How can I report a hate crime?
Hate crimes are very serious and traumatic incidents. It is important for citizens to remember that when these crimes are occurring, they should be reported to the police immediately by telephoning 911. When a citizen finds that he or she has been a victim of a hate crime, and it is not an immediate life-threatening emergency, he or she should phone their local community police station and report the crime. Once the hate crime is reported to a local community police station, a police officer will be able to provide information on private or governmental agencies that can provide support for victims.
How can I obtain a restraining order?
You can request a Restraining Order against a person who hurt or threatened you, or other family members, by appearing at the Superior Court located nearest to you. A Restraining Order may be requested whether or not an arrest has been made or the police have been called. A Domestic Violence Restraining Order is always free. In many courts, free legal assistance is available or you can represent yourself.
How to obtain a restraining order:
- Request a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) at the Superior Court.
NOTE: Emergency Protection Orders are available through the Police Department on a 24-hour basis, and are valid for only 5 court days.
- Your TRO should be granted the same or next day.
- Serve the defendant with a copy of the TRO. (Anyone over 18 years of age, except you, can hand the Order to the defendant.)
- Deliver a copy of the TRO, Proof of Service, and Law Enforcement Information form to your local police station. Retain the originals of all documents.
- You must return to court in approximately three weeks to obtain an order that is valid for three years. This order must also be served to the defendant and copies delivered to the police station.
You can be ordered to see a mediator to try to work out visitation of any minor children involved. The law gives you the right to see the mediator alone, in a separate meeting. After any agreement with the mediator regarding visitation, be sure to return to court to obtain the three-year restraining order which protects you!
What can I do about annoying or threatening phone calls?
If you become a victim of annoying phone calls, you should report them to the police department. Your phone company may be able to assist in tracking the origin of the calls if they have a police report number.
If you become a victim of threatening phone calls, report them to your local police department immediately. Law enforcement takes threatening calls seriously, and so should you, especially if you are in a battering relationship or have been the victim of domestic violence.
How can I report child abuse?
Call your local police department or social services department. In the Los Angeles area, the phone number is 800-540-4000. Click here for information on the LAPD's Child Protection Section.
How can I report elder abuse?
The serious nature of the problem of elder and dependent adult abuse, coupled with the increasing numbers of reports of such abuse, has made it vital that the Los Angeles County Community and Senior Services and law enforcement work closely together to provide a meaningful response to abuse reports.
"Elder physical abuse" is defined as a situation where any person who has the care or custody of, or who stands in a position of trust with an elder, willfully inflicts upon that elder any cruel or inhuman corporal punishment or injury. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, direct beatings, sexual assault, unreasonable physical constraint, or prolonged deprivation of food or water.
Reporting Elder Abuse
Any elder or dependent adult care custodian, health practitioner, or employee of a county adult protective services agency or a local law enforcement agency is a mandated reporter. Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 15630.
Any person who is not a mandated reporter under WIC Section 15630, who knows, or reasonably suspects, that an elder or a dependent adult has been the victim of abuse, may report that abuse to a long-term care ombudsman program or local law enforcement agency when the abuse is alleged to have occurred in a long-term care facility. Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15631(A).
Any person who is not a mandated reporter under WIC Section 15630, who knows, or reasonably suspects, that an elder or a dependent adult has been the victim of abuse in any place other than a long-term care facility may report the abuse to the county Adult Protective Services (APS) agency or local law enforcement agency. Welfare and Institution Code Section 15631(B).
Abuse of an Elder Adult
Every person who, under circumstances and conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully and unlawfully inflicts on an elder adult of 65 years of age or older, with knowledge that said person was an elder adult of 65 years of age or older, unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, is guilty of a violation of Section 368(a) of the Penal Code (PC), a felony.
"Great bodily harm" refers to significant or substantial bodily injury or damage; it does not refer to trivial or insignificant injury or moderate harm. Actual bodily harm is not a necessary element of the crime. If such bodily harm is inflicted, its nature and extent are to be considered in connection with all the evidence in determining whether the means used and the manner in which it was used were such that they were likely to produce great bodily harm.
Fiduciary or financial abuse, one of the most frequently reported forms of elder abuse, is the exploitation of someone’s funds or other resources. Such abuse can range from the misuse of funds to the transfer or sale of personal or real property.
In 1987, the Los Angeles Police Department established the Elder Person’s Estate Unit (EPEU) within the Department’s Commercial Crimes Division. The unit has investigated hundreds of cases involving the theft or embezzlement of dependent elders’ assets, recovering over $50 million worth of stolen property.
Investigating and prosecuting financial abuse of the elderly has posed a unique set of problems for police and prosecutors, one being that the offenses often appear to be civil matters (lacking evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the intent to cheat was there), offenses for which the offender may be sued but not prosecuted. Perpetrators often have legal access to the victim’s assets. Victims generally are in poor health with diminished mental capacity, making them vulnerable to caregivers or strangers who befriend and persuade them to turn over control of their assets. Suspects’ names are often listed on powers of attorney, quit claim deeds, wills, living trusts, and bank accounts. The suspects then may withdraw savings or obtain loans on property, sometimes making it subject to foreclosure.
These swindles traditionally have remained hidden and silent crimes because in many instances the victims are unable to recognize that financial abuse has occurred, much less testify about it in a court of law.
Under a 1986 California law (368[C] PC), these offenses are considered prosecutable crimes. Victim’s rights were strengthened under another California law, the Elder Abuse Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act, which was passed in 1992. The provisions of this law allow victims to sue perpetrators and collect damages. Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15600.
The success of the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) EPEU can be attributed to its participation in the county’s Fiduciary Abuse Specialist Team (FAST). FAST is composed of staff from Adult Protective Services (APS), the Office of the Public Guardian (PG), and the WISE Senior Services Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, along with 19 consultants from law enforcement, including staff from the District Attorney’s Office, a neuropsychologist, the head of psychiatric training at UCLA, a probate commissioner, mental health professionals, social workers, bankers, real estate brokers, and attorneys.
The multi-disciplinary composition of FAST assures that the sometimes complex cases it handles receive the benefit of different insights. For example, in scams where a contractor sells unnecessary housing repairs to an elderly person who can’t afford them and recommends a lender with whom he has a "sweetheart deal," FAST seeks the counsel of specialists in construction and foreclosure law. In a case where a younger person marries an elderly incompetent older person for their money, FAST looks for guidance to the Probate Commissioner, a psychiatrist, a physician, and an attorney.
Who to Turn to for Help for Elder Abuse
Your Local Law Enforcement Agency: If anyone is inflicting physical or sexual abuse on any person RIGHT NOW, please call your local police department, sheriff’s station, or law enforcement agency. In Los Angeles County, call 911. If you suspect any form of elder abuse has occurred, but is not currently in progress, contact your local law enforcement agency or any of the appropriate programs listed below by using non-emergency telephone numbers.
Adult Protective Services Program: Adult Protective Services (APS) is a State mandated Title XX service program which mandates the prompt investigation of all situations involving adults age 18 and over who are reported to be endangered by abuse, neglect, exploitation, or unsafe or hazardous living conditions. When necessary, the investigating social worker will seek the assistance of law enforcement to gain access to the client or to obtain protection in violent situations.
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program: The Long-Term Care Ombudsman role evolved from federal and State mandates under the Older Americans Act to provide local advocacy services responsive to complaints and concerns of residents in skilled nursing and licensed board and care facilities. There are 35 Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs under the State Department of Aging, all of which receive State and federal funds.
Office of the Public Guardian Program: The Office of the Public Guardian (PG) is a part of the Department of Mental Health, with the Director of Mental Health serving as the PG. The PG serves the County of Los Angeles primarily through two conservatorship programs: probate conservatorship and Lanterman Petris Short (LPS) or mental health conservatorship.
Assistance from District Attorney’s Office: The District Attorney’s Office can provide victims of elder abuse with medical compensation, counseling, assistance in filing "Victim of Crime Claims," and assistance for victims with court procedures and transportation.
Organizations to contact for more information:
The LAPD’s EPEU conducts specialized financial abuse training for other police departments. For more information, contact: Detectives Chayo Reyes and Dave Harned, C/O Bunco-Forgery Division, Los Angeles Police Department, 150 N. Los Angeles Street, Room #302, Los Angeles, CA 90012; 213-485-3795; fax: 213-680-1424.
For more information on the Fiduciary Abuse Specialist Team (FAST), contact Susan J. Aziz, Elder Abuse Prevention Program, WISE Senior Services, 1527 Fourth Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401; 310-394-9871; fax: 310-395-4090.
WISE Senior Services also has a Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and can be reached at 800-334-WISE (9473).
Los Angeles County Adult Protective Servicesѕ Centralized Intake 213-351-5401
After hours call the Elder Abuse Hotline at 800-992-1660
NOTE: APS does crisis intervention for elder and dependent adults in their homes or in the hospital, but not in other care facilities.
In Los Angeles County, to obtain the assistance of the District Attorney’s office, please call the District Attorney’s Family Violence Unit, 213-974-7499.
What can I do about "identity theft"?
If you become the victim of identity theft, it is important to act immediately to stop the thief’s further use of your identity.
- Immediately contact all your credit card issuers.
Get replacement cards with new account numbers. Ask that the old accounts be processed as "account closed at consumer’s request." (This is better than "card lost or stolen," because when this statement is reported to credit bureaus, it can be interpreted as blaming you for the loss.)
- Call the fraud units of the three credit reporting companies:
Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. Report the theft of your credit cards and/or numbers. Ask that your accounts be flagged. Also, add a victim's statement to your report such as, "My ID has been used to apply for credit fraudulently. Contact me at XXX-XXX-XXXX (your phone number) to verify all applications."
- Notify your bank(s) of the theft.
Cancel your checking and savings accounts and obtain new account numbers. Ask the bank to issue you a secret password that must be used in every transaction. Put stop payments on any outstanding checks that you are unsure of.
- If you use the ATM card for banking services, get a new card, account number, and password.
Do not use your old password. When creating a password, avoid such commonly used numbers as the last four digits of your Social Security number and your birth date.
- If you have had checks stolen or bank accounts set up fraudulently, report it to Telecheck and National Processing Company (NPC).
These check guarantee companies will flag your file so that bogus checks will be turned down. Call Telecheck at 800-366-2425. Call NPC at 800-526-5380.
- The Secret Service has jurisdiction over financial fraud cases. This federal government agency usually does not investigate individual cases unless the dollar amount is very high. To interest the Secret Service in your case, ask someone in the fraud department of your credit card companies and/or banks to notify the particular SS agent they work with.
- Notify the Social Security Administration’s office of the Inspector General if your SSN has been used fraudulently. You may want to have your SSN changed if your number has become associated with bad checks and credit. CAUTION: This step should be reserved for only the most extreme situations. You must be sure to notify all credit grantors and credit reporting bureaus of your new SSN.
- If you have a passport, notify the passport office to be on the look out for anyone ordering a new passport fraudulently.
- Call your telephone, electrical, gas and water utilities.
Alert them to the possibility that someone may attempt to open new service using your identification. Also contact your long distance company.
- The nearest office of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service might be able to help you remove fraudulent claims from your credit report. Call 800-388-2227.
- In dealing with the authorities and financial institutions,
keep a log of all conversations, including dates and names. Send correspondence by certified mail. Keep copies of all letters and documents. Provide your police report number to expedite reporting the crime.
- Consider seeking legal counsel,
especially if you have difficulty clearing up your credit history, or your case is complex and involves a lot of money. An attorney can help you recover from the fraud and determine whether your rights under various credit banking, SSN, and other laws have been violated.
- Pay attention to your own mental health. Victims of identity theft report that they often feel they are somehow to blame. They can also feel violated, even powerless, due in large part to the fact that few, if any, of the authorities who have been notified of the crime step forward to help the victim. Discuss your situation with a trusted friend or counselor. Seek help from a victims rights organization.
Credit Reporting Bureaus
||Copy of Report:
||P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, Georgia 30374-0241
||P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, Georgia 30374-0256
||Order Credit Report:
||Opt Out of Marketing Lists:
| Trans Union
||Copy of Report:
||P.O. Box 7000
North Olmstead, OH 44070
||P.O. Box 403
Springfield, PA 19064
||Order Credit Report:
||Opt Out of Marketing Lists:
||Copy of Report:
|Experian National Consumer Assistance Center
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013-2104
||Order Credit Report:
||Opt Out of Marketing Lists:
Remember, if you have been denied credit, you are entitled to a free credit report.
Social Security Administration
To order Earnings and Benefits Statement, or to report fraudulent use of SSN, call 800-772-1213.
To remove your name from mailing lists (Direct Marketing Association)
Mail Preference Service, P.O. Box 9008 Farmingdale, NY 11735
Telephone Preference Service, P.O. Box 9015, Farmingdale, NY 11735
To report fraudulent use of your checks
Call Telecheck 800-366-2425 or National Processing Company (NPC) 800-526-5380.
What are some of the most common Los Angeles Municipal Code Sections which relate to firearms?
Should you have any firearm related questions please contact the Gun Unit at 213-473-7351. Below are some of the most common Los Angeles City firearm ordinances that you should be aware of are:
- 55.09 LAMC - Ammunition Ban
Bans sale of ammunition during the period 7 days prior to January 1 and 7 days prior to July 4, each year.
- 55.11 LAMC - Record of Ammunition Sales
Requires the sellers of ammunition to maintain a log of each transaction that includes the purchaser’s name, California Drivers License number and a thumbprint.
- 55.15 LAMC - Fingerprinting of Firearm Purchaser
Requires firearm dealers in the City to obtain the right thumbprint of firearm purchasers and maintain the thumbprint records.
- 55.16 LAMC - Ban of Ultracompact Firearms
No gun dealer shall process the title of any ultracompact firearm to any person. A ultracompact shall mean any pistol, revolver or other firearm designed to be concealed which has an overall length of six and three quarters inches (6.75") or less of an overall height of four and one half inches (4.5") or less, measured with the magazine detached.
- 103.314 (M) LAMC - Ban on Saturday Night Specials
Banned the sale of cheaply made handguns in the City.