Is Your House Being Watched by Burglars?

Is Your House Being Watched by Burglars?

Is Your House Being Watched by Burglars?

There are various stereotypes that surround the idea of someone breaking into your home. It could be that a masked stranger breaks into your home in the middle of the night and steals your personal belongings while you sleep. It could also be that the burglar wears all black and sneakily climbs through a window in the dead of night while getting away with your television or gaming systems. It doesn’t matter which of these stigmas, or any others, you may have about a burglars because both of them are probably wrong.

According to Dr. Joseph Kuhns, one in four home robberies actually involve a friend or the homeowner or renter and take place in the afternoon. In fact, many times when someone breaks into your home it’s not the first time they have been there. They may have already “cased your home” If you’ve never heard of the term “casing a house,” it’s when burglars watch your home for a few days prior to their planned break-in to watch your habits to determine what the best time to break in is.

We want to help you prevent your home from being cased by a burglar and, in turn, burglarized. The first sign that someone may be watching your home, or a home on your block, is a new car appears and stays parked for long periods of time. If the car doesn’t belong to you or anyone on your street and has darkly tinted windows you might want to be suspicious. Further, if you see strangers walking or running down your street – you may want to keep a watchful eye. Keep in mind that they could be from another neighborhood, but if they spend long periods of time looking at your home, take pictures of your home, or are not dressed appropriately, you should contact local authorities.

The next clue to look for is if someone knocks on your door and asks to borrow a phone, is trying to solicit a product, or offer a service you should be wary. It is smart to ask them to wait outside or simply ask them to leave because they could be casing the inside of your home for entry points, pets, and the layout of rooms within your home. It is also smart to keep an eye out for strange flyers in your door or marking on your home. These are often ways professional burglars signal homes to other burglars.

It’s your home and it’s up to you to protect it. If you ever have a gut feeling that something, or someone, is not right it might be a smart idea to invest in a security system or security camera. There is no reason to be paranoid that every single stranger you see is a potential threat, these are simply warning signs to look for.

If you notice several of these signals, you may want to alert authorities and your neighbors to keep an extra eye out for intruders.


Do You “Owe” the “IRS?”

Do You “Owe” the “IRS?”

Do You “Owe” the “IRS?”

There are a lot of good people out there who do things like following the rules and paying their taxes. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of bad people out there too. Many of these bad people like to take advantage of those good people, and abuse their trusting or concerned nature. That is why good people have to be on their guard and wary of potential scams.

A popular scam that goes around, is when someone contacts a victim claiming to be the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The scammer will try to convince the victim that he or she owes some large amount of fines and taxes. Coupled with this will be a sense of urgency, such as “This is the final time we will try to contact you before having you arrested.” or something of that nature. Whatever it is, it will be meant to cause a sense of panic in the victim, thus making them more likely to pay the “fine” without thinking about it too much.

The thing is, this is typically a scam. The IRS will never contact a person about this via phone, email, or even in person. If this was a real IRS situation, they would contact the person through mail delivered by the United States Postal Service (USPS).

On top of that, the IRS will not threaten people. This is a tactic used solely by scammers. The IRS cannot revoke a person’s driver’s license, business license, or even immigration status. Scammers pretending to be from the IRS will make these claims in an effort to cause their victims to panic, and do something without thinking it through. The IRS would never do that.

Lastly, the IRS will never ask or require a person to pay for their taxes or fines with a prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer. These are all methods primarily used by scammers to ensure the money cannot be traced. This means that once the money is given in this way, it is gone forever.

If a person is still worried by a letter or some other form of communication supposedly from the IRS, they can always contact the IRS directly to get more information. By doing this, they may come to find out that they don’t owe the IRS anything.


Drinking and Driving on Halloween

Drinking and Driving on Halloween

Drinking and Driving on Halloween

Summer came and went and we are now headed into fall. This means that Halloween is almost here! For kids, this means trick-or-treating to get as much candy as they can possibly carry. For adults, it means going out to parties to have a good time. If there is alcohol at these parties, than a person needs to drink responsibly.

Around most holidays where drinking is involved, people are bound to see an increase in DUI checkpoints around town. This is due to the fact that officers know that people will be drinking more and therefore they will put more effort into keeping those who have consumed alcohol off of the road.

A similar thing happens around holidays such as Memorial Day and Labor Day. However, it is infinitely more important on Halloween. On this particular holiday, kids are out roaming the dark streets in search of candy. In this instance, a drunk driver is far more likely to hit a child, or group of kids. That is something that no one wants to deal with.

DUI checkpoints may seem intimidating, but they are nothing to worry about. A driver just needs to wait for an officer to wave them forward, answer a few quick questions, and so long as the officer doesn’t suspect that the driver has been drinking, they will be cleared to proceed on to their destination.

If you are planning on going out and drinking for Halloween, be sure to do so responsibly. This means having a designated driver, or using some sort of rideshare service such as a taxi, Uber, or Lyft.

Doing this will not only keep you safe from getting a ticket or in an accident, it will also help keep trick-or-treaters safe as well.


Creating an Emergency Kit for the Great Shakeout

Creating an Emergency Kit for the Great Shakeout

Creating an Emergency Kit for the Great Shakeout

October 18th of this year will be the Great Shakeout. It is a day where schools and companies all over the world practice what they should do in the event of an earthquake. It is an opportunity for people to prepare for an emergency that can happen at any time without any warning. That is why it is important to be prepared.

One way to be prepared for an emergency like an earthquake, is to have an emergency kit ready to go. A good emergency kit will have all of the things that you need to deal with any emergency that comes your way.

This includes:

  • 3 gallons of water per person. This should last each individual 3 days.
  • A 3 day supply of non-perishable foods.
  • Baby food, diapers, and wipes if you have a baby.
  • Pet food and extra water if you have a pet.
  • A can opener.
  • Cups, utensils, and plates.
  • First aid kit.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • Battery powered, or crank powered, radio and flashlight. Plus extra batteries.
  • A whistle.
  • Portable phone charger.
  • Prescription medicine and glasses for those who need them.
  • List of contact info for family members and friends.
  • Important documents in a waterproof and fireproof container.
  • Waterproof matches.
  • A blanket.
  • A supply of cash for food and travel for at least a week.
  • A change of clothes and shoes for each family member.
  • If you have kids, activities for young children, such as crayons and coloring books.

While this list can seem a bit intimidating, it can all be important in the event of an emergency. Just by having this stuff stored away in a safe place at home, a person is much more likely to be able to survive whatever comes their way.


California Limits Plastic Straws

California Limits Plastic Straws

California Limits Plastic Straws

A few years ago, the citizens of California voted to ban single-use plastic straws. At the time, the change was very controversial with many opponents of the bill upset at the loss of the flimsy plastic items. However, as time moved on, people adapted and got used to the new change. The success of this law, helped convince some Californians that similar laws should be enacted as well.

Recently, the California state legislature passed a new bill that would prohibit full-service, dine-in restaurants from distributing plastic straws unless the patron requests the item. The hope is that by doing this, it will reduce the amount of plastic straws that are used once, and then tossed away. Single-use plastic utensils like this are bad for the environment since they are only used for a short amount of time, but last for several decades in landfills and oceans.

It is important to note that this is not an all-out ban on plastic straws, like many opponents of the bill claim it is. Customers will still be able to get plastic straws in restaurants, they will simply need to ask for straws. The hope is that this will get people used to the idea of not having straws. This could also help encourage new, environmentally friendly straws to be used instead of their plastic counterparts.

The bill based with a 45-20 vote in the State Assembly and now awaits Governor Jerry Brown’s signature for final approval. While this bill may seem like a big deal now, just remember when the plastic bag ban was first enacted.

Many people were up in arms over that law, but we got used to the change. The same could happen with this law as well.


Show Some Compassion for Others

Show Some Compassion for Others

Show Some Compassion for Others

Far too often, we see nothing but bad and depressing stories on the news. Trying to stay in the know can get hard to stomach at times. That is why it is always a pleasant surprise to see a nice story making headlines all over the place. A perfect example of this comes from a Wendy’s located in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Recently, a Wendy’s employee went above and beyond to help a pair of customers who came into the restaurant. A blind couple came in and placed an order. The employee, who has been identified as Richard Wise-Attwood, went the extra mile to ensure that they truly enjoyed the meal.

According to another patron, who took photographs of the encounter and shared them to social media, stated that Wise-Attwood helped the couple to their seats, provided them with drinks, napkins and sauce, and returned to their table multiple times to make sure they were doing okay. Wise-Attwood provided a level of service that is very rare in the fast food industry, but did it without question.

When asked about what he did, Wise-Attwood said, “I’m hoping that it does show people that even if you do work at an establishment such as Wendy’s or McDonald’s, customer service will show somebody a good day and they’ll pass it on to someone else.”

Small, simple acts of kindness like this are always guaranteed to put a smile on someone’s face, so why don’t we all do things like this more often?

If we could all take some time out of our busy schedules to show someone else, a stranger even, just a little compassion, we could make the world a better place. Maybe then watching the news wouldn’t be so depressing.


Move Over or Slow Down

Move Over or Slow Down

Move Over or Slow Down

Ask anyone, and they will tell you that driving on the freeway is not quite the same as driving on surface streets. On freeways, cars drive a lot faster and there is very little stop and go, unless of course there is a bit of traffic. Freeways are fast moving environments, and they are not the kinds of places where you want to have car trouble. Unfortunately, we don’t always get what we want.

Sometimes, cars breakdown on the freeway and leave their driver stranded alongside a very busy road. Even if these cars are off to the side on the shoulder, it can still be nerve wracking to be that close to speeding vehicles. It can also be very dangerous, which is why they have to wait for emergency help. Thousands of accidents are caused every year because drivers hit a car parked on the side of the road.

Due to this fact, many states have enacted laws with the goal of ensuring the safety of stranded motorists and emergency personnel alike. The state of California is no different. Here, it is required by law that all motorists vacate the lane immediately next to the shoulder if an emergency vehicle is stationary there displaying flashing lights, so long as it is safe to do so. If that cannot be done, then the driver needs to slow down while passing the vehicle.

What some people do not realize, is that this does not simply mean police, fire, and EMT vehicles. This law also includes tow truck drivers and Caltrans vehicles that are displaying flashing orange lights. Failing to move over can earn a person a pricey ticket.

This law is very important, and helps keep workers safe as they work alongside the road. For your safety, and the safety of all emergency personnel helping the stranded motorist.


Stopping for School Buses

Stopping for School Buses

Stopping for School Buses

School is back in session once again and for students, that means that the fun of summer is over. For many adults, we assume nothing changes for us when the new school year starts, however that isn’t exactly the case. With the start of school comes additional traffic around campuses, and school buses make a reappearance.

Luckily for most drivers, school buses only operate within certain time frames. This means that they are not around for most of the day. However, the times they are in operation tend to coincide with rush hour traffic to and from work. Having to stop for a school bus when late to work, or after an extra tiring day at the office, can be frustrating.

Some people assume that if they see a school bus stopped, but it is on the opposite side of the street, that they can simply ignore it and keep on their way. Other people will keep going regardless of the stopped bus and the line of cars behind or in front of it. In both instances, this is against the law.

In the state of California, all drivers are required to stop for a school bus that is displaying flashing red lights and a stop sign. Not only will ignoring a school bus stop signals earn a driver a costly ticket, it could harm a child. School buses are used to transport kids to and from school. When they stop along the road, it is either to pick kids up or let them off. This means that there are kids near an active roadway, and extreme caution should be used.

The only time a driver is allowed to ignore a stopped school bus is when it is on the opposite side of a divided roadway. This means that there is either a median or barrier separating the two different directions of traffic. Any other time a driver comes across a school bus with flashing red lights and a stop sign out, they need to stop, regardless of what side of the road they are on.

Stopping will only take a moment, and will help keep everyone safe.


7 Tips for Preventing Wildfires

Keeping California From Burning Up

7 Tips for Preventing Wildfires

Every Californian knows that wildfires in the state are a pretty big deal. This is only reinforced by the fact that 2018 has been one of the worst years for wildfires in the state to date. This year, the Mendocino Complex Fire became the largest wildfire to ever burn across the state. The blaze scorched 459,123 acres, and is estimated to have burned hundreds of structures, uprooting the lives of many people.

This is the perfect reminder that we all need to do our part in preventing blazes like this from even starting. One such way to do that is by properly disposing of cigarettes finished. Throwing cigarette butts onto the ground or out of a car window is a fairly common practice. After all, just about everyone has seen cigarette butts lying discarded on the ground.

The problem with this, besides the fact that it is littering, is that these butts are often still lit when discarded. If one were to fall in to some paper or dry brush, they could easily spark a blaze. If you think this is too farfetched, think again. Dozens of fires are started around the world annually by discarded cigarette butts. It is a real problem that people need to be made aware of.

Properly disposing of used cigarettes can greatly reduce the risk of them starting a fire. Finished cigarette butts should be extinguished and placed in ashtrays. This way, they cannot fall into any sort of kindling and spark the next big blaze in California.

Wildfires are a big deal in this state, and every resident needs to do their part to keep California from burning up.


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Did You Hear about This Change to Kids Car Seats?

Lynwood Bail Bonds Store

Any experienced parent will tell you that kids need different kinds of car seats at different ages. As the child grows, they need different styles of car seats until they are finally big enough to sit in the seat without any additional device. For a long time, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that children should remain in rear-facing car seats until they are 2 years old. However, that has now changed.

Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics changed their recommendation and eliminated the age limit. Now they say that a child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until they weigh over 40 pounds. The lead author of the updated rule said: “It’s best to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. This is still the safest way for children to ride.”

This change breaks a long held rule, largely due to the fact that manufactures of car seats are now making rear-facing seats that can support children up to 40 pounds. Since this is the best way for children to travel, the Academy changed the long standing rule.

According to the academy, using the right kinds of car seat for a child can reduce the risk of serious injury or death by 70%. That is not a number that should be ignored by parents. Furthermore, the Academy goes on to list when kids should be moved from one style of car seat to the next.

  • Rear-facing seat – Up to 40 pounds.
  • Safety seat with harnesses – Up to 65 pounds.
  • Belt positioning booster seat – Until the child is 4 feet 9 inches tall.

Parents should follow these guidelines, as well as the recommendations in the car seat’s safety manual to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their child while driving.