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Investigations

Safety and Crime Prevention | Retail Theft Prevention | To report a Crime Tip, click here

The Buckhannon Police Department Investigator position utilizes specialized training in processing of evidence, crime scene investigation, and criminal investigations.  The Investigator assists assigned officers with both the initial and follow-up investigations for crimes involving major misdemeanors and felonies.  Duties the Investigator typically assists on include: evidence collection, victim and witness interviews, suspect interrogation, and crime scene documentation.  The position also serves as the Department’s Crime Prevention Officer.  The Crime Prevention Officer facilitates positive community relations that are coupled with proactive efforts aimed towards the prevention and reduction of criminal activity within the City of Buckhannon.

General Safety and Crime Prevention Tips

  • Create a "Safety First Mindset"- Thinking that something bad can only happen to someone else and doing nothing to prepare yourself for dangers in society can make you a perfect victim for criminals. Know your surroundings, be familiar with emergency contact numbers, and don't be afraid of asking questions that may preserve the safety of you and your family by contacting the proper authorities.
  • Create a Safe Home - Install durable locks on all doors and windows within your home, don't leave spare keys to your house easily accessible, invest in peepholes for your doors if none are installed, and if you have the funding security systems are excellent in safeguarding your home.
  • Be cognizant of your surrounding when exercising in parks or on streets - Avoid areas that are dark or have several obstacles that a perpetrator could hide behind, exercise in groups (strength in numbers), and if possible carry a phone in the case of an emergency.
  • Prevent yourself from being a victim of sexual assault or date rape - Avoid drinking large amounts of alcohol at social gatherings or social halls. Alcohol drastically impairs your judgment and can put you at great risk. If you have access to self-defense training classes it is highly suggested you enroll to protect yourself from being a victim.
  • Keep your vehicle safe - Always keep your doors locked and have your windows rolled up, never leave any possessions in plain view such as in the back seat or floor board, and though car alarms can be expensive they have proven to deter criminals from tampering with vehicles.
  • Protect yourself from identity theft - Secure your PIN number and be discreet when entering your number in public, shred all documents both paper and digital that have pertinent personal information on it, and destroy digital data before selling or trading a computer system or a hard drive. It is wise to assure the data on the hard drive is completely destroyed before getting rid of your computer.

Retail Theft Prevention Tips

Sources of Retail Shrinkage:

    • Employee Theft - #1 source of all shrinkage
    • Shoplifting
    • Administrative Error
    • Fraud

*Employee Theft:

  • Employee theft is a crime of trust.  The National Retail Security Survey has indicated that this crime causes $15 billion in losses annually.
  • As such:  BE CAREFUL WHO YOU TRUST!
  • When someone is responsible for money: 
    • Run background checks in Magistrate Court of every county person has lived and worked in.
    • Check the person’s references
    • Look for warning signs of people in a position of trust:  Gambling problems, substance abuse problems, etc.
    • Have a system of checks and balances.  Don’t allow just one person to be solely responsible for all the finances.
    • Don’t turn your head.  If you are the victim of employee theft, PROSECUTE.  Not doing so can only encourage the person to go elsewhere and perform the same act.

*Shoplifting:

  • Causes retailers $10 billion in losses annually. 
  • This is primarily a crime of opportunity.
    • As such, most criminals are creatures of opportunity.  This can mostly be averted by becoming familiar with the Crime Equation.
  • Crime Equation:  Motivated Offender + Suitable Target = Crime
  • The common denominator of the equation is opportunity. 
    • Once opportunity is removed, crime equation is broken, thus averting crime itself.

*Fraud:

  • Causes Retailers a loss of $10 billion annually
  • Includes the following: 
    • Vendor Fraud
    • Return Fraud
    • Check Fraud
  • Concerning this type of crime, it has often been said that the best offense is a good defense.  In this respect, a good defense is knowledge.
  • Ways to combat return fraud:
    • Require receipt for cash returns
    • Only refund same form of currency used for the purchase
    • Develop policy for length of time you will accept returns
    • Place policy in plain view
    • Be consistent in enforcing policy
    • Require identification when accepting returns
  • Ways to combat check fraud:
    • When accepting a check, make sure name, address, and phone number are printed on the check
    • Watch the check writer sign the check
    • Compare signatures to photo id of check writer
    • Use a check guarantee service
    • When possible, accept credit card payments

Sources:

  • National Retail Security Survey
  • 15 Tips and Tricks for Retail Theft / Loss Prevention and Reducing Inventory Shrinkage: 
    http://www.possoftwareguide.com/articles/news91.html
  • About.com:  Retailing  How To Use Store Design to Reduce Shoplifting
  • About.com:  Retailing  How To Use Customer Service to Prevent Shoplifting
  • About.com:  Retailing  Writing a Return Policy
  • About.com:  Retail Industry  Tips for Tackling Check Fraud

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