Safety Tips

911 Information

911 is For Life-Threatening Emergencies Only

When to use 911 versus 7-digit telephone lines:

Call 911 when there is a life or death emergency that requires the immediate response of emergency service such as police, fire or emergency medical services.

All 911 calls are received by emergency 911 operators who are trained to screen calls quickly and efficiently. When there is a situation that requires police response but is not an emergency, use one of the following non-emergency 7-digit telephone numbers found in our contacts section or dial the police dispatch center at (201) 865-1111.

How to call 911

  1. Dial 911 (on a pay phone it is not necessary to deposit money).
  2. Tell the 911 operator what you need; ambulance, fire truck, or the police.
  3. Be calm. When a caller is upset, it is hard to understand what he or she is saying or to get vital information quickly.
  4. Stay on the phone. Do not hang up!
  5. Give your name and address or your location. If your address is different from the location of the crime, be sure to let the operator know.
  6. If possible, give the operator suspect description, weapons, if any, and vehicle description and license.

**It is a misdemeanor under New Jersey Law for any person to willfully use the 911 system for any purpose OTHER than reporting an emergency. It is a felony crime if someone is injured or dies as a result of an emergency service response to a false call.

Crime Stoppers

The Union City Police Department has received many tips and leads that have ultimately resulted in the apprehension, prosecution and eventual incarceration of criminals that may have otherwise still been roaming the streets. Tips and leads have been an invaluable crime fighting tool for the Union City Police Department and we applaud every citizen who has come forward both publicly and anonymously to aid in our fight against crime.

If you have any information regarding a current unsolved crime or cold case file, please contact the Union City Police Department Detective Bureau at (201) 348-5800. All calls will remain anonymous if so requested.

If a crime is in progress, call the Union City Police dispatch center at (201) 865-1111 or dial 9-1-1!

If wish to report suspicious or possible criminal activity that has occurred in the past, you may contact the Union City Police Department Detective Bureau at (201) 348-5800.

One of the most most common threats to your home or residence is burglary. According to the FBI statistics, a house is burglarized every 15.4 seconds. Although burglary is a property crime, becoming a victim of burglary can leave you and your family feeling vulnerable and violated. To avoid becoming a victim of burglary, it is important to first gain an understanding how the common burglar thinks.

The majority of home and apartment burglaries occur during the daytime when most people are away at work or school. The summer months of July and August have the most burglaries. Burglaries are committed most often by young males looking for items that are small, expensive, and can easily be converted to cash. Some of their favorite items are cash, jewelry, guns, watches, notebook computers, DVD, CD & MP3 players, video game consoles, and other small electronic devices. Statistics tell us that most burglars use force to enter a dwelling, but they preference easy access through an open door or window. Ordinary household tools like screwdrivers, pliers, pry bars, and hammers are most often used by burglars.

Although home burglaries may seem random in occurrence, they actually involve a selection process. Burglar’s tend to choose homes that are unoccupied and those that have the easiest access, the greatest amount of cover, and the best escape routes. What follows is a list of suggestions to minimize your risk by making your home unattractive to potential burglars.

  • Light the outside of your home to make it more visible to your neighbors. Outside motion detector lights can make very difficult for an intruder to approach your residence without being seen.
  • Trim bushes near doors and windows to reduce hiding places for burglars.
  • Make sure that all outside doors are solid core or metal and install high quality dead-bolt locks. Make sure you can unlock all doors from the inside without a key to allow a quick escape from a fire.
  • Install peepholes in all outside doors.
  • Borrow or purchase an engraver to mark stereo equipment, computers, cameras, lawnmowers and other valuables. Engraving makes stolen property more difficult sell and can also lead to the apprehension of the criminals who initially stole it.
  • Don’t keep expensive jewelry, valuable collectibles, or large amounts of cash in your home. If you do, ensure that they are stored away in a hidden safe or other secure area.
  • Keep a list of your valuables and their serial numbers. A videotape, photograph, or sales receipts will not only help with insurance claims, but will aid in the prosecution of individuals who are apprehended with these items in their possession.
  • Install locks on windows. Windows are a favorite access point for burglars. All sliding doors should have “ventilation locks”. Screens and storms should be latched on the inside. Include locks on garage and basement windows.
  • Don’t advertise your absence. Never leave a message on your answering machine that says you are away for a few days or on vacation. Before you leave, set timers so that lights, TVs, and radios go on and off. Have someone pick up the mail, pick up newspapers, set out trash, mow the lawn or shovel snow if you are away. If your home is going to be vacant for an extended period of time, you may also contact the Union City Police Department to give notice of your absence.
  • Close your garage door. An empty garage says you’re not at home. Thieves can easily steal bikes, lawnmowers, snow blowers and other valuables. Burglars can close the garage door and take their time to steal valuables and burglarize your home.
  • If possible, install a garage door opener with a light. A remote opener and a lighted garage will help you enter and leave your home safely. Test the door to make sure it reverses easily when it hits something.
  • Even if your vehicle is parked in your garage, lock it and keep your valuables out of sight. Don’t store the title for your car in the glove compartment. You will need it to prove ownership if the car is stolen.
  • If your residence is equipped with a burglar alarm or other electronic monitoring device, make sure that it is operating properly. An alarm system that doesn’t work will not protect your home. In addition, repeat false alarms will diminish the alarm’s effectiveness by causing your neighbors to believe that “it is just another false alarm.”

For an emergency, call 9-1-1

  • Act confident. Look and be alert about the people around you. Be aware of your surroundings. You will be safest in bright, well lit and busy areas.
  • If you are lost, try to convey the appearance that you know where you are and where you are going. Try to walk straight and always look ahead.
  • Cross the street or change direction if you think you are being followed.
  • Be careful when people ask you for directions. Reply from a distance rather than getting too close to a car.
  • Travel with a friend whenever possible to reduce the chances of being attacked. This includes going to public restrooms.
  • Wear clothes and shoes that give freedom of movement.
  • Consider carrying pepper spray for personal protection. Know how to use it and have it readily available when out in public.
  • Notice cars that pull up beside you or pass you more than once.

  • Keep one hand free when walking. You may need it to defend yourself or fend somebody off.
  • Carry change for bus fare or a telephone call.
  • Do not hesitate to get attention however you can if you are in trouble. Do not be afraid to make a scene. Shout ‘fire’ rather than ‘help’ It may draw more attention.
  • If you travel a regular route at night, become familiar with stores that stay open, gas stations, and other places where there will be people.
  • If you use a wheelchair, try to check your destinations ahead of time for accessible entrances. Also, keep your valuables beside you rather than at the back of the chair.
  • Use machines that are inside buildings or in well-lighted areas. If you must use an ATM at night take another person with you. If you feel threatened while using the ATM, push the cancel button to cancel your transaction. Just walk away and complete your transaction later.
  • Try to distribute your valuables throughout your person. For example, keep your phone in your bag, your house keys in your trouser pocket and your money in your jacket.
  • If someone tries to take something from you, it may be better to let them take it from you rather than to get into a confrontation and risk injury.
  • You can use reasonable force in defense of yourself. You are allowed to protect yourself with something you are carrying anyway (for example, keys or a can of deodorant), but you may not carry a weapon.
  • If you decide to defend yourself, be aware that your attacker might be stronger than you, or may take what you are using to defend yourself and use it against you. It is often better just to shout loudly and run away!
  • Try not to be conspicuous about the valuables you are carrying. Talking on your mobile phone, carrying a laptop, or showing your friend your new gold ring all show criminals that you are worth robbing.
  • When out walking or jogging, you should try to avoid listening to a personal stereo through headphones. If you must listen to music, try and keep volumes at a level where you are still able to listen to your surrounding.
Being prepared is your best defense against any type of crises whether natural or manmade. Knowing how to respond and recover from an emergency may not only save your life but it can save the life of a loved one.

Preparedness Manuals

The following preparedness manuals have been provided to us by the New Jersey Department of Homeland Security. There are both English and Spanish documents for your convenience. These manuals require Adobe’s Acrobat Reader. If you do not have this document reader installed on your computer you may download it here.

English: A Citizen’s Guide to Disaster Preparedness

Español: ¿Está listo? Una Guía Completa Para la Preparación Ciudadana

For more information visit: New Jersey Department of Homeland Security

playgroundTips to Protect Your Children

It is important to talk to your children about crime and safety at an early age. Although children may be more susceptible to deception than an adult, proper training on your part will reinforcement their ability to become safe little citizens.

  • Never leave small children alone in a public place. If you cannot take your children to school, have them walk to school with an older brother, sister or friend. Don’t allow young children to roam the neighborhood, trick or treat, or sell things door-to-door without an adult.
  • Tell your children to never to answer the door if they are alone and never let anyone in the house without your permission.
  • Teach children telephone safety. Children who are alone should tell callers that their parents are unable to come to the telephone. Warn them not to give their name or address to any unknown caller.
  • Warn your children not to talk to strangers. Remind them never to enter a car or home of a stranger.
  • Make sure your child knows to scream and run if approached by anyone threatening. Your child should be taught to ALWAYS tell you if he or she is approached by a stranger who asks for help, offers candy/gifts, or frightens him/her in anyway. Your child should know to make you aware of anytime he or she feels uncomfortable with ANYONE.
  • Teach children how to use 911 or another emergency telephone number. Leave an emergency contact number so that babysitters can reach someone in an emergency.
  • Teach children their home telephone number and address. Show them how to call home from a pay phone even without money. Teach them to do this at an early age. They should also know an alternate telephone number such as your cell phone, work number, or relative’s number.
  • Don’t let your child wear clothing with his or her name on it. A child will tend to pay attention to anyone calling him or her by name.
  • Videotape and take photos of your child two or three times per year, including profile shots. Keep a growth chart of your child; know his or her height. Keep a written record of all birthmarks, scars and identifying features, like moles or freckles. This will help identify your child in the event they become missing.
  • Do not leave a child unattended while shopping, visiting with neighbors or friends, or running errands. Under no circumstances should you leave a child alone in a car or truck.
  • Make sure your child always checks with you before going anywhere with anyone.
  • Have your child complete a National Child ID kit. These kits are regularly distributed by the Union City Police Department during various community functions. Contact the Department for more information on our next event.

Sex Offender Registry

Megan’s Law is named after a 7-year-old Hamilton Township, New Jersey girl named Megan Nicole Kanka. On July 29, 1994, she was lured into her neighbor’s home with the promise of a puppy and was brutally raped and murdered by a two-time convicted sex offender who had been previously convicted in a 1981 attack on a 5-year-old child and an attempted sexual assault on a 7-year-old.

Eighty-nine days after Megan Kanka’s disappearance, New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman signed the first state-level version of what we know as Megan’s Law. The passage of Megan’s Law in New Jersey eventually lead to the May 1996 passage of a federal law which is also known as Megan’s Law. New Jersey’s Megan’s Law has specific mandates for active community notification which ensures that the community will be made aware of the presence of convicted sex offenders posing a risk to public safety. Under New Jersey’s law, if a convicted sex offender is determined to pose a moderate risk of re-offending then schools and community groups likely to encounter that offender will be notified. If an offender is determined to pose a high risk of re-offending, then schools, community groups and members of the public, such as neighbors likely to encounter the offender, will be notified. New Jersey’s state Megan’s Law has specific requirements for active community notification.

New Jersey law authorizes the Division of State Police to make available to the public over the Internet information about certain sex offenders required to register under Megan’s Law. The sex offender Internet registry law can be found in the New Jersey Code at 2C:7-12 to -19.

For more information, visit the the New Jersey Sex Offender Internet Registry

Identity theft is America’s fastest-growing crime. In 2004, almost 10 million people were victims of identity theft. The total cost to consumers and businesses was nearly $5 billion although these figures are probably higher.

Identity theft is a serious crime. It occurs when someone uses your personal information without your permission to commit fraud or any other crime. Only one bit of personal information is all somebody needs to steal your identity. Although it is almost impossible to completely avoid being victim, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk:

  • Place passwords on your credit card, bank, and phone accounts. Try not to use information like your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security number.
  • Secure personal information in your home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done in your home.
  • Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you initiated the contact or you are absolutely certain that you know who you are dealing with. Identity thieves are clever, and will present themselves as bank representatives to get people to reveal their Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, account numbers, and other identifying information. Before you share any personal information, confirm that you are dealing with a legitimate organization.
  • Treat your mail and trash carefully. To thwart an identity thief who may pick through your trash or recycling bins to capture your personal information, destroy your charge receipts, checks and bank statements, credit applications, insurance forms, doctor statements, expired charge cards, and anything else that can provide personal information. To opt out of receiving offers of credit in the mail
  • Deposit your outgoing mail in post office collection boxes or at your local post office, rather than in an unsecured mailbox. Promptly remove mail from your mailbox. If you’re planning to be away from home and can’t pick up your mail, contact the U.S. Postal Service to request a vacation hold or have somebody you trust collect it.
  • Don’t carry your Social Security number card. Carry only the identification information and the credit/debit cards that you’ll actually need when you go out.
  • Give your Social Security number only when absolutely necessary, and ask to use other types of identifiers.
  • Be cautious when responding to promotions. Identity thieves may create phony promotional offers to get you to give them your personal information.
  • Order a copy of your credit report. An amendment to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the major nationwide consumer reporting companies to provide you with a free copy of your credit reports, at your request, once every 12 months. Under New Jersey State law, consumers have free access to their credit reports. Use any of the three credit reporting companies listed below.

If you think your identity has been stolen, here’s what to do:

1. Contact the fraud departments of any one of the three consumer reporting companies to place a fraud alert on your credit report:

The fraud alert tells creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts or making any changes to your existing accounts. You only need to contact one of the three companies to place an alert. The company you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report, too. Once you place the fraud alert in your file, you’re entitled to order free copies of your credit reports.

2. Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.

3. File a report with the Union City Police or the police department in the community where the identity theft took place. Get a copy of the report or at the very least, the number of the report, to submit to your creditors and others that may require proof of the crime.

4. File your complaint with the FTC. The FTC maintains a database of identity theft cases used by law enforcement agencies for investigations. Filing a complaint also helps us learn more about identity theft and the problems victims are having so that we can better assist you.

For more information on preventing or recovering from identity theft, visit the Federal Trade Commission or the United States Postal Service web site.

“Bunco Artists” are criminals that often prey on senior citizens because these citizens are trusting, living alone, or have large sums of money available to them. The term Bunko comes from the Spanish word “Banco”, which means bank. Banking scams are just one of many used by these types of individuals. Other scams include, but are not limited to home invasions, burglaries, robberies, thefts, confidence games, door-to-door, solicitors, home companion scams, telemarketing fraud, fraudulent charity scams, home repair frauds, pyramid schemes, health care frauds, identity thefts, staged auto collision and insurance frauds, lottery scams, real estate fraud, and power of attorney abuse.

Many crimes against senior citizens are committed by well organized, transient criminals who evade identification and arrest by operating in various cities and towns under many different aliases. They often leave town before a crime has been discovered or reported.

Criminal organizations that prey on Senior Citizens are usually not physically violent in nature. Unfortunately, there have been cases where physical force has been used to achieve their goals.

When suspects are apprehended, many victims agree to receiving restitution for their loss and the probation of the offender in order to avoid the stress and inconvenience of a criminal trial. In doing so, these criminals have the freedom to travel to other areas to continue their criminal activity.

The Union City Police Department has been very active in the investigation and prosecution of “Bunco Artists” and other such predators. The well being of our citizens is our utmost concern and we do not take these types of offenses lightly. We are working in conjunction with law enforcement agencies such as the N.Y.P.D. and Philadelphia Police Department in an effort to track, apprehend, and prosecute these individuals to the fullest extent of the law.


One or two subjects make contact with a homeowner by ringing the doorbell or knocking on the door. They attempt to distract the homeowner and direct them toward the kitchen with deceptions such as:

  • Faking an illness
  • Posing as a utility worker or city inspector
  • Pretending to have a package to deliver
  • Asking for paper or pen to leave a note for a neighbor
  • Asking if the house is for sale
  • Looking for a lost dog or cat

Once the homeowner is distracted, several unseen accomplices will enter the household and explore the house in search of jewelry or currency. Sometimes suspects may hold up a sheet or blanket to mask the entrance and hide accomplices. There is usually very little sign of ransacking since the actors go through the homeowner’s items very carefully taking only certain valuables and putting everything else back in its place. After the suspects leave, the homeowner may not even realize that anything has been taken.

This is only one example of a typical “Bunco” scam. The Union City Police Department urges all citizens who have been victimized by these types of scams to report it as soon as possible. These criminals rely on the fact that victims do not always report these crimes because they are sometimes ashamed to admit they were conned. DON’T BE! Many people fall victim to these types of crimes. Without your help, many of these con artists get away with their crime and have another chance to defraud other people.

Quick Tips Checklist

  • Use caution when dealing with strangers – even those who wear authentic looking uniforms and may have a reason for entering the house.
  • Be suspicious of strangers offering to share found money or lottery winnings with you.
  • Request and verify identification before letting somebody in your house.
  • Check a company’s reputation with the Better Business Bureau, Department of Consumer Affairs, office before conducting business with them.
  • Request a written estimate for repair work. Also, get estimates from other companies before making any type of commitment.
  • Do not invest hastily. Do not rush into a bargain. If it appears too good to be true, it usually is.
  • Ask that you wish to discuss a contract with a lawyer before signing any documents
  • When in doubt, call the police!
  • If the suspects leave before the police arrive, try to obtain a description of the person or vehicle involved. A license plate number helps the investigation a great deal.

“Bunco” scam artists are persuasive and persistent. They are very well trained in what they do and have managed to take away some people’s entire life savings. The best way to avoid becoming a victim is to remain cautious and become educated on how these types of groups operate.

If you believe that you have been a victim of a Bunco type scam, please call the Union City Police department Detective Bureau at (201) 348-5800.