Don’t be a victim of fraud!

Police Sgt. Jason Lamb gave an excellent presentation at our April 2024 annual meeting on crime prevention, focusing in particular on fraud that targets communities like ours. Some notes:

  • Property theft
    • Burglaries, cat burgalries (when you are in the house), car theft. Gated communities don’t protect you!
    • People look for crimes of opportunities.
    • Keep doors and windows locked. Their goal is just to walk in and grab something not harm you.
    • Always lock doors
    • Motion lights – big fan of these.
    • Cameras – they deter crime too, criminals tend to avoid. But if they do, then film goes to detectives
    • Dogs – another tool
    • Social media – don’t post your vacations! 
    • Valet keys – most cars have an extra valet key, people keep the “valet key” in the glove box. Don’t do that! 
    • Be mindful of what you keep that’s visible in your car. Especially at trailheads.
    • Window treatments – close drapes, blinds so people can’t case your home easily from outside
    • Identity Theft
      • Fake credit cards
      • Purchasing (high end) vehicles that get dropped off
      • Wire transfers
      • Steal your money – credit card, bank withdrawal
      • Steal money of others
      • Use your name to scam others
      • Taxes – tax fraud is huge. Billions.
    • How is info obtained
      • Skimming, credit card scanner they put a camera over a credit card machine, then they pick it up later.
      • Gas pumps and banks – they install cameras, to get PIN
      • Phishing – email that looks just like your bank, your utility company etc with a link, you click, you login and then they have your login. And they will keep calling you.
      • Data breaches – all kinds of places have them
      • Never use the blue mailbox at the post office, or anywhere! They use sticky paper and fish mail out of the blue box
      • Someone at Starbucks creates a wifi network names “Starbucks” and then get your info
      • Checks – avoid using checks whenever you can.
    • What to do if your identity is stolen?
      • Stop the bleeding.
      • Freeze credit
      • Credit report –
      • Police report
      • Notifications
      • Notify banks
      • Notify credit bureaus
      • Password change
    • How to Prevent!
      • Passwords – do NOT use the same password across logins anywhere ever!
      • Use well-lit gas stations, ATM’s
      • Mail – have a locking mailbox at home, take mail into Post Office do NOT use blue box
      • Emails and phone calls – don’t respond to them, go to the bank itself and log in or call
      • Police will never call you – even if it looks like its coming from PS Police, or IRS etc. If you have a question, call us.
      • Credit vs Debit – always use your credit option, bypass using your PIN. Bank will give you money back if you used credit option. At ATM, make sure it’s well lit. One you have to swipe to get in. Cover your pin entry always! Because they may have placed a camera. 
      • Be wary of public wifi
      • Lock doors
      • Don’t keep info in vehicles
      • Shred documents
      • Educate yourself
      • Don’t use checks – pay online. If you do use checks, drop them off in the post office.
      • Data scrubber services are available if you want to check them.
    • Scams
      • Craigslist – never use to buy cars, rentals etc
      • Rental scams
      • Romance scams
      • Actors – cops, IRS
      • Prizes, contests
      • Payments in gift cards
      • Extortion
      • Charities – after disaster charities reach out to you, 90% of the time it’s a scam
Civic affairs Safety

Public safety update at our annual meeting

Police Lt. Mike Villegas answered questions on several topics from those who attended our April 2024 annual meeting. Lt. Frank Browning is our area commander, but Villegas was on duty that morning and we appreciate his taking time for us.

  • Homelessness
    • Question: How to respond to people who think the Navigation Center and other services attract more people experiencing homelessness to our city? Villegas: Data does not show that. It has not happened.
    Continuing Relentless Sun initiative. At start we counted 500 homeless. Many were transient through PS. How many were residents of PS? 250. We monitor all of these individuals. Any crime was not tolerated, from taking carts, etc. We cannot enforce not camping if we cannot provide a bed. So Navigation Center is big plus for us. We narrowed 250 to about 150 now. Knowing Navigation Center was opening, as we make sure the city has the resources to get them help or housing, or get them a bed overnight then we can do more enforcement. Right now, we have about 150-155. Fifty have been going back and forth from drop-in Access Center (near the airport) to Navigation Center overnight, so in August when modular studios open they will be eligible, we will have 80+ housing units for longer term and social services.
    • You can help us be extra eyes and ears and report issues to either enforce or help people with resources. Call us!
  • Question: Panhandling
    • At the Sunrise/111 intersection, traffic safety issue. It’s not allowed, but we go and move them and then they go back.
    • Nuisance issue that police do address and try to assess what’s going on with that individual.
  • Question: Resources for mental health for residents – homeless or other.
    • Critical incident team. Telecare facility. Resources for homeless with mental health issues. If crisis, we detain and take them to Desert Regional.
    • Phase 2 of Nav Center, that will add more mental health services.
  • Question: What can we do if we see people who don’t belong in our condo community, in the pool whatever? Call the police. You are our eyes and ears. Call us.

Sign up for emergency notifications

We encourage you to sign up for emergency notifications from the City through Everbridge using this link if you have not already done so.

If you have trouble signing up, we can help you if you bring your smartphone to our Neighborhood Breakfast Social on March 3.



2023 Police Week


Register your security camera

Police Lt. Mike Villegas, speaking at our Annual General Membership Meeting on April 22, suggested anyone in Palm Springs with a residential or business security camera register it with the Police Department. This link will take you to a Public Camera Registry page, from which you can easily partner with Palm Springs police when they are trying to determine whether crimes have been captured on video.

“Participation in this program will help strengthen our investigative abilities and give us an easier way to communicate more effectively with potential witnesses,” the Police Department says.


How to attend the Community Police Academy

The Police Department has invited us to attend its fall Community Police Academy. Its mission is to strengthen community partnerships by offering the opportunity to interact with PSPD professional staff, increase their understanding of police operations and become ambassadors to the community.

The free, interactive course is designed to acquaint adults who live or work in the Greater Palm Springs community who are not sworn police officers with the activities of the Police Department.

The Community Police Academy will run twice annually for 12 sessions in the winter and fall of each year. The classes starting September 20, 2022, will meet on select Tuesday nights from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Along with the classroom sessions, participants will have the opportunity to attend one ride-along session.

Classes fill up quickly and applicants are accepted on a first come, first served basis. For more information, visit:

Civic affairs Safety

Police meeting with residents

UPDATE from PSPD: “We will now move forward with analyzing the data we collected over 5 days, meet with all PSPD staff members and our business community, and identify our next steps as we move forward. We will come back to the community in the near future with a report on what we have found, and what the strategies will be for the mission that has been defined for the Palm Springs Police Department.”

The Palm Springs Police Department announced the dates and locations of community public meetings with residents and businesses to help shape the department’s future. Meetings will be held in each of the five City Council districts and Council members will be present. The sessions will take place in a structured town hall environment where everyone will have equal input. Community input will help to establish PSPD’s mission and chart their path forward. 

The second part of each meeting is to establish crime-fighting priorities by city area. Chief Andrew Mills is emphasizing a community policing approach of going after the underlying conditions that cause crimes instead of being more reactive.

Meeting times:

  • February 15 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm, Victoria Park, 2744 N. Via Miraleste
  • February 16 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm, Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros
  • February 17 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm, Cahuilla Elementary School, 833 E. Mesquite Ave. (OUR DISTRICT 5 MEETING)
  • February 18 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm, Palm Springs High School, 2401 E. Baristo Road
  • February 19 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm, Demuth Park, 4200 E. Mesquite Ave. 

The PSPD crime analyst will provide attendees with crime maps, data on crime trends, and calls for service. If you can’t make the meeting in our Council district, you are encouraged to attend another session on a date that works for you. 


Security Tips

We advised participants in our October 2021 neighborhood-wide yard sale to take these precautions, repeated here for anyone who may be having a yard sale or selling goods online:

  • Lock your home and car while the sale is in progress. Never allow anyone inside for any reason. If someone needs to use a restroom, rather than let them into your house, common sense suggests you direct them to a nearby public facility (Ralph’s)
  • Do not sell alone. There is safety in numbers, so invite your friends and family to help.
  • Do not keep too much cash with you. As money comes in, designate someone to take it inside. If you have a fanny pack or bank bag, you might want to keep your money in there.
  • If a buyer asks you to break a large bill, offer to hold the item while they leave to get change.
  • Keep jewelry or high-priced items close by to keep an eye on your most valuable items.
  • Sell your items in your driveway or yard, not in an enclosed garage. Doing so blocks visibility and can be dangerous for sellers.
  • Call police if someone is acting suspiciously, so have a phone handy.

4 tips to avoid a burglary

After a home was burglarized in Canyon Palms on Dec. 17, we asked our neighborhood police liaison officer, Lt. Gustavo M. Araiza, for information we could share. He offered general advice that may help everyone avoid falling prey to a burglary:  

  • Adopt an “evening routine” and conduct a perimeter check of your residence; check for unlocked doors and windows, especially garage doors.
  • Consider adding a sensor to your garage door to alert you if you accidentally leave it open.
  • Consider a home security system for your residence, and be sure to arm it every time you are away.
  • Also arm your home security system when you are home using the “Stay” feature, especially at night, so you can be alerted should someone gain entry. Immediately call 9-1-1.

You can reach at (760) 323-8119, but non-emergency issues should instead be reported by calling the police non-emergency telephone number (760) 327-1441, or visiting the City of Palm Springs ( web application. There you can click Connect and the appropriate link under Submit/Report.