Safety is Sharing!

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Shredding shouldn’t be your sole defense. ID theft is more likely to result from data breaches, computer malware, a lost or stolen wallet and other devious methods, including thieves buying sensitive information on the scammer black market, instead of searching for it among discarded eggshells and coffee grounds. Still, at organized shred fests with monster machines or at home with a more compact confetti maker (always use a “micro-cut” or crosscut model), shredding is a simple step to add another layer of protection, not to mention more storage or shelf space.

Exploitation of the elderly has always existed and only in the past few decades has it been recognized as an epidemic as more tragic stories surface into the spotlight. Today, exploitation of the elderly is a very prevalent problem wherein the perpetrators are usually family members, paid caregivers or in some cases unsuspecting strangers.

For Houstonians, the topic of elder abuse is one we don’t take lightly. Our community made this loud and clear following the release of this video in January by the Memorial Village Police, which showed (skip to 5:30) caretaker Brenda Floyd repeatedly striking 94-year-old Alzheimer patient, Dorothy Bratten, in her home.

Like last year Crime Stoppers of Houston partnered with Houston Independent School District on their district-wide policeweek art contest. Cesaer won 1st place and we surprised his class with Harris County Sheriff's Office K9 Bret who looks like the K9 he drew in this artwork.

Honestly, one of the worst things a parent can hear is that there is an active shooting or stabbing at their child’s school – and it doesn’t matter how old that child is – 5 is like 15 is like 25.

I was vividly reminded of last week when I was in Houston, with UT parents, when headlines broke: “Deadly stabbing on University of Texas at Austin campus.” I watched as phones lit up and frantic texts were going back and forth between siblings and parents. Where were their kids? Are they okay? Were they close to the incident? What was the incident? How do you get them to safety immediately?

 

In today’s world, it’s a rare thing to see parents and their children coming together to watch or talk about a TV or Netflix series. But parents, as early as the moment you finish reading this, I would ask your children (especially any teenaged children) if they are streaming Netflix’s controversial series 13 Reasons Why. People all over the globe are talking about this extreme series with opinions ranging widely.

Vacation victory or vacation misery? Victory is what everyone is looking for in a vacation, though misery may be what you come across if you’re not careful when planning. Travel scams can be mentally and financially exhausting. While you thought you were booking a week trip on a cruise ship, you potentially just sent thousands of dollars to an unknown, unreliable “travel agency.” Don’t be the next victim!

If it sounds too good to be true, chances are… it is! Mailings, phone calls and travel “agents” who congratulate you for winning a free vacation on a highly rated island are more than likely running with your money if they get the chance. The emails or voicemails you receive stating you won a free trip usually means the wrong person got a hold of your contact information. Don’t fall for it.

 

In 2015 alone there were 66,721 confirmed cases of child abuse / neglect in Texas according to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Within these cases, 171 children lost their lives on account of the abuse/neglect.

We hear the numbers and it’s shocking but I ask you to think of what those numbers represent. Each of these cases represents children who are enduring thousands of beatings or burns, sexual assaults or more; they represent cold nights and hungry stomachs; they represent child after child who is terrified, helpless and alone.

 

As we recognize and honor many other groups and individuals on a daily basis, it is equally important for us to recognize and thank those who dedicate their time every day in making a difference in our community. April is National Volunteer month dedicated to recognizing all of the kind people in our communities who volunteer their time.

In 2016, the US saw 135 police officers die in the line of duty, which was the highest number of fatalities on the job in five years. Nearly 50 percent of them were fatally shot, including 21 of whom were killed in different ambush-style attacks. These numbers, as gut-wrenching as they are, are numbers most of us read, think that’s too bad, and keep going. For the families behind the heroes, these numbers are terrifying.