Crime Prevention Tips of the Week (1/13/2021)

January 13, 2021

A new year comes with new laws. Part of crime prevention is making sure you know those laws, so you can avoid breaking them.

Hands Free Law

Hands-Free Device Law: 

Beginning Friday, January 1, 2021, drivers reported in violation of Idaho's "hands-free" device code risk receiving a citation. Idaho's hands-free device law requires electronic devices to be in hands-free mode while driving, including when stopped at a red light or stop sign. In other words, with few exceptions, the new hands-free law makes holding a cell phone illegal while operating a vehicle. Learn more about the Hands Free Device law here.

To avoid a citation, here are some things you can do:

  • Pull over. If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location. Once you are safely off the road and parked, it is safe to text;
  • Designate your passenger as your "designated texter." Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages;
  • Activate your phone's "Do Not Disturb" feature. You can also put your cell phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of your vehicle until you arrive at your destination if you are struggling not to use your device while driving.
Garage

Garage/shed theft:

Officers have taken multiple reports of overnight theft from garages and sheds across Boise. In many cases the thief is believed to have entered through an unlocked side door.

We know you don't want to lose track of your expensive tools, lawn equipment or household items stored inside, so here are some tips.

  • Lock it up. For garages, close every door and make sure to lock up. Any side doors should be a solid core and have a deadbolt. For sheds, invest in a higher quality and high security lock. In two recent cases, thieves likely broke the padlock or kicked a door in.
  • Clear the space. Trees and shrubs should be trimmed so that there is good visibility. Don't give thieves the opportunity to go unseen.
  • Shine a light. Make sure you have a light on outside of the garage door or shed at night, especially if it's detached an away from the house.
rental scam

Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace Rental Scams:

Criminals are finding new ways to make their scams appear more legitimate. Recent victims of rental scams in Boise were able to do "self tours" of the listed properties using a code for the rental company lock on the door.

Remember:

  • The home might actually be for rent.  Often, the scammer poses as the landlord or rental company for the home and posts it on Craigslist or Facebook. The listing is complete with pictures of the home that were taken from a legitimate rental site. The address is legitimate and the ad encourages renters or buyers to visit the site and peer through the windows. If you see other rental or for sale signs in the yard, reach out to the listed rental company directly.
  • Even if you can get in through a lock box, that doesn't make it legit. The average person can sign up for and gain access to a lock box through a legitimate rental company. Criminals are taking advantage of this by signing up themselves or having the victim sign up.
  • Pay attention and look for the red flags. Be wary of any of listing on free sites like Facebook or Craigslist. The "landlord" will likely say they can't meet in person or speak over the phone, so all communication is over text, email, or IM. No legitimate company will ask you to pay through gift cards, wire transfers, or cash apps. There may also be a sense of urgency and the scammer will make it seem like a now or never deal. If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Contact: Boise Police Media Relations

(208) 570-6180 | BPDMedialine@cityofboise.org

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