Protect Your Money

The Winchester Police Department wants your money to stay with you in 2014.  The police department has been receiving a number of reports of fraud and wants to educate the public on how to prevent from becoming a victim.

On January 30th officers received a report of credit card fraud.  The victim had met someone online who told her that if she loaded $400 on a prepaid card she would make more than that amount.  The victim added the money to a prepaid card, but now the money is missing and she didn’t receive anything in return.

On January 25th officers were contacted regarding mail fraud.  The victim signed up for a secret shopper program online and received a money order in the mail with instructions on how to proceed.  The victim deposited the money order into his account and was instructed to send a portion of it to France.  After he had sent the money by Western Union the bank notified the victim that the check was fraudulent.  The victim lost more than $800 in this scam.

Typical types of Lottery/Sweepstakes Frauds include:

  • Victims who are told they have won a prize in a lottery or sweepstakes
  • To obtain the promised winnings, victims are told they must pay “taxes” or “fees”
  • Payments are requested via Bank Wire Transfer, Western Union, Moneygram, or other money service businesses

Always keep in mind that if something sounds too good to be true, chances are it is.  Also, remember that you shouldn’t have to give money to receive money.

To prevent from becoming a victim always know who you are dealing with, don’t fall for scams that promise a large amount of money, and always do your research.

We want to remind you to never give your personal information over the phone, through the mail, or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or you are sure you know who you are dealing with.

If you believe you have been a victim of fraud contact the police department to make a report.

This press release was prepared by Lauren Cummings, Police Community Relations/Crime Prevention Specialist. (540) 545-7548 (office)  Lauren.Cummings@winchesterva.gov

Designate a Sober Driver before Kickoff on Super Bowl Sunday

The Super Bowl is one of America’s most highly anticipated sports events, when friends and family gather to celebrate.  The Winchester Police Department reminds residents to designate a sober driver on Super Bowl Sunday before kick-off so everyone will arrive home safe after the game.  The WPD will have saturated patrols in place on Super Bowl Sunday and has a no tolerance policy when it comes to drinking and driving.  Officers will be looking for drivers who are driving drunk or are impaired by other drugs and will be charging them.

According to NHTSA, in 2011, 9,878 people were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. These crashes were 31 percent more likely to occur on weekends than on weekdays.

If you’re attending a Super Bowl party or watching the game at a sports bar or restaurant:

  • Designate your sober driver, or plan another way to get home safely before the party begins.
  • If you don’t have a designated driver, then ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend, or family member to come and get you; or just stay for the night.
  • Never let friends drive if they have had too much to drink.

If you’re hosting a Super Bowl party:

  • Make sure all your guests designate a sober driver in advance, or arrange for alternate transportation to ensure they get home safely.
  • Serve food and include non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
  • Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game and begin serving coffee and dessert.
  • Keep the numbers for local cab companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who has had too much to drink.

Remember, your seat belt is your best defense against a drunk driver in a crash.

This press release was prepared by Lauren Cummings, Police Community Relations/Crime Prevention Specialist. (540) 545-7548 (office)  Lauren.Cummings@winchesterva.gov

Winchester Police Department Receives Reaccreditation

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The Winchester Police Department is pleased to announce that reaccreditation status has been granted to the department by the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission.  From November 12, 2013 to November 14, 2013 the police department underwent an on-site assessment and was found to be in compliance with all applicable program standards.  During the rigorous review the WPD demonstrated to the assessors that it continues to comply with nearly 200 specific professional standards that cover all aspects of police service.

“This agency is truly prepared to uphold every facet of their mission,” said Master Assessor James Cox, one of the three on-site assessors.  “The community outreach, citizen involvement, educational programs and problem solving are truly practiced.  Every opportunity is taken to expand and create new dynamic relationships to serve the city, its residents and visitors. I was honored to participate in this assessment and was blessed with a strong team, great hosts, and a well prepared agency to visit.  The citizens of Winchester as well as the surrounding region should be proud,” said Cox.

Accreditation“We are very proud to be reaccredited.  This was truly a team effort and says that the WPD is willing to undergo rigorous scrutiny to ensure that we are providing high quality service to the citizens of Winchester,” says Chief Kevin Sanzenbacher.

The Winchester Police Department was first accredited in 2009.

Members of the Winchester Police Department will be attending an acceptance ceremony next week in Newport News.

This press release was prepared by Lauren Cummings, Police Community Relations/Crime Prevention Specialist. (540) 545-7548 (office)  Lauren.Cummings@winchesterva.gov

Make a Resolution to Prevent Impaired Driving

As you ring in 2014, make a resolution to prevent drinking and driving this New Year’s.  The Winchester Police Department will have extra patrols on tap as part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign.  The police department will have checkpoints located throughout the city.  We have a no tolerance policy when it comes to drinking and driving.  If you plan to drink alcoholic beverages as you celebrate the New Year, be sure to designate a sober driver before the celebrations begin.  If you won’t be consuming alcohol, offer to drive others home to ensure their safety.

The message is simply, if you drink, don’t drive.  In 2012 more than 10,000 people died in drunk driving crashes according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  That’s one accident every 51 minutes.  Make a pledge to not drink and drive to prevent you from becoming a statistic.

We wish everyone a Happy New Year!

This press release was prepared by Lauren Cummings, Police Community Relations/Crime Prevention Specialist. (540) 545-7548 (office)  Lauren.Cummings@winchesterva.gov

Protect Yourself and Your Property this Holiday Season

The Winchester Police Department wants to remind local residents to make safety the number one priority this holiday season.  There are a number of measures you can take to protect yourself, your family, and your belongings.  The following information will provide you with tips to prevent larcenies from motor vehicles, ways you can protect your house while you’re away, and steps to reduce the risk of home fires.  According to the FBI, 24 percent of larceny-thefts in 2012 were thefts from motor vehicles.  The Winchester Police Department has seen an increase in the number of larcenies from motor vehicles with more than 30 reported since November 13th.  In most of the incidents car doors were left unlocked by drivers, making valuables easily accessible to thieves.  Steps you can take to prevent from becoming a victim of this crime include:

  • Locking your car doors
  • Not leaving anything of value in plain view
  • Securing all personal items in the trunk or a locked glove compartment
  • Closing all windows
  • Parking in a well-lit area

If you are planning on travelling this holiday season, take the following precautions to secure your home and make your house less of a target of crime.

  • Ask a trusted friend, neighbor, or family member to stay at your house or to visit your home several times a week to check on everything.
  • Have a home alarm system.
  • Lock all doors, windows, and secure your garage.
  • Do not place boxes next to your curb for recycling that will reveal what valuables you have.
  • Do not post your travel plans on social media sites.
  • Have lamps on timers.

The Winchester Fire and Rescue Department offers the following fire prevention tips to reduce the risk of home fires this holiday season:

  • Make sure all lights and extension cords are in good condition; rated for outdoor use and are UL listed.
  • Most Christmas tree lights are now inexpensive so if they are cracked or damaged throw them away.
  • If using a ladder, make sure it is in good shape, rated for the size of the person using it and use a spotter to keep ladder stable.
  • Do not overload electric circuits. LED lights are good for reducing the electrical load.
  • Read all instructions and follow the recommendations on the number of strings of lights that can be connected.

Inside Decorating Safety Tips:

  • Keep your fresh cut tree watered daily.
  • If the tree becomes extremely dry, remove it from the residence.
  • Place all trees and decorations away from heater vents as this will dry them out.
  • Use indoor rated UL lights on trees.
  • Do not run electrical cords under carpets or rugs.
  • Be careful with candles; make sure they are completely extinguished before going to bed or out for the evening. NEVER put candles near dried decorative materials.
  • Keep all candles and matches out of the reach of children.

For further information call Fire Department Headquarters at 540-662-2298.

We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.  We’re looking forward to continuing to serve you in the New Year.

This press release was prepared by Lauren Cummings, Police Community Relations/Crime Prevention Specialist. (540) 545-7548 (office)  Lauren.Cummings@winchesterva.gov

Business Gives Back to the Community

Lori Bassler, Customer Service Manager

Lori Bassler, Customer Service Manager

Green Bay Packaging employees are helping to bring the magic of the holiday season to families in Winchester.  On Wednesday the group made a generous donation to the Timbrook Food and Toy Drive which will benefit more than 40 families.  Over six weeks employees at the packaging company gathered donations and held challenges.  The group presented the food and toy drive with: hundreds of cans of soup, items of warmth including hats, gloves, scarves, and socks, food, personal care items, toys, stocking stuffers, 100 Christmas stockings, and a monetary donation totaling $105.

Green Bay Packaging has about 85 employees and all of them were involved in the collection.  The Winchester Police Department would like to thank the Green Bay Packaging “family” for their support of the Timbrook Food and Toy Drive and for making a difference for local families who are in need.

All of the items that have been donated to the Timbrook Food and Toy Drive will be sorted on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 12:30 p.m.  The items will be delivered on Saturday around 8 a.m.  Members of the media are welcome to attend either event.  Please contact Lauren Cummings for more information.

This press release was prepared by Lauren Cummings, Police Community Relations/Crime Prevention Specialist. (540) 545-7548 (office)  Lauren.Cummings@winchesterva.gov

Residents Reminded to Lock Car Doors

The Winchester Police Department is reminding residents to lock their car doors after receiving 15 reports of larcenies from motor vehicles since November 16th.  In most of the cases a suspect is opening unlocked car doors to access valuables.  Items taken have included wallets, purses, cash, cell phones, GPS systems, and other electronic devices.  The reported incidents have happened in all areas of the city.

Anyone with any information on these incidents is asked to call Crime Solvers at 540-665-TIPS.  Residents are reminded to report larcenies from motor vehicles to the police department.

To deter thieves from targeting your car, residents are reminded to protect their valuables by doing the following:

  • Lock your car doors and close all windows when you leave your car
  • When parking at home use your garage if you have one, and lock your car inside your garage
  • If you don’t have a garage, try to park in a well-lit area
  • Don’t leave anything of value inside your car, even if your car is locked

This press release was prepared by Lauren Cummings, Police Community Relations/Crime Prevention Specialist. (540) 545-7548 (office)  Lauren.Cummings@winchesterva.gov

Make Personal Safety a Priority This Holiday Season

The holiday shopping season will kick into full gear this week.  Many shoppers will be out late Thanksgiving night and up early on Black Friday to find big bargains, and they won’t be alone as criminals will also be out.  As you’re making your holiday shopping list the Winchester Police Department recommends you also have a personal safety and security plan.  Here are some great tips to help you shop safely.

  • Park in well-lit areas of store parking lots
  • Beware of your surroundings
  • Lock your car doors
  • Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle.  Check the back seat and around the car before getting in
  • Shop with a friend or group
  • Place shopping bags in your trunk and do not leave packages visible in your car
  • Leave your purse at home to avoid purse snatchers and pickpockets.  Carry your ID and credit cards in a front pocket.  If giving up a purse is out of the question, choose one with a long strap that can be worn over your head and covered with a jacket for safety.

The Winchester Police Department will have extra patrols out as shoppers head to the stores Thanksgiving night and on Black Friday.

With the holiday rush comes an increase in people who are out and about.  Be extra cautious when driving through parking lots and be aware of people who are walking to and from stores.

Residents are reminded to immediately report any suspicious activity or persons to the police department.  We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.

This press release was prepared by Lauren Cummings, Police Community Relations/Crime Prevention Specialist. (540) 545-7548 (office)  Lauren.Cummings@winchesterva.gov

Street Closures for the Old Town Christmas Parade

The holiday season officially kicks off in Winchester on December 2nd with the annual Old Town Christmas Parade.  A number of street closures will be in place to allow the bands, floats, and of course Santa Claus to make their way through the city.  The following streets will be shut down at 6 p.m. and will reopen immediately following the parade.

  • Cameron Street from Fairfax Lane to Monmouth Street
  • Piccadilly Street from Cameron Street to Braddock Street
  • Braddock Street from Piccadilly Street to Cork Street
  • Cork Street from Braddock Street to Kent Street
  • Boscawen Street from Indian Alley to Kent Street

Parking restrictions go into effect at 4 p.m. in areas marked with “No Parking” signs.

The parade gets underway at 7 p.m.  Parking is available for $5 at any of the four downtown autoparks:

  • George Washington & Court Square (on Cameron St) – Use Kent Street entrance/exit only
  • Braddock Street Autopark – No exit allowed until parade in finished
  • Loudoun Autopark – No access restrictions

We hope you enjoy the parade and we wish you a safe holiday season!

This press release was prepared by Lauren Cummings, Police Community Relations/Crime Prevention Specialist. (540) 545-7548 (office)  Lauren.Cummings@winchesterva.gov

Law Enforcement Foundation Presented with Check

The Top of Virginia Regional Chamber presented The Winchester/Frederick County Law Enforcement Foundation with a $4,000 check Friday afternoon.  The Chamber donated a portion of the proceeds generated from the Valor Awards Ceremony to the foundation.  The Valor Awards was held October 17th to recognize public safety personnel and citizens who went above and beyond to ensure the safety of others.  “Thank you for giving the Chamber the opportunity to host this event,” said Interim President and CEO of the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber Mike Guevremont.  “This event was long overdue and without our prime sponsors we couldn’t have done this,” he said.  Presenting Sponsor City National Bank committed an additional one thousand dollars to the foundation.  The foundation will use the money to provide regional training for public safety officials.

Pictured from left to right: Major Kelly Rice (WPD), Dennis Johnson (Golden Seal Enterprises), Frank Phillips (Golden Seal Enterprises), Chief Kevin Sanzenbacher (WPD), Sheriff Bob Williamson (FCSO), Mike Guevremont (TOVRC), Marci Carter (Golden Seal Enterprises), Jim Wilkins (Chairman of the Foundation), Lori Eversole (City National Bank, and Katrina Meade (City National Bank).

Pictured from left to right: Major Kelly Rice (WPD), Dennis Johnson (Golden Seal Enterprises), Frank Phillips (Golden Seal Enterprises), Chief Kevin Sanzenbacher (WPD), Sheriff Bob Williamson (FCSO), Mike Guevremont (TOVRC), Marci Carter (Golden Seal Enterprises), Jim Wilkins (Chairman of the Foundation), Lori Eversole (City National Bank, and Katrina Meade (City National Bank).

This press release was prepared by Lauren Cummings, Police Community Relations/Crime Prevention Specialist. (540) 545-7548 (office)  Lcummings@ci.winchester.va.us