Town of Palm Beach News

Public Safety Officials Update Town of Palm Beach

A few years ago, an elderly Palm Beach woman disappeared from her condo. A fellow resident became suspicious and called the police, as first reported by the Palm Beach Daily News

If it hadn’t been for that resident, police wouldn’t have learned that the 95-year-old woman’s neighbors had rented out her apartment and were burning through her bank accounts. They would never have found the woman at a nursing home in Poland, where she had been abandoned by her neighbors. The neighbors would never have been arrested and the woman wouldn’t have been returned to her home.

On Monday, Police Chief Nicholas Caristo cited that case as an example of what can happen when police and civilians work together.

“If it wasn’t for the community, we would never have known that [situation] existed,” Caristo told an audience of more than 60 people at Town Hall. “We need to stay in touch with one another and have this open dialogue.”

The Police and Fire-Rescue departments jointly hosted a forum on Monday to strengthen their ties with the townspeople and keep them up to date on the issues and trends in public safety.

“In Palm Beach we maintain low crime rates through proactive policing and strong relationships with the community,” Caristo said. “I couldn’t tell you how many times we receive phone calls alerting us to suspicious incidents. It’s that community involvement that is so important.”

Public Safety Officials Update Town of Palm Beach

Fire-Rescue Chief Darrel Donatto said the department’s mission is “to make a positive difference in the lives of others with every interaction we have, whether it’s an emergency call or a chance encounter walking down the street.”

Donatto stressed that no safety or health concern is too small. “We’re here for you, whatever your emergency,” Donatto said. “If your smoke detector is chirping and you can’t figure it out, call us.”

Police spokesman Michael Ogrodnick gave tips to help residents protect themselves from scammers.

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He said that if a stranger is attempting to obtain your Social Security number or bank account number, is trying to sell you something you something you don’t want, or is offering money or another prize in exchange for a processing fee, get off the phone and call the police.

“It doesn’t make you a bad person just to hang up,” Ogrodnick said.

Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to call the police if you think you may have been the victim of a scam. Top scams include offering a new Medicare card, counterfeit prescription drugs, and funeral and cemetery schemes.

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Alanna Barrett

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