About Osseo

Crime Prevention

Crime Prevention

Reporting Crime in Osseo


In the last few years we have seen a minor rise in crime, especially related to narcotics and property crimes, and we have seen the negative effects it has on the streets, neighborhoods and city as a whole. And while we here at the police department do our absolute best to combat this, we unfortunately cannot be everywhere at once. Even in a one square mile city.

So we are asking for your help by remembering one simple phrase, “When in Doubt. Call it out.” So, what does this phrase mean? Well simply put, if something looks out of place, odd, or just makes the hair on the back of your neck stand on end, we encourage you to call 911 and report it. This could be something as simple as calling in a suspicious vehicle at your neighbor’s house, when you know they are out of town. Or reporting a salesman who came to your door trying to sell you something, but won’t show you any credentials. These and other events like them are things we want to know about as it helps us notice crime trends going on in the city. It can also help us identify criminals that may be active in the city or our neighboring cities.

So remember, “When in doubt. Call it out.”

Crime Prevention


Home Security

Making your home safe doesn’t mean having to buy spendy security systems or the new locks that connect to your smart phone that allow you to lock your front door while on vacation in Fiji. Below are some simple steps to ensuring your home is protected from criminals.

Secure your residence.

This means closing and locking ALL doors, windows, gates, etc. when not in use. It is important these preventative steps are taken, especially during vulnerable times such as when you are away from your residence or sleeping. Make it a habit! 

Treat inside garage doors the same as an outside door.

 Even though it is inside your home it must be able to withstand a full out assault. Often the doors that access the house from the garage are hollow-core and have cheap locks (if they are locked at all) which is why break-ins through garages are common. 

Be sure to have heavy drapes or good blinds, especially on rooms where there is expensive equipment. Thin, sheer drapes, although attractive, also allow burglars to look inside. 

Use a dowel in the tracks of your windows and sliding doors.

The dowel should be within an inch of the track’s length (long enough to keep the criminal from slipping his fingers in). This is generally the best way to restrict your glass doors and windows from being slid open. 

NOTE: If you use a dowel be sure you are able to remove it easily when it is in the track by tying a string around it which will allow you to pull it out when necessary. You never want to be trapped in your home. 

Install motion detector lights in areas where no one should be.

This way you know something isn’t right when they go off. Light is also a criminals worst enemy. Dark allows them to be stealthy and move about. Light restricts their movements and allows them to be seen by others.

Properly document your valuable items and their associated serial numbers.

For items without serial numbers engrave your own serial number. This can be your driver’s license or any number sequence you like). If you are a victim of property theft, providing the police with documented serial numbers can greatly assist in the recovery of any stolen property that is later found. 

Report all suspicious and criminal activity as soon as you see it!

Timely reporting of criminal activity gives the police department the best chance to respond, make contact, and investigate a situation. 

Take the time to inspect your home from an outsider’s perspective. Walk around your property and ask yourself: How would I break-in? Examine your house from the street, find the “blind spots,” search for vulnerable areas. Stand outside the windows and doors and look in, make sure no valuables (like expensive electronics, laptops, wallets/purses) are visible. If you can easily see your belongings, so can the criminals. Again, property crime is not completely preventable, but the above-mentioned measures can greatly help to reduce your chance of future victimization.


Phishing Scams

We have all seen the emails come through our inboxes, detailing that some prince of a country you have never heard of, wants to give you 10 gazillion dollars, just because. The only thing you need to do is send him $2000.00 cash and “Ta Da”, you are rich! These were the phishing scams of the past and as with all trades, these con-men have upgraded to new and improved methods of gaining your trust.

So what is “Phishing?” It is a method of getting your personal or financial information electronically, through means of deception. Once your information is obtained, the criminals use it to create new user credentials or install malware or trojan viruses into your computer/system to steal sensitive data. Once this is done, it can take you months or years to fix the damages done.

But there is a way to combat this simply by slowing down and knowing how legitimate companies and organizations contact you regarding your sensitive information using these tips:

1. Legitimate companies don’t request your sensitive information via email.

Chances are if you receive an unsolicited email from an institution that provides a link or attachment and asks you to provide sensitive information, it’s a scam. Most companies will not send you an email asking for passwords, credit card information, credit scores, or tax numbers, nor will they send you a link from which you need to login.

2. Legitimate companies usually call you by your name.

Phishing emails typically use generic salutations such as “Dear valued member,” “Dear account holder,” or “Dear customer.” If a company you deal with required information about your account, the email would call you by name and probably direct you to contact them via phone. BUT, some hackers simply avoid the salutation altogether. This is especially common with advertisements. 

3. Legitimate companies have domain emails

Don’t just check the name of the person sending you the email. Check their email address by hovering your mouse over the ‘from’ address. Make sure no alterations (like additional numbers or letters) have been made. Check out the difference between these two email addresses as an example of altered emails: michelle@paypal.com michelle@paypal23.com Just remember, this isn’t a foolproof method. Sometimes companies make use of unique or varied domains to send emails, and some smaller companies use third party email providers.

4. Legitimate companies know how to spell

Possibly the easiest way to recognize a scammy email is bad grammar. An email from a legitimate organization should be well written. Little known fact – there’s actually a purpose behind bad syntax. Hackers generally aren’t stupid. They prey on the uneducated, believing them to be less observant and thus, easier targets.

5. Legitimate companies don’t force you to their website

Sometimes phishing emails are coded entirely as a hyperlink. Therefore, clicking accidentally or deliberately anywhere in the email will open a fake web page, or download spam onto your computer.

6. Legitimate companies don’t send unsolicited attachments

Unsolicited emails that contain attachments reek of hackers. Typically, authentic institutions don’t randomly send you emails with attachments, but instead direct you to download documents or files on their own website. Like the tips above, this method isn’t foolproof. Sometimes companies that already have your email will send you information, such as a white paper, that may require a download. In that case, be on the lookout for high-risk attachment file types include .exe, .scr, and .zip. (When in doubt, contact the company directly using contact information obtained from their actual website.)

7. Legitimate company links match legitimate URLs

Just because a link says it’s going to send you to one place, doesn’t mean it’s going to. Double check URLs. If the link in the text isn't identical to the URL displayed as the cursor hovers over the link, that's a sure sign you will be taken to a site you don’t want to visit. If a hyperlink’s URL doesn’t seem correct, or doesn’t match the context of the email, don’t trust it. Ensure additional security by hovering your mouse over embedded links (without clicking!) and ensure the link begins with https://.

But the biggest thing to take away from this is if something doesn’t feel right, look right or just doesn’t make sense, don’t trust it. This way you and your information remain safely with you and not with some hacker on the other side of the world.

If you have any questions regarding the above information or would like information on other scams, please contact Off. Anthony Mortinson at tmortinson@ci.osseo.mn.us

(The above tips were obtained from www.securitymetrics.com. Blog published by David Ellis, VP, Investigations CISSP, QSA, PFI)

Crime Prevention Officer

Officer Anthony Mortinson, Badge #6612
Work: (763) 424-5444
Fax: (763) 424-4616
Cell: (763) 269-2470