UPDATED  1/23/16  News and Views Page
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                Taking Ownership Against Vehicle Burglaries 
                                       
By: M.O.S.T. Field Team

 We were recently in a store parking lot when a man pulled into the spot beside us. His front seat was full of packages. Being the busy-body micro-managers of safety we are, we enquired if he was at all concerned with car break-ins in that area. He responded that he was only going to be away a minute and that he would beat up anyone who he caught breaking on to his car. To finish us off, he also said that the complex had security cameras. Well, I guess he told us. He had it all figured out. Except that in real life crooks could be in and out of his car before he knew it. We already knew that if he did catch someone in the act, his chances of resolving it physically were not that high. That’s if he acted at all. You see, many tough talkers freeze when true crisis is underway. As far as the cameras; He had a point. They may deter some folks who don’t want to be identified later. However, it would be unwise to bank one’s security on them. Today’s punks are increasingly less intimidated by cameras because they know the feeds are rarely monitored live.

 We know that most folks are not as cavalier about crime as the man we encountered. However, if you take the percentage of people who think as he does, then factor that into a city our size, one can estimate that there are a lot of people in Orlando that crooks would like to cross paths with.

We’ve prepared some tips for those of you who may wish to reduce your risk. 

Be aware of your surroundings. 

If you feel uneasy parking in a certain spot due to environment or bystanders, don’t park there. 

Lock doors. Roll up windows. Use alarm and yes, even the Club.

Use a sunshade, even at night. Crooks prefer to see inside before a break in to assess contents and your security. Deprive them of that !

Ladies, crooks watch restaurant and other lots. If they don’t see you walking in with a strap on your shoulder, they know it means you left your purse in the car. They may have even seen you put it in the trunk. If you plan to do that, do it off-property.  

Use parking spots that are well lit and well traveled.  A well lit spot in a remote area of the lot is less favorable than a partially lit area close to the door. If possible, park under a camera. Remember that you may enter a place in daylight and exit at night. Break-ins also happen in broad daylight. Don’t let the sun lull you into a false sense of security.

If dining, ask for a seat with a window view of your vehicle. Not romantic, but neither is cleaning broken
glass off of the passenger seat.

The glow of the G.P.S. in your unattended car says “Steal Me” to crooks. Secure all valuables.

Tipping a lot attendant or bouncer may help to put extra eyes on your car. 

Never leave a gun unlocked in the vehicle.

Be united. Keep an eye on suspicious activity around other cars. Report suspicious characters.

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Parents Information on Gangs and Children
Courtesy Florida Gang Investigators Association

www.FGIA.org

Warning Signs 

•You should be concerned if your child:
•admits to gang involvement;is obsessed with one particular color of clothing or shows a desire for a particular logo over and over;
•wears sagging pants (this in and of itself is not indicative of gang activity);
•wears excessive jewelry with distinctive designs and may wear it only on either the right or left side of the body;
•is obsessed with gangster-influenced music, videos and movies to the point of imitation;
•withdraws from family with an accompanying change in demeanor;
•associates with undesirable and breaks parental rules consistently;
•develops an unusual desire for privacy and secrecy and may completely rearrange living quarters to create privacy;
•uses hand signs while with friends and practices them at home;
•Or there is evidence of the appearance of:
A) Physical injury (such as being beaten) and then child lies about the events surrounding the injury.
B) Peculiar drawings or language on school books (may appear later as tattoos or brands)
C)Unexplained cash or goods, i.e., clothing or jewelry
D)Possible use of alcohol and drugs with attitude change.

Advise your children they should NOT 

Associate with any gang members or “wannabe/gonnabe” gang members;identify or communicate with gangs;hang out near or where gangs congregate;approach strangers in cars who appear to want information or directions;wear gang related clothing where gangs are known to gather or traverse;wear initialed clothing such as BK – British Knights – a/k/a “Blood Killer” in high crime areas;use words like “crab” or “slob” (localized lingo may develop) anywhere gangs may be; i.e. malls, sporting events, etc.;attend any party or social event sponsored by gangs or their associates;take part in any graffiti activity or hang around where graffiti is present; oruse any kind of finger or sign language in a public place.

Tips for Parents

•Impress upon your child the importance of school and good grades
•Spend quality time with your children
•Get involved in your child’s school activities
•Establish rules, set limits and be consistent, firm and fair in punishment
•Encourage good study habits
•Respect your child’s feelings and attitudes and help them develop self-esteem
•Watch closely for negative influences
•Improve your own self-esteem so your children can model themselves after the most important “role model” YOU.

Tips for Parents/Educators 

Help children develop self control

Help children deal appropriately with problems

Get involved in community oriented prevention and intervention programs. Urge others to become involved. Volunteer at your child’s school. Gangs are a community problem and their influence does not stop at any particular boundary.

Listen to your children. Communicate with them about their concerns and fears
.
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G R A F I TT I

We do not care about persons who paint graffiti on a sanctioned wall with the owner's permission. However, we detest cowards who paint property without consent. That changes the classification from art to vandalism. However, the vandals will still try to justify what they do by claiming it's free expression. They often try to vilify those who oppose them by labeling them oppressors of that free expression. Meanwhile, those same vandals cause hundreds of dollars in damage, drive a businesses customers away and lower property values.
 
We often ask if a graffiti goon would still call it "art" if it was their property being defaced without permission.

Graffiti can also have a more serious meaning due to being gang related. Gangs can use graffiti to mark territory,advertise drug sales, mourn deceased members, announce alliances and issue threats. All the more reason to report and remove it immediately.

If you see tagging in progress dial 9 1 1

For recent graffiti in Orlando report it to (407) 254-GRAF (4723) or click HERE

For recent Orange County graffiti dial 3 1 1. You may also report it on the free app OCFL 311

M.O.S.T. strongly advises you to remove tags immediately after they get documented by law enforcement. We feel it is bad advice for anyone to advise you to leave the tags up a week or two to prevent retaliation. Letting tags remain sends a message of tolerance, lowers the property value for both you and your neighbors and can drive away your customers or potential property buyers. Not to mention that each day you look at the tag is a reminder of how your property was violated. Who needs that kind of aggravation ?