Tuesday, November 21, 2006

CRIME WATCH: Special Notice from University Area Commission

This alert was passed on by the Univeristy Area Commission:

Criminals Falsely Identifying Themselves as Water Department Employees!

Hotline Available To Help You Protect Your Property

Columbus Police and the Department of Public Utilities report several recent cases in which two men falsely identified themselves as "City Water Department" employees and were able to enter homes and rob the homeowners. No one was injured in the incidents.

The Department of Public Utilities urges residents to call a 24-hour hotline if they have suspicions about persons who present themselves as City Water Department employees who need to enter their home.

The men present themselves as Water Department employees and tell the resident they are there to check their water pressure, check or repair a water meter or perform other service. Residents can use some basic safety practices to protect themselves and their property.

  • All Department of Public Utilities and Division of Power and Water employees wear clearly marked uniforms with the Department's name and the employee's name on the shirt or coat. Employees, as policy, also wear City picture identification badges.

  • Do not let strangers in your home. Call the Division of Power and Water at 645-7788 immediately if you have suspicions about someone at your door identifying themselves as a Water Department employee. The hotline is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The Department can confirm whether any employee is scheduled to be at your home.

  • Contact the Columbus police immediately if you suspect someone who is falsely presenting themselves as a City employee.

  • All Department of Public Utilities and Division of Power and Water employees drive clearly marked vehicles that carry the blue City of Columbus seal and City of Columbus on the vehicle.

"Public Utilities employees are always very sensitive to security issues and will gladly show you their identification if you ask, and are willing to wait for residents to call us if they are uncertain," Public Utilities Director Cheryl Roberto said. "Call us immediately if you doubt whether the person at your door is a department employee. We can confirm whether they are schedule to be at your home," said Roberto.

For more information about the University Area Commission, please see their website at www.universityareacommission.org