Ready for the Holidays!
Welcome to the December Crime Stoppers of Tarrant County newsletter! This month’s newsletter will start with the Self-Care 469Tip of the Month, focusing on how to be okay with being alone. Then we’ll move on to our Holiday Safety & Prevention Tips, our well wishes for a Happy Holiday season, and how to celebrate safely this year. Next will be our Featured Story of the Month where we will do a Crime Stoppers of Tarrant County Year in Review. At the end we will provide you with all the necessary info to send us contact information, request Crime Stoppers technical presentations, print material requests, and ways to follow us on social media. Thanks for tuning in this month and we wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season!
Self-Care 469Tip of the Month
How to Be Okay With Being Alone1

An important difference exists between “being alone” and “being lonely”. Time alone can be a luxury in which there is time to relax, unwind, and reflect; leading to positive outcomes. However, loneliness is the version of being alone that is not so satisfying. Loneliness occurs when our social and emotional needs are not being met. This can lead to many obvious mental health problems like depression and anxiety and is especially true for those already experiencing mental health problems.

With many of us doing our best to slow the spread of COVID-19, holiday celebrations with family and friends are being put on hold this year. Some people may be spending the holidays alone physically and/or emotionally. Below are three tips on how to be okay with being alone and combatting loneliness:

  • Understand why you’re feeling lonely and challenge that feeling. Take the time to think through any feelings you’re experiencing. Actively dispute the negative thoughts/feelings you may be having through activities like journaling, mediation, or even “self-talk” (i.e. talking outloud to yourself).

  • Find a project that gives you self-control. These projects can range from building a lego set or jigsaw puzzle to working on a home-improvement project. 

  • Use technology wisely. Many times we can use technology to create negative spaces like comparing ourselves to others on social media or reading too much negatively-framed news. Instead, use technology as a way to connect to individuals or content that makes you feel good.

A lot of time alone is never easy for anyone, but it is possible to enjoy that time and use it to your advantage. We hope that this month’s Self-Care 469Tip is helpful this holiday season for both you and those you serve. Lastly, please feel free to share these tips with anyone you may serve or work with.

Text or Call: 817-335-3022
Toll Free: 1-800-866-2465
Deaf & Hard of Hearing: 817-569-4488

Hotline: 1-800-273-8855
Deaf & Hard of Hearing: Dial 711 then 1-800-273-8255.
Holiday Safety Tips!
During the holiday season many forms of criminal activity rise in number. Most of this is due to increased traveling, gift buying, selling of items, and people deviating from their normal daily schedules. With this in mind, we wanted to provide you with tips that you and the community members you work with can use to prevent crime and the fear of crime.

Below are types of crime that Crime Stoppers of Tarrant County can take tips on related to trends seen during the holiday season.
Online Shopping Scams

The most common online shopping scams involve the use of fake online sellers pretending to be a legitimate seller through fake websites and/or fake ads on a genuine retailer’s website.1 Many fake online shopping websites look and feel genuine, but have some telling signs that they are probably fake 1,2:

  • Fake sellers will advertise really low prices on something that is usually highly-priced (i.e., game consoles, new phone model, new tech). 

  • Seller urges up-front or immediate payment, especially payment through electronic funds transfer or wire service.

  • The store is social media based only, is very new, and/or has very limited information about delivery and return policies.

Protect yourself by following these simple tips 1,2:

  • Purchase goods from reputable, trusted, and well-known retailers. 

  • Research the retailer to find out who you are potentially purchasing from.

  • Only use secure payment services (e.g., Pay Pal or credit card) when paying for products. For most, these methods come with added buyer protection policies.
Selling/Buying Items Online From Individuals

Sometimes in order to find better deals or specific items individuals may opt to buy/sell on a sale-by-owner website. Unfortunately, there are instances of the seller/buyer deciding to engage in mischievous criminal acts. Examples include assaulting the other party, robbing them, harassing them, or even trying to sell them something at a price that wasn't promised or agreed upon.

Below are tips to help keep you safe whether you’re a buyer or seller3:

  • Use a proxy email address/phone number that can easily be discarded.

  • Plan and make an agreement on details before the transaction.

  • Plan to meet the other party in public with other people around, and bring a friend for assurance.

  • If they must come to your home, ensure that you have a safety plan and that others are home.

  • ONLY accept cash.

  • Overall, trust your instincts when interacting with a buyer/seller.
Porch Pirates

Porch pirates are individuals who steal delivered packages from the porch of another person’s household. For many people this year online shopping may increase significantly, leading to prime opportunities for porch pirates.

Here are some basic tips to prevent porch piracy4:

  • Always keep an eye on your package tracking. Know when your order is supposed to come in and set up package tracking alerts on your phone if you can.

  • If the option is available, require a signature for your package delivery.

  • Schedule your pickup for when you or someone else will be home.

  • Ask a neighbor to pick it up and hold on to it for you

  • For those retailers that have the option, use a pick-up locker or have it shipped to the store for pick-up.
Burglary of Motor Vehicle

Every holiday season, burglaries of motor vehicles surge 5. This is usually due to increased traffic at shopping centers, malls, and in neighborhoods 5.

Below are tips on preventing burglaries of motor vehicles 6:

  • ALWAYS lock your car no matter where you are and take your keys with you.

  • Never leave your car running and unattended.

  • Park in a well-lit area.

  • Take valuables inside with you or hide them out of sight.
Burglary of Habitation

December is the peak month for home burglaries.7 The highest week for burglary incidents is the week following Christmas because criminals are aware that many households now have unwrapped, easily displayed “loot” in their homes.7

Below are some simple actions that can be taken to prevent home burglary 8:

  • Keep valuables out of view from windows and ensure doors and windows are locked before you leave, especially for long periods of time

  • Do not post about new valuables or your vacation plans on the internet/social media.

  • Keep an inventory of valuables including serial numbers, dates of purchase, and prices paid.

  • Don’t leave out packaging of valuable items on the curb for trash pickup; tear down boxes and dispose in a bin.

  • Be a good neighbor; arrange agreements between yourself and a trusted neighbor about keeping watch on empty houses.
Drinking & Driving

We agree that the holiday season is a time for fun and celebration. However, we want those celebrations to end on a positive note. On average, between Christmas and New Year’s Day, there are 300 deaths caused by drunk driving.9

Below are strategies than you can take and/or promote to others to ensure a safe and happy holidays 10:

  • Use a ride sharing app like Uber or Lyft or call a taxi.

  • Have someone you can trust to be a designated driver, preferably a non-drinking friend. 

  • Call a family member or friend if you need a ride home.

  • If you’re the one hosting the party/get-together: make sure that everyone leaves with a sober driver.

NOTE: Crime Stoppers can take tips on repeat DWI offenders, but we do not take tips on someone actively driving drunk; please call 911.
Domestic Violence

Domestic violence (DV) certainly does not stop during the holidays. Furthermore, the holiday season can create situations in which DV worsens for those already experiencing it.11 Notably, victims of DV may experience greater stressors and challenges during the holidays that may not usually arise during other times of the year.11 

If you are in a domestic violence emergency, please call 911. If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence situation and needs to be connected to directed services and advocacy resources, please contact One Safe Place at 817-916-4323.

Crime Stoppers is NOT a crisis line and is only equipped to take anonymous tips on suspected domestic and family violence.
Happy Holidays!
Crime Stoppers of Tarrant County wishes you and your community a very Happy Holidays! We hope that you and yours are able to find solace this holiday season despite the ever-present and indescribable situation(s) we have collectively experienced this year.

For many this year, the holidays will be less crowded and a bit more calm. However, this does not mean the celebration itself has to be less fun, exciting, or enjoyable.

For those who do choose to gather, here are some quick tips on how to gather safely while doing your best to reduce the spread of COVID-19 1:

  • Limit guest size, wear a mask, wash/sanitize your hands regularly, and keep a 6ft distance from those not living with you.
  • If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.
  • Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled.
  • If weather permits, host your Holiday lunch/dinner outside OR if you’re inside open windows to increase air circulation.
  • Talk with your guests to set expectations before the celebration.

Other holiday celebration options:
  • Share a virtual meal together with family and friends who do not live with you.
  • Watch holiday parades, sports, and/or movies at home.
  • Play a fun board game inside or if you’re able, enjoy the weather playing a yard game.
  • Bake and decorate holiday day themed cookies.
  • Drive around to look at holiday lights and house decorations.

No matter what you and those you serve decide to do please remember to do them as safely as possible. COVID-19 is still here; as an organization that is committed to the safety of our community we urge you to consider your options and make the best choice(s) for you, your family, your friends, and your community. Once again, Crime Stoppers of Tarrant County wishes you a Happy Holiday Season that is fun, relaxing, and safe! 
Crime Stoppers of Tarrant County
Featured Story of the Month
A Year in Review

This year has been an extremely difficult year for everyone in the Tarrant County community, including for us here at Crime Stoppers of Tarrant County. Nevertheless, our program and this community has continued to push through the hardships, including everyone from school teachers and administration, law enforcement personnel, community organizations, and individual community members across the county. Understanding this, Crime Stoppers of Tarrant County is enormously thankful for your support throughout the year.

While COVID-19 has made things more difficult for our program, it has not kept us from working towards our mission of reducing crime and the fear of crime in Tarrant County. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has led us into new territory that will be useful even after we are past the pandemic. This includes increased social media presence and engagement with the community, the ability to host presentations virtually for our partners, and this monthly newsletter! Although we miss the ability to engage with the community in-person, we believe these new and innovative programmatic pieces will help enhance Crime Stoppers’ operations into the future.

In the new year, be on the lookout for our 2020 End of Year of Report! This will outline all the tips we’ve received, cases we’ve cleared, arrests made, and school reports that led to appropriate action. As always, we are excited to continue to work with you and your school, agency, and/or organization. Every one involved in this program is an essential part to ensuring that Crime Stoppers can prevent crime and reduce the fear of crime in Tarrant County. Thank you to everyone in the Tarrant County community! Have a Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year! We’ll be back with another newsletter in 2021!
Training, Contact Info, and Print Material
While this school year looks different, the service provided by Crime Stoppers of Tarrant County to help you and your students, parents, and staff through the Campus Crime Stoppers and Friends for Life program remains the same. 

  • If you would like virtual program training for staff, please contact Rachel at rgilbert@onesafeplace.org.
  • If you have not updated your contact information for this school year, please complete the Campus Crime Stoppers or Friends for Life Contact Information Forms. (insert forms)
  • Print materials are available upon request and delivered to locations that are open for visitors.
  • Digital resources for this school year may be downloaded from our website here.
Follow Us!
Please feel free to follow us on all of our social media!

If your organization, school, or agency has social media pages please have them follow us and we will be sure to follow back!!
If you know of any other individuals, teams, or organizations that would like to be a part of this newsletter please do not hesitate to have them contact either Rachel or Julian so that they can be added to the email list.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns regarding Crime Stoppers of Tarrant County and our various programs please feel free to reach out to us at any time and we will respond in a timely manner.

Best regards,

Rachel Gilbert
Director, Special Programs

&

Julian Rangel
Engagement and Outreach Specialist

1100 Hemphill Street
Fort Worth, Texas 76104
817-469-8477 | 469tips.com | "CCS FFL" & "P3Tips" mobile apps