Q: I recently read an article in the paper about people passing counterfeit bills. Is this a common occurrence? Is this something I should look out for?

A: Recently, areas in Los Angeles County have been targeted by an individual passing counterfeit $100 bills at local retail establishments.

In all of the incidents the suspect enters the business and selects small dollar items for purchase. He then engages the clerk in conversation while handing them a $100 bill to pay for the items. Distracting the clerk with conversation, prevents the attendants from examining the bills, which if done would reveal that they have been washed and reprinted as $100 bills.

This technique in which counterfeiters take genuine $5 bills and wash them to reprint them as $100 bills, is commonly done because of its ability to pass widely used counterfeit pen detection techniques. By using a genuine bill to reprint on, the counterfeit will not be detected by pen devices because of their ability to detect counterfeit paper only.

The Santa Monica Police Department would like to remind businesses to be on the lookout for counterfeit bills by combining ultraviolet detection techniques and education in the recognition of counterfeit currency for their employees. Business owners can receive free training for their employees on how to detect and what to do when faced with counterfeit currency by contacting the Crime Prevention/Community Relations Unit at (310) 458-8474 or by calling your NRO. You can find out which NRO works your area by visiting the SMPD’s website at www.santamonicapd.org/nro.

To make an incident report, call the SMDP at (310)458-8491 (24 hours.) You can also provide information anonymously through “Crime Stoppers” by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.

Q: Several months ago, I read a column that contained traffic safety tips for pedestrians. Just the other day I read about a horrible hit-and-run. Would it be possible to share some tips again so I can pass them on to my kids?

A: Walking is a part of our daily lives, but we often take for granted the basic rules of the road we learned when we were much younger. Here is a refresher on pedestrian safety that can keep you and your loved ones safe. Share this with your friends, co-workers, family and especially your children.

Crossing roads

• Always cross at intersections and never from mid-block or from in between two parked cars. Drivers can’t see you and definitely are not expecting you.

• Stop, look and listen before crossing, looking right and left over your shoulder for both cars and bicycles.

• Use the pedestrian push button at signal-controlled intersections, and cross only on a green light or when the “WALK” sign is activated. The walk sign may change, but the light is timed to give you enough time to continue safely before opposing traffic approaches.

• Keep moving once you have started across the street and never stop in the middle of a crosswalk. If the flashing “DON’T WALK” or yellow caution light appears, continue walking as rapidly as possible to the other side.

Awareness

• Be a defensive walker and watch where you are going. Always expect the unexpected!

• Make eye contact with drivers and don’t step out into the street until cars have yielded to you.

• Don’t try to assert your right of way with a fast-moving vehicle. Make sure you allow vehicles enough time to stop before moving in front of them.

• Be alert and aware of traffic, even in painted crosswalks. Remember, painted crosswalks cannot stop a moving vehicle.

Visibility

• Make yourself visible to drivers and be predictable by always crossing roads in a straight line.

• Use extra care when crossing with children as drivers may not be able to see a little one. Be sure to hold their hand while crossing.

• Cross with a group of other pedestrians whenever possible. A large number of people walking together are more visible to motorists than a single pedestrian.

• If you must go out at night or in bad weather, wear or carry something white or reflective, or use a flashlight so drivers can see you easily.

If you would like more information on pedestrian safety, please visit the SMPD’s website or use this link for a public safety announcement: http://santamonicapd.org/Content.aspx?id=2539.

As with any safety measures or advice, please feel free to contact your neighborhood resource officer directly for more information. Your NROs are well versed in public safety and are more than willing to provide presentations to workplaces, block groups or community organizations, business professional groups, and especially school classroom settings.

This column was prepared by NRO Roberto Lucio (Beat 6: Montana Avenue to Interstate 10, Centinela Avenue to 20th Street). He can be reached at (424) 200-0686 or roberto.lucio@smgov.net.

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