.

Times for the event are 5:00 p.m. through 10:00 p.m. Prepare yourself to see Downtown Hammond transform into a Winter Wonderland!



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