2014 ushers in the highly publicized ban on the use of cell phones while driving in Illinois. Public Act 098-0506 also known as HB1247 makes it illegal to use a hand held electronic communication device while operating a motor vehicle. There are some exceptions to this ban but there are just a few of importance to the general motoring public. One exception is a “driver using an electronic communication device for the sole purpose of reporting an emergency situation and continued communication with emergency personnel during the emergency situation”. This means that if you call 911 to report a drunk driver or other dangerous or criminal activity that is occurring and observable immediately to you. A second exception is “a driver using an electronic communication device in hands-free or voice-operated mode, which may include the use of a headset”. As long as the headset does not cover both ears. This does not include you putting your phone on speaker and laying it on the console. A third exception would be “a driver using an electronic communication device when the vehicle is stopped due to normal traffic being obstructed and the driver has the motor vehicle transmission in neutral or park”. This could be while waiting for a train crossing to clear or any other situation where you would be able to stop and put the vehicle in park or neutral for an extended time period. For a full listing of this public act go to www.ilga.gov and enter HB1247 in the search function.
Cyber Thieves Love the Holidays
They know how busy people are and they count on people reacting to things in their emails that might normally make sense this time of the year. Here are 10 techniques / suspicious emails to watch out for to protect your business and personal computer.
1. Emails / links offering live streaming sports – once they get your email, they’ll look for additional ways to send more malicious emails, if they don’t direct you to sites with malware directly.
2. Secret Santa messages – chances are, you don’t have a secret Santa, so don’t click the link to find out who it is or what they got for you.
3. iTunes (or other) gift certificates – watch out for emails saying someone gave you a gift certificate and to click on the certificate to claim it. Check with the sender first.
4. E-cards with mismatched links – if the link in the email isn’t from the e-card company’s site (look at the domain name), it’s probably not something you should open.
5. Surveys that offer gift cards – thieves are counting on the fact that you’d like to buy more gifts or give gift cards this time of year. Filling out surveys is an easy way to get your personal information in general.
6. QR codes not on packages or point-of-purchase signage – QR codes are an easy way to hide what the link is, so you can’t determine if it’s sending you somewhere malicious by looking at the link.
7. Direct Deposit Cancellations – Thurston First Bank has noticed several of these types of emails because people are concerned about not having cash on hand for holiday shopping. Don’t click; call your bank.
8. Package Not Deliverable – if you get a message saying you’ve got a package waiting, call your local post office; don’t “print out the postage label.”
9. Fake flight confirmations / updates – these will usually involve the major airlines (like Delta or American Airlines) and will try to get you to click on a link. Call the airline.
10. Holiday Screensavers – many sites like this (holiday or otherwise) may contain malware that you’ll be downloading with your screensaver or other images.
When in doubt, be very careful opening anything where you don’t know the sender (this goes for Facebook and other social sites) and, if it seems too good to be true, verify with the sender before you click.
As we approach the end of the semester and the long anticipated holiday break before next year, the Macomb Police Department reminds you to be mindful of the security of your residence. Every year officers take reports of stolen textbooks and other items as students finish up the year. Don’t be a victim, protect your property. Once again though the Macomb Police Department urges you to take specific actions to protect your valuable property while you are away from Macomb between semesters.
- Take your valuables home with you. Laptops, music players, video game systems and televisions are the most commonly stolen items over break. To reduce the chances that your stuff is stolen, take it home with you.
- Make sure before you leave that all of your doors and windows are locked. The most common entry point for a burglar is a side or rear window. If they can find one unlocked then they can get in to your residence and walk out with your stuff. Not only should you lock your windows but we also suggest that you put a stick in the window to keep a burglar from pushing it upwards if they figure out how to bypass your lock.
- Mark your items with your driver’s license number. As part of Operation ID we suggest that you use an engraver to mark those valuable items that you just cannot take with you. When you do this it makes it harder for a criminal to take the item to a pawn shop and pawn it with someone else’s driver’s license number already engraved on it. You can check out an engraver from the Macomb Police Department Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm. In addition, Operation ID advises to make a list of all your valuables to include the make, model, serial number or detailed description. Photographs help too! This way if you do become a victim you can provide the reporting officer this detailed list of what was stolen. This helps us to try to recover your valuables.
- Leave lights on in your residence and/or put them on a timer. If a residence looks like it is occupied then a burglar may bypass it.
- The Macomb Police Department does it’s best to provide extra patrol to the northwest quadrant of town when students are on break however we cannot be everywhere. We ask you the student to help us reduce crime by taking your valuables home.
- Ask a trusted friend or neighbor to periodically check on the residence.
- If leaving town for more than a few days, stop mail and newspaper delivery, and also ask a trusted friend or neighbor to put out the trash bin on the designated day and move it from the curb after pick-up.
The month of November had a name change among men as they honored Movember this past month. Movember is an organization created to raise awareness for men’s health. In order to show support of Movember, men grow mustaches throughout the month of November. The Macomb Police Department FOP Lodge 189 was part of this movement and officers were allowed to grow mustaches to raise awareness for men’s health. The lodge will also make a monetary donation to the cause.
On 12/2/13 Officers gathered at Blades in Macomb to celebrate the end of Movember and also to show their support for Chief Barker. In September Chief Barker was diagnosed with cancer in the lymph nodes in his neck. He has undergone three surgeries and started treatment on the 18th of November. Officers Joel Clausing, Jacob Rhodes, Anthony Johnson, Derek Wiley, Sgt’s Jim Rowland and Jason York as well as Lt. Dave Burnham and Deputy Chief Eric Lenardt all had their heads shaved as a show of support for Chief Barker as he battles his cancer. Special thanks go out to Al Brewer of Blades who volunteered his time and business to help us in our cause.
Sgt. York, Officer Tedrow and Sgt. Rowland with their Movember staches!
Lt. Burnham, Officer Rhodes, Sgt. York, Al Brewer of Blades, Officer Wiley, Sgt. Rowland, Deputy Chief Lenardt, Officer Johnson and Officer Clausing with their new hairdo’s!!!
Thanks to Al Brewer and Blades for making this happen. Al donated his time and effort for a good cause!