Crime Prevention & Safety

The Helena Police Department strives to be a community resource for all public safety concerns. Below are some helpful reminders and links to valuable information that can help keep Helena a safe community.


Safe Streets

Safe Streets Reminders

Safe Streets Reminders

    Pedestrian Reminders

    • Always use cross-walks - don't walk until traffic stops
    • Wear reflective clothing if walking in the dark
    • Pedestrian Safety (NHTSA) - Click Here (Link)

    School Reminders

    • Stop for school buses with flashing lights and stop-arms
    • Slow down when entering school zones - expect frequent stops
    • Parents should only use designated drop-off locations - don't double park or block bus lanes

    Other Driving Reminders

    • Use extra caution when leaving your garge or driveway
    • Be extra vigilent when driving in the dark
    • Slow down in neighborhoods, especially if continuous sidewalks are not present
    • Road Safety (NHTSA) - Click Here (Link)

    Motor Vehicle Theft

    Motor vehicle theft can happen to anyone at any time. However, there are simple tips that drivers can follow to prevent the theft of their vehicle.

    Quick Stats
    $7 Billion  - Cost of motor vehicle thefts in the US in 2020.
    74% of all vehicles stolen were passenger cars.
    50% of all motor vehicle thefts were becuase of driver error.

    Motor Vehicle Theft Reminders

    Motor Vehicle Theft Reminders

    When parking:

    • Always take the vehicle’s keys with you, even when you will only be gone for a minute.
    • Close and lock all doors and windows, including a sunroof.
    • Park in well-lit areas such as under a streetlight or within view of a security camera.
    • Never leave anything valuable in your vehicle. If you must, be sure to put it in a locked trunk, under a seat, or covered with a coat or blanket. Leaving something of value out in the open can be enticing to a thief.

    Devices to deter theft:

    • Audible and Visible Devices: Things like a horn alarm and flashing lights on the vehicle bring attention to attempted vehicle thefts by alerting people in the area.
    • Immobilizing-Type Devices: Some vehicles come with anti-hotwiring technology that will not allow electricity or fuel to get to the engine. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to see if your vehicle has this technology.
    • Vehicle Recovery Systems: Some vehicles use electric transmission technology that, when activated by the owner, can help track the location of the vehicle.

    What to do if your vehicle is stolen:

    • Contact the Helena Police Department by calling 911. You will be asked to provide the license plate number, the make, model, color of the vehicle, the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and any identifying characteristics. You will need the police report to file a claim with your insurance company.
    • Contact your insurance company within 24 hours of the vehicle being stolen to file a claim.
    • If you find your vehicle, contact the Helena Police Department immediately. Do not approach the vehicle as this could be dangerous if the thief is nearby. An HPD Officer will respond and determine if the scene is safe.
    Sources
    www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/vehicle-theft-prevention

    Bike Safety

    In a crash between a bicyclist and a vehicle, it is the cyclist who has a greater chance of being severely injured. Follow these tips and Rules of the Road to ensure a safe ride every time.

    Bike Safety - Rules of the Road

    Bike Safety - Rules of the Road

    By law, all states require bicyclists on the roadway to follow the same rules and responsibilities as motorists. When riding on the roadway, follow these rules:

    • Ride in the same direction of traffic.
    • Obey street signs, signals, and road markings just like when driving a car. This includes stopping at stop signs and waiting your turn at busy intersections.
    • Just like when driving a vehicle, do not use cell phones while riding – pull off the road and stop in a safe place before pulling out any electronic devices.
    • Avoid listening to music while riding as to better hear approaching vehicles and any potential emergency vehicle sirens.
    • Always signal your intentions (as shown in the picture to the right) and look over your shoulder before changing lanes or making a turn.

     

    Bike Safety Tips

    Bike Safety Tips

    • Ride a bike that fits you and select the appropriate gear for the area you will be riding.
    • Wear properly fitting safety gear to keep you safe and visible to others. This includes a helmet, bright colored clothing during the day, reflective gear, and a white light on the front handlebars and a red rear light on the seat post or an over the tire cargo rack.
    • Plan your route – if you plan on riding on the road, choose routes with less traffic and slower speed limits. Always use a bike lane or bike path when possible.
    • When riding on a road: act as a vehicle. When riding on a sidewalk: act as a pedestrian.
    • Watch for varied road conditions and be prepared to safely ride around any hazardous areas or construction zones.
    • Always lock your bike when you are done riding either in an indoor area or using a U-lock.
    • Perform a bike check before riding checking that the tires are filled properly, the brakes work, and any lights and/or reflectors are not damaged.
    • If your bike is stolen, report it to the Helena Police Department at the nonemergency number: (406) 457-8866.
    Source: www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/bicycle-safety

    Fentanyl

    Fentanyl is a strong synthetic drug that is one hundred times stronger than morphine. Below are some facts about the drug and its effects.

    Quick Stats
    41 Montanans died of fentanyl overdose in 2020.
    167% - Percent increase of fentanyl-related overdose deaths in Montana between 2016-2020.
    424% - Percent increase of fentanyl drug seizures in Montana between 2016-2020. 
    4,556 - Number of fentanyl pills seized by the Montana Highway Patrol in 2020.

    Fentanyl Facts

    Fentanyl Facts

    What is Fentanyl?

    Fentanyl is a strong synthetic drug that is one hundred times stronger than morphine. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a pain reliever. Common street names include Jackpot, King Ivory, and Dance Fever just to name a few. Fentanyl is classified as a Schedule II narcotic which means it has medical uses but has a high potential for abuse and addiction. Just two milligrams of fentanyl can cause death.

    How is Fentanyl abused?

    Fentanyl is obtained through theft of prescriptions, fraudulent prescriptions, and illicit distribution by patients and medical professionals. It can then be injected, snorted, smoked, taken orally, or by a patch placed on the skin.

    What does Fentanyl look like?

    Prescribed fentanyl comes in pills, transmucosal lozenges or “lollipops,” nasal sprays, and patches. Chemically produced fentanyl comes in a powdered form or is pressed into tablets for oral consumption. It can be sold alone or mixed in with other drugs such as heroin and cocaine making it difficult to identify.

    What does Fentanyl do to the body?

    Fentanyl’s prescribed use is a pain reliever; however, it can cause confusion, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, urinary retention, pupillary constriction (decreases the size of the pupil), and respiratory depression (inability of the body to take enough breaths).

    What does an overdose look like?

    A fentanyl overdose can cause cold and clammy skin, changes in pupil size, blue skin and lips, coma, and respiratory failure that can lead to death.

    What to do in the case of a suspected overdose?

    If you suspect a drug overdose, call 911 immediately. Paramedics and Helena Police Department Officers carry Narcan which can quickly reverse the effects of fentanyl and potentially save a life.

     

    Sources: 
    www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Fentanyl-2020_0.pdfleg.mt.gov/content/publications/fiscal/2023-Interim/IBC-D/DOJ-Fentanyl-Summary-2021.pdf.

    Banking Scams

    People across the United States loose billions of dollars each year due to bank scams. These scams include fake actors attempting to access your bank account. Use the following information to protect you and your family.

    Banking Scams Reminders

    Banking Scams Reminders

    Overpayment Scams:

    An overpayment scam involves receiving a check with instructions to deposit it into your bank account and then wire part of the money back to the check issuer. This was a fake check which might not be immediately noticed by a bank employee. The bank will then require you to pay for the damages caused by the fake check and any money you may have wired to the check issuer will be gone.

    Unsolicited Check Fraud:

    Anytime you receive an unexpected check in the mail from someone you don’t know, be cautious as it could be a scam. By signing the back of the check, you enter into an unwanted legal contract for a service that could end up costing much more than the check itself. Scammers will know when the check has been deposited and will start charging you for services you do not want. The problem is that the contracts have very short cancelation periods, and you may not know about the problem before it is too late.

    Automatic Withdrawals:

    Scammers like to entice their victims with free trials or prizes. They will ask that you put in your account information to qualify for free items. By doing this, the scammers set up automatic withdrawals on your bank account where they take out money on a regular basis. To stop this, contact your bank to place a stop payment authorization on your account as soon as possible.

    Phishing:

    A phishing scam involves receiving an email that might look like a legitimate company asking you to verify your account information such as a bank account or debit card number. Spotting these scams can be tricky but scammers will often misspell words or use generic greetings instead of your name. To keep yourself safe, never click on a link in an email. Instead, contact the company by using a website or phone number that you know is real and inquire about your account. Clicking on attachments or links in the email can install malware on your computer that will steal your private information.

    Tips to Stay Safe:

    • Don’t deposit checks from strangers or companies you do not have a relationship with.
    • If you suspect you received a fake check, do not sign it. Take it to your financial institution for inspection.
    • Don’t click on email links to verify your bank information and don’t give out account numbers or other personal information over the phone or email.  
    • If uncertain, ask your financial institution or an HPD Officer for advice.

    If you suspect you are a victim of a banking scam, contact the Helena Police Department at the nonemergency number to file a report: (406) 457-8866.

     

    Source:
    www.usa.gov/common-scams-frauds