You’ll find holiday season crime prevention assistance already in place.

It is parked in the parking lot of Market Heights in the form of the manned Harker Heights Police Department command vehicle.

The Heights police command vehicle serves to present a readily available location to report crimes occurring in the immediate vicinity, and to present a highly visible police presence as a deterrent to crime.

Assistance is in the form of numerous police officers visible in and around the shopping venues, not only at Market Heights, but also in the vicinity of retailers throughout the city.

Police are in patrol vehicles and on foot, ever vigilant for the opportunistic criminals who will invariably prey on unsuspecting shoppers.

Crime prevention assistance is in the form of your own abilities. You are the key to preventing your own victimization.

Be continually aware of your surroundings. Do not place yourself in risky locations or situations. Any offer of a deal that seems too good to be true is probably not true but most likely a scam.

It is age-worn advice, but still highly relevant today.

Especially at this time of year, thieves and scammers are out in force to steal your hard-earned assets, using your identity and personal financial information as a tool. These vermin are experts at what they do, but they can be defeated by using average intelligence and a little common sense.

First and foremost, never provide your personal identification numbers or PIN numbers to anyone you do not know or implicitly trust.

Scammers can be very convincing in eliciting these numbers from you.

Just make it a rule to never give these identifiers out, particularly over the telephone.

Know and memorize this: No legitimate governmental agency, utility or television provider or financial institution will ever ask for your personal or financial information, including account and PIN numbers, over the phone.

Anyone seeking the above information telephonically is not legitimate and is most likely a scammer or thief. Immediately hang up without giving any information. Politeness and telephone etiquette are not required.

John Vander WERFF is a 30-year veteran of law enofrcement, with a decade in city and county law enforcement and 20 years with state police.

John Vander Werff is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement and a Copperas Cove resident.​

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