Return to the Blog Home Page

Protect yourself this Cyber Monday with some simple tips and tricks!

Monday, November 25th, 2013
  • Never use your credit card online on a website that doesn’t have an SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption. You’ll know a site has this encryption and is safe if the URL starts with https:// (look for the s!). You should also see a padlock, typically at the bottom of your browser.
  • No one needs your social security or birth date for a transaction. Keep that information private!
  • Start at a trusted site rather than using a search engine to ensure you are on the website of a legitimate business.
  • Check your online bank statements regularly- don’t wait until the end of the month. If you see something suspicious, contact your  bank immediately.
  • Never give anyone your credit card information via email.
  • Ensure your computer is up-to-date with current firewalls, automatic updates, and anti-virus/anti-malware software.

Trust your instincts. If something seems too good to be true… it probably is!

2013 Halloween Safety Tips

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Halloween is an exciting time of the year for children. Take a moment to consider some basic safety precautions to help make this Halloween a safer night of fun. Walk Safely

• Never send younger children out alone—they should be with a parent, guardian, or another trusted adult.

• Make sure older children take friends and stay together while trick-or-treating.

• Don’t let children enter a home unless you are with them.
• Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.• Drive slower and take extra time to look for kids at intersections.

Get Costume Creative

• Choose bright costumes or decorate with reflective tape.

• Have children carry flashlights or glow sticks so they are easily visible.

• Use face paint instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.

How to Find Your Neighborhood's Crime Stats

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Do you know the crime statistics of your home, neighborhood, and city? This information can help you stay safe and aware.

1. To learn about crime nationally, check out the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports. You can compare crime rates across decades.

2. To track crime in your area, refer to websites such as and  

Create an alert or update for your community so you can quickly learn about nearby crime reports.

3. Your municipal and county law enforcement agencies also provide information on their own websites, such as The Atlanta Police Department.

4. News stations are other important souces. For example, the AJC has a search engine connected to the police department’s crime reports.

 Although crime statistics can be valuable information, remember that not every crime is reported to police. Also, if you use this date to compare areas, keep in mind that because each location is unique, this method might be unreliable (1).

Finally, remember to follow Crime Stoppers Atlanta on twitter and facebook to keep updated about crime in Metro Atlanta!

Spring Break Safety

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Post-midterm spring break trips are a tradition among undergraduates. Although these beach vacations are often harmless, many see such an influx of reckless college students as an easy target for crime. While having fun next week, keep these safety tips in mind to protect yourself!

Trip Planning and Research:

  • Thoroughly plan your trip by researching your destination (especially travel warnings). Book a reputable hotel and find reliable transportation.
  • Make sure your family knows where you’re going and when you’ll return.
  • If traveling abroad, make sure you have the right documents, immunizations, and medical insurance. Don’t pack flashy valuables and try not to stand out as a tourist. 

Fun and Activities:

  • Keep your hotel safe by never admitting strangers and keeping personal information, such as where you’re staying, secret from people you don’t know. Lock up valuables.
  • Visit ATMs in groups and be wary of any suspicious people hanging around. Don’t carry too much cash at once, and keep smaller bills rather than larger ones.
  • Avoid sun poisoning and sun stroke by remaining hydrated, lathering on SPF, and avoiding the outdoors in the hottest part of the day.
  • Most importantly, do not drink if you are underage. If it is legal for you to drink, be responsible: intoxication greatly increases your risk of victimization.

Common Sense Safety:

  • Trust your instincts and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Always look confident–even if you are lost–so you don’t resemble easy prey for criminals.

 That said, you don’t have to be paranoid during your trip. It’s a vacation after all! If you remain aware and informed, it should be a trip to remember (in a good way).

How to Prevent Child Abduction

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

In the last month, there have been two well-publicized attempted child abductions in Georgia. In the first, a viral video showed the young Brittany Baxter fight off and escape her abductor in a Wal-Mart in Bremen (1). Today, after a 10 year-old girl ran away from an inquisitive stranger in a minivan, Dunwoody neighborhoods have been alerted that an attempted kidnapper is prowling their streets (2).

 Crime Stoppers applauds these girls’ quick-thinking and urges parents to ensure that their own children know what to do in similar situations. Here are some safety tips:

  1. Empower your community through the Neighborhood Watch. Keep an eye out for the safety of your neighbors and their children. Especially look out for suspicious people on your streets (3).
  2. Although it is important to teach your children not to trust strangers—especially unknown people in cars—remember that most abductions and abuse comes from relatives and acquaintances.
  3. Children aren’t only in danger outside. Many child predators hunt for victims using social media and the internet. Monitor your children and teach them how to stay safe online.
  4. Identify times and activities where your children are most vulnerable and teach them about the dangers. For example, when they walk to school or wait for the bus. Click here for ideas: “Safety Tips While Walking.”
  5. Check out these links for how to teach children to recognize and avoid abduction and abuse: “Wal-Mart Kidnapping: How Can I Keep My Child Safe from Unkind Strangers?” and “Safety Tips for Children Grades K-5.”
  6. Make a note of Amber Alerts. Over 554 children in the U.S.have been saved by this program that empowers communities to work with law enforcement.

Over 2,185 children go missing each day (4). The best way to prevent these abductions is to educate yourself and your children.

Celebrate Valentine's Day by Ending Domestic Violence.

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

People either love or hate Valentine’s Day. They can be uplifted or isolated by the explosion of red and pink decorations and gifts plastered with roses and cupids.

One way to recreate this holiday is to make it less about chocolates, jewelry, and admirers, and more about spreading love. Today, Crime Stoppers Atlanta hopes to raise awareness for the sinister side of relationships: domestic violence.

Domestic violence is defined as “the establishment of control or fear in a relationship through physical, sexual, emotional, and/or financial abuse” (1). Such abuse can happen to anyone–no matter his or her background–and does not have to include physical abuse.

Too many men and women are affected by domestic violence: over one hundred Georgians every year are killed in domestic violence-related incidents; 30% of all women in Georgia from the ages of 14 to 44 are assaulted; and the FBI reports that a woman is beaten every 9 seconds.

There are ways you can help:

  • You can donate your time and money to local shelters, hot lines, and legal advocacy groups. Your generosity can provide a second chance for a victim.
  • Be respectful and kind in all your relationships.
  • Never turn a blind eye to a friend or family member’s abuse. Check out this link for signs and steps to take.

Spend this Valentine’s Day thankful for those you love, as well as mindful that healthy relationships don’t hurt.


Hate Crimes on the Rise

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

The viral video of an Atlanta gang beating a teenager they accused of being gay has instigated a public outcry (1). This incident is a disturbing reminder that prejudice and discrimination remain major—and often violent—issues for communities.

Hate crimes are crimes—especially violence, vandalism, and arson—that are motivated by bias. There are separate hate crime laws that reassign these violations to federal jurisdiction and ensure harsher penalties (2).

Hate crimes reverberate throughout communities. They isolate people and increase antagonism and friction between groups.

Such infractions have been rising. The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics break down the 6,624 incidents according to motivation: 47% based on race, 20% based on religion, and 19% based on sexual orientation (4). It is important to note that many hate crimes remain unreported.

Refer to these tips from the National Crime Prevention Council on how to help put a stop to hate crimes.

GA's 13th Annual "Stop Violence against Women" Day

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Today (February 2nd), the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence (GCADV) hosted a discussion and rally at the state capitol. GCADV urged the state to work actively against domestic abuse and to continue funding essential services for victims (1).

Domestic violence is an important issue: Georgia has the 6th highest rate of men killing women (2) and the 15th for domestic violence in the nation (3).

Violence against women is not only a problem for women. Domestic violence hurts entire families and communities. suggests these ways you can help:

  • Call the police if you see or hear evidence of domestic violence.
  • Support a friend or family member who may be in an abusive relationship. Learn more about how to help.
  • Volunteer at a local domestic violence shelter or other organization that helps survivors or works to prevent violence.
  • Raise children to respect others. Teach children to treat others as they would like to be treated.
  • Lead by example. Work to create a culture that rejects violence as a way to deal with problems. Speak up against messages that say violence or mistreating women is okay.
  • Become an activist. Participate in an anti-violence event like a local Take Back the Night march. Tell your congressional representatives that you want them to support domestic violence services and violence prevention programs.
  • Volunteer in youth programs. Become a mentor. Get involved in programs that teach young people to solve problems without violence. Get involved with Choose Respect or other programs that teach teens about healthy relationships.
  • Ask about anti-violence policies and programs at work and school. At work, ask about policies that deal with sexual harassment, for example. On campus, ask about services to escort students to dorms safely at night and other safety measures.

Domestic abuse can be physical and emotional, and should never be underestimated or ignored.

Help Stop Bullying and Harassment

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Although this is No Name-Calling Week, we should work toward ending child and adult harassment every week of the year.

Bullies target nearly half of all children and are far more prevalent in the workplace than is typically estimated (1). The worst response to this problem is to brush it off as a life-stage or trial that will “toughen up” our children and colleagues.

In fact, the detrimental effects of such emotional and physical abuse include: low self-esteem, humiliation, helplessness, and even depression and suicide.

Even more troublesome is how modern bullying is spreading. Before, people could escape harassment when they left school and work, but thanks to easy internet access and wide-spread texting, such abuse can follow them at home, too.

If you are a parent or teacher, consider these tips:

  • Refer to for lesson plans and ideas for teaching children that harassment is hurtful and unacceptable.
  • Keep an eye out for signs that your children or students are being bullied: is the quality of their work greatly diminished? Are they more withdrawn? Do they fear going to school?
  • If you suspect bullying, make sure they know it’s not their fault and that they may talk to you openly about it. Take it a step further and contact the school’s authorities.
  • Likewise, watch for indications that your children are bullies: Do they show aggression, violence, or a need to dominate others? Do they fail to empathize with other children?  If so, you need to address these problems immediately.

If you are an adult, remember these guidelines:

  • Be aware that bullying is not just a school-yard problem. Bullies grow up and don’t always grow out of their abusive natures.
  • Don’t participate as an audience. Stand up for your colleagues. Also, realize that malicious gossip can damage someone’s self-esteem and reputation.
  • If you are being bullied, talk to a supervisor. Consider documenting the behavior in case you must take legal action.

Bullying is most often not about the victim, but the aggressor’s low self-esteem, and consequent need for power and self-aggrandizement. To end harassment, we must never underestimate its effects or fail to take action. Everyone deserves to feel safe and respected.

Does Cold Weather Affect Crime Rates?

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

After several blissfully warm days during the New Year holidays, Atlanta has been hit by a bitter cold front leaving daytime temperatures in the 30’s and evening temperatures in the 20’s. Besides dampening enthusiasm for the new year, such cold weather may affect crime rates as well.

Crime is affected by weather in many ways. The elements influence our behaviors and emotions by inducing stress, causing depression, anger or agitation, or by creating environments in which crime flourishes. In extreme heat people also tend to drink more alcohol and get together more often, creating favorable circumstances for conflict. Consequently, violent crimes during summer greatly increase.

Criminologists have long accepted that blistering temperatures contribute to the rise of crime, but the connections between frigid conditions and illegal activities are less documented. While cold weather also augments anger and aggression, studies have shown that the resulting actions are less random than those committed in heat. Therefore, premeditated crimes such as property crimes and robberies increase.

What can you do to protect yourself from winter crimes?

  • If you leave your home or business empty for several days in a row, be sure to follow these rules to reduce your risk for robbery.
  • Don’t leave your car unattended when it’s warming up in the mornings. Thieves often search neighborhoods for these easy targets.
  • Keep in mind that darkness falls much earlier in the winter months. In fact, in the Metro Atlanta area the sun sets at around 5:40 p.m. in January. Park in well-lit and safe areas, and if you feel uncertain, ask someone to walk you to your car.
  • Finally, remember that just as more people remain indoors when it’s cold, there will be fewer witnesses and people to help you if you are in trouble. Remain vigilant.

In addition to bundling up against the freezing wind, be proactive in preventing crime.


Sources: National Crime Prevention Council; Ellen Cohn, “Weather and Crime;” and Peter Van Koppen and Robert Jansen, “The Time to Rob: Variations in Time and Number of Commercial Robberies.”