Crime Prevention

Crime Prevention is easy when taking the steps below into practice. Below is a list of crimes and tips on how to prevent yourself from becoming victim. Or if you know someone has fallen victim to a crime report it to the Waco Police Department. 

Dangerous Ramifications of "Sexting"

Teenage Texans' use of text messaging and camera-equipped cell phones has led to an alarming new practice: sexting.

Sexting is the practice of teenagers sending sexually explicit messages or images electronically, primarily between mobile phones. Technological improvements that are now standard on many mobile phones allow teenagers to easily distribute photographs and videos to boyfriends, girlfriends and friends. Some young Texans are even sexting to strangers they have only met online.

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy surveyed 1,300 teenagers about sexting and found troubling results:

  • 71 percent of teen girls and 67 percent of teen boys who have sent or posted sexually suggestive content say they have sent it to a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • 15 percent of teens who have sent or posted nude or semi-nude images of themselves say they have done so to someone they only knew online.
  • 44 percent of both teen girls and teen boys say it is common for sexually suggestive text messages to get shared with people other than the intended recipient.

The social danger for teenagers is that the message sender has no control of its distribution. Nearly 20 percent of sexting recipients have passed the image to someone else who the sender may or may not know. Suggestive photographs easily can be downloaded to a computer, posted on public Web sites or printed and distributed.

Unintentional circulation of inappropriate images can lead to suspensions from school or athletic participation and cause embarrassment. Compromising photos can hinder teens' attempts to get into college, receive scholarships or gain employment.

More importantly, sexting can lead law enforcement to confiscate communication devices and cause other serious legal problems. One in five teens surveyed say they have sexted despite the fact that most of them knew it was a crime.

The owner of a computer or cell phone containing pictures of nude or semi-nude minors can be investigated and prosecuted on felony child pornography charges. Teenagers in possession of sexually suggestive images of classmates or companions under 18 could face up to 10 years in prison.

Clearly, this dangerous technological trend can haunt children for years, and it is impacting schools and communities statewide. Of course, investigators and prosecutors consider the circumstances of each case before deciding whether - and which - charges charges may apply. By the time law enforcement has gotten involved, however, someone has already gotten hurt. Education and active parenting present the best way to ensure children avoid this dangerous activity.

Parents must have frank conversations with their children about the potential for embarrassment and the legal ramifications of sexting. If teens do not want a photo or text message to fall into the wrong hands - including strangers, potential employers, teachers or college admission officers - they should not send it. A lack of privacy can put them at risk.

Teens, parents, teachers and law enforcement authorities must keep an open line of communication to combat sexting - which is why our Cyber Crimes Unit officers criss-cross the state speaking to students and parents about Internet and wireless communication safety.

Parents, law enforcement officers and others who have questions or want more information about protecting children should visit our Web site, Together, we must work to keep young Texans safe from harm.

Greg Abbott
Attorney General of Texas

Internet and Wireless Device Safety

In the World of Virtual Reality, the Consequences Are Real

According to a recent study, 20 percent of teenagers have electronically sent or posted naked or semi-naked photographs of themselves online. Even more teens are sending suggestive or explicit e-mails, instant messages (IMs) or text messages €“ in some cases to people they have never met in person, but only know online.

While most expect that the content will only be viewed by a trusted boyfriend or girlfriend, too often that is not the case. Nearly 40 percent of teens report that they have had racy messages or photos shared with them €“ when they knew those pictures were intended for someone else. This content can be forwarded to lots of unintended recipients or posted on the Internet for the world to see.

In addition to causing embarrassment, circulating these photos also can be illegal. Depending on the content and ages of the subject and recipient, some e-mailed or texted photos may meet the legal definition of child pornography. Persons convicted of possessing child pornography face up to 10 years in prison. They may also have to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.

There are many possible consequences associated with suggestive messages and photographs of oneself. These messages or photos may:

  • Get passed around to others or posted on the Internet;
  • Raise the expectation of sexual activity, potentially putting the sender in uncomfortable or dangerous situations;
  • Cause the sender and/or recipient to face child pornography charges, be imprisoned and have to register as a sex offender;
  • Cause embarrassment and legal or employment problems for parents and family members;
  • Result in suspensions from school or athletic participation; or
  • Hinder future attempts to get into college, receive scholarships or become employed.

College recruiters, teachers, potential employers, parents and others may all be able to find previous Internet posting were after the original has been deleted. For example, before a photo’s deletion, it may have already been copied or posted elsewhere.

Failing to comprehensively assess consequences is one of the hallmarks of youth. Another hallmark is poor judgment. Growing up takes time. So, in many instances, teenagers are aware of the risks posed by their online activities €“ but they believe the bad consequences will not happen to them.

Education and frank discussions between parents and their children are critically important. Parents and educators should consistently explain that sexually themed communications and photos are inappropriate and dangerous. In cyberspace, harmful or embarrassing photographs can quickly make the rounds and fall into the wrong hands, including those of child predators. They can also lead to ridicule and unwanted attention.

Parents should take an active interest and pay close attention to their kids’ use of technology. They should be clear with their teens about what they consider appropriate behavior. Cell phone carriers offer tools, some of which are free, to limit wireless devices’ content and communications capabilities. Text messaging service can be turned off or limited to certain hours. Internet access can be removed or filtered by age appropriateness. Parents can consider buying a phone that has no camera feature.

Points To Remember Internet & Wireless Device Safety:

Don’t assume anything sent or posted online is going to remain private.

There is no changing your mind in cyberspace — assume anything sent or posted online will never really go away.

Nothing is truly anonymous. Screen names, phone numbers or e-mail addresses can all be traced back to an individual if someone “including a criminal“ tries hard enough.

The Wireless Foundation,

Office of the Attorney General
(800) 252-8011

Attorney General Abbott Urges Texans to Protect Their Personal Identifying Information

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today urged Texans to learn more about identity theft prevention - and use that knowledge to avoid becoming victims of identity theft. This week has been designated as National Protect Your Identity Week.

Identity theft occurs when a criminal illegally uses another person's personally identifying information, including names, addresses, driver's license numbers, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or other financial information to commit fraud or other crimes. Victims may miss job opportunities, or be denied loans for housing, education or cars because of negative information on their credit reports. Texas ranks second in the nation for incidences of the crime, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

"Identity theft continues to be one of the most pervasive and costly white-collar crimes in the country," Attorney General Abbott said. "The Office of the Attorney General is committed to aggressively enforcing identity theft prevention laws. Texans should shred unwanted documents that contain their personal information and take other steps to prevent sensitive account numbers from falling into the hands of identity thieves."

To help prevent identity theft, the OAG established a Web site,, devoted to providing Texans information they need to protect themselves from this crime. This Web site has video testimonials of actual victims depicting their struggles to restore their good names.

This recently launched Web site also has an Identity Theft Victim's Kit which offers a step-by-step checklist for victims to use to prevent further damage. Confirmed identity theft victims should immediately close all bank, credit, utility and service accounts. Victims should contact one of the major credit bureaus and place fraud alerts or security freezes on their credit reports. This will prevent new accounts from being fraudulently opened under the victims' name.

For more information about steps Texans can take to protect their personal information, visit For more information about the OAG's efforts to fight identity theft, visit 

Parent's Guide to Internet Safety

(Source: U.S. Dept of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation)

What are signs that your child might be at risk on-line

Your child spends large amounts of time on-line, especially at night.

  1. You find pornography on your child's computer.
  2. Your child receives phone calls from people you don't know or is making calls, sometimes long distance, to numbers you don't recognize.
  3. Your child receives mail, gifts, or packages from someone you don't know.
  4. Your child turns the computer monitor off or quickly changes the screen on the monitor when you come into the room.
  5. Your child becomes withdrawn from the family.
  6. Your child is using an on-line account belonging to someone else.

What can you do to minimize the chances of an on-line exploiter victimizing your child?

  1. Communicate, and talk to your child about sexual victimization and potential on-line danger.
  2. Spend time with your children on-line.
  3. Keep the computer in a common room in the house, not in your child's room.
  4. Utilize parental controls provided by your service provider and/or blocking software.
  5. Always maintain access to your child's on-line account and randomly check his/her e-mail.
  6. Teach your child the responsible use of the resources on-line.
  7. Find out what computer safeguards are utilized by your child's school and at homes of your child's friends. These are all places where your child could encounter an on-line predator.
  8. Understand, even if your child was a willing participant in any form of exploitation, he/she is not at fault, he/she is the victim.

Instruct your children:

  • to never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met on-line.
  • to never upload pictures of themselves onto the internet or on-line service to people they do not personally know.
  • to never give out identifying information such as their name home address, school name, or telephone number.
  • to never download pictures from an unknown source, as there is a good chance there could be sexually explicit images.
  • to never respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, or harassing.
  • that whatever they are told on-line may or may not be true.

Making your Home More Secure

Download Home Security Survey(PDF, 27KB)

The following security precautions are furnished to assist you in making your home more secure against being burglarized.


  1. Provide lighting for all outside entrances to the house. Besides entrances to the home it is recommended you provide perimeter lighting on all sides of the house. Consider motion sensor lighting or timers for your exterior lights.
  2. Keep trees and shrubs cleared/pruned around doors and windows. This helps eliminate concealment for burglars/prowlers.
  3. Make sure your address/house number is clearly visible from the street and lighted at night.
  4. Exterior doors.

a. Make sure all exterior doors are metal or solid wood, 1 3/8" thick.
b. The hinges should be on the inside of the door and the doorframe should be strong enough to withstand excessive force.
c. Use a high security "strike plate" for the lock and secure to the doorframe with #12, 3" wood screws.
d. Use good quality single cylinder deadbolt locks with at least a 1" throw. e. Install a 190-degree door viewer (peephole) on the main entrance. Install the door viewer at a height accessible to the shortest person in the household or install more than one, at varying heights.

  1. Garage doors: Secure garage doors with a key-operated locking device or install an automatic garage door opener.
  2. Sliding glass doors: Secure sliding glass doors with secondary locking devices to prevent them from being lifted or pried from their frame.

    a. "Charlie Bar" commercially manufactured security device that is installed on the door/door frame.
    b. "Pinning" Inserting a pin in a hole drilled in the doorframe. Commercial devices are available or a nail can be placed in the hole.
    c. Place a broomstick or wooden dowel in the track to secure the door against being pried open. You made also need to "pin" the door to keep it from being lifted from the track.

  3. Double/French doors: Secure the inactive or one of the active doors with concealed flush mounted header and threshold bolts that penetrate metal strike plates. Secure the two active doors with a high security single cylinder dead bolt lock with a minimum 1" throw.


  1. Install a solid wood door, 1 3/8" thick, with a high security single cylinder dead bolt lock, minimum 1" throw, from the garage into the house.
  2. Secure window air conditioners to the house or with grating to prevent them from being removed or pushed into the house.
  3. Windows: Secure all windows (that open) with secondary or auxiliary locking mechanisms.

a. Metal windows can be secured with commercial locking devices that are attached to the window's track. It is recommended you use one on both tracks of the window. It is recommended you do not use key operated devices as it may pose a safety issue in the event of a fire.
b. Wooden windows can be secured by "pinning" or by placing a wooden dowel in both sides of the window's tracks.
c. Louvered or jalousie windows pose a special security problem. These type windows can be secured by installing reinforced metal screening.

Operation I. D.: Mark/engrave your valuables with your TX. I.D. or D.L. number and make an inventory of them to include: brand, model, size, and serial number. Photograph or video tape those valuable or collectible items that do not have serial numbers.

Alarms: Alarms should be used in combination with other security measures. If your home has an alarm it should have an interior and exterior siren and be monitored by a U.L. approved central monitoring station.

For further home security tips or for a free home security survey contact the Waco police department's community outreach and support section at 750-1761.


SUMMER TRAVEL (On The Road Again)

School's out and vacation time has arrived! Travel and trips are the agenda for summer adventure! Here are some safety tips to help you avoid serious problems while you are on your trip or vacation.


  • Stop mail and newspaper delivery or have a neighbor collect them daily.
  • Lock all windows and doors before you go.
  • Ask a friend or relative to keep your lawn mowed.
  • Leave a key with a trusted friend or relative in case of an emergency.
  • Have someone place your trash out on collection day.
  • Ask a friend, neighbor, or relative to check the exterior of your home daily and to occasionally park their car in your driveway.
  • Put some lights, radio and TV on automatic timers.
  • Secure lawn furniture, mowers, bicycles, etc. while you are gone.


  • Make a record of your credit card and travelers check numbers. If possible make a photocopy of them.
  • Clean out your wallet/purse. Don't take anything you don't need; like extra credit cards.
  • Make sure you have enough prescription medication to last on your trip.


  • Don't carry large amounts of cash. Use travelers checks or credit cards whenever possible.
  • Make sure your vehicle is in top running condition.
  • Carry your cell phone, car insurance, and other documents needed for your trip/vacation.
  • Plan your trip/vacation route and don't forget the maps!
  • When stopping enroute, conceal valuables from sight, preferably in the trunk. If you stop overnight, remove luggage and other valuables from the car.


  • Don't leave luggage unattended. Check your baggage with the staff if you can't go to your room immediately.
  • While away from your room for extended time, place your valuables in the motel safe-deposit box.
  • When returning to your motel late in the evening, use the main entrance of the motel.
  • Be observant and look around before exiting your car.
  • Use all auxiliary locking devices while in your room; don't leave the room door propped open.
  • Familiarize yourself with fire exits.
  • Check with motel staff about security measures provided.
  • Don't open the door until you know whom it is; call the front desk to confirm claims of being a staff member.
  • Report suspicious activity to motel management.
  • Check twice before departing so you don't leave any possessions behind.


  • Learn about the area you are visiting. Ask motel staff about areas to visit and areas to avoid.
  • Carry your purse and wallet in a secure way; don't let your purse dangle and put your wallet in a front pants pocket.
  • Be aware of persons acting suspiciously.
  • Make sure everyone in your group knows the name and address of your motel.
  • Carry only cash that you need, and bills in small denominations. Don't flash your money, jewelry, or video equipment.
  • If members separate, have a prearranged location and time to check in.

Child Abuse is Preventable

The Waco Police Department along with other agencies across Texas and the nation are asking you to make a difference in the lives of our children and help stamp out child abuse and neglect.

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected you are required by law to report the matter to law enforcement or the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).  Simply reporting it to someone else or to the school does not fulfill your legal responsibility.  Your report of child abuse/neglect is confidential and immune from civil or criminal liability as long as the report is made in ‘good faith’ and ‘without malice’.

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected:

Do Not try to investigate
Do Not confront the abuser

Do Report your reasonable suspicion: Call your local Law Enforcement Agency or DFPS at 1-800-252-5400.

Warning Signs of Abuse, Sexual Assault or Neglect can range from visible injuries, burns, emotionless behavior/withdrawn, lack of personal cleanliness to inappropriate or promiscuous behavior.   If you observe physical injuries or abnormal behavior for which there is not a simple or innocent explanation report your concerns to the authorities.

Remember you are legally responsible for the care and safety of your child.

*April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Child Safety Seats

Why a Child Safety Seat is Important

Crashes are the leading cause of death of children in the United States, in most cases, child passenger injuries and deaths can be prevented.  Many injuries and deaths occur as a result of the high misuse rate of car seats, booster seats, and seat belts.  Child restraints, or car seats, reduce the risk of injury by 71-82% and reduce the risk of death by 28% in comparison to children in seat belts alone.  Booster seats reduce the risk of nonfatal injuries by 45% among 4 to 8 year olds.

It’s the law!

A person commits an offense if the person operates a passenger vehicle, transports a child who is younger than 8 years of age, unless the child is taller than 4 FT. 9 IN. and does not keep the child secured during the operation of the vehicle in a child passenger safety seat system according to the instructions of the manufacturer of the safety seat system.  The fine for having an unsecured child under 8 or less than 4 FT. 9 IN. tall is $299.

Five Most Common Mistakes when Using a Child Safety Seat
  • Harness straps through wrong slots
  • Chest clip incorrectly positioned
  • Harness too loose
  • Wrong seat belt path used
  • Loose safety seat installation

Safety Seat Tips

  • All safety seats and vehicles are different, so read and follow the safety seat’s instructions and your vehicle owner’s manual to make sure your child’s safety seat is properly installed
  • To get a tight fit, use one hand to press down the child safety seat, while using the other hand to pull on the safety belt or lower anchor straps that hold it in place
  • If a safety seat is more than 6 years old or has been involved in a crash, replace it according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • There are two ways to install safety seats in a vehicle—with either a vehicle’s safety belts or the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tether for Children) system. The LATCH system has metal anchors in the vehicle (where the seat cushion meets the seat back) and top tether anchors (see your owner’s manual).  Attach connectors to metal anchors and connect tether straps to tether anchors
  • Children under age 13 should ride buckled up in the back seat
  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even for a short period of time

There are Four Stages of Child Safety Seats/Restraints

Stage 1
  • Infant Only or Rear-facing Convertible Seats—for the best protection, keep infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible up to the height or weight limit of the particular safety seat.  At minimum, keep infants rear-facing, until age 1 and at least 20 pounds
  • Your child should ride in a semi-reclined position, according to safety seat instructions.  The child’s head should rest flat against the safety seat.
  • Rear-facing safety seats increase crash protection by supporting the child’s head, neck, and back
  • Straps threaded through the lower slots, so they are at or below shoulder level
  • Chest clip even with child’s armpits
  • Harness straps should fit snugly against child’s body
Stage 2
  • Convertible/Forward-facing Seats—when children outgrow their rear-facing seats (at a minimum of age 1 and at least 20 pounds), they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds)
  • If the child safety seat has a top tether strap and your vehicle has a corresponding tether anchor, use them. They will help anchor the safety seat in the vehicle and protect your child in case of a crash
  • Straps threaded through the slots, so they are at or ABOVE shoulder level, usually upper slots
  • Chest clip even with child’s armpits
  • Harness straps should fit snugly against child’s body

TIPS: Tether anchors are often located on the rear floor of vans, station wagons, and SUVs.  Tether anchors have upper weight limits; check your vehicle owner’s manual

Stage 3
  • Booster Seats—once children outgrow their forward-facing seats (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds), they should ride in booster seats, in the back seat, until the vehicle safety belt fits properly.  Safety belts fit properly when the lap belt fits low and snugly over the hips/upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest and shoulder (usually at age 8 or when a child is 4’9” tall)
  • A booster seat lifts a child up and can prevent severe head, abdominal, and spinal cord injury in a crash
  • Seats are available in two styles: high-back and backless. A backless booster can only be used in a seating position with head restraints.

WARNING: Never allow children to put shoulder belts under their arms or behind their backs. Lap and shoulder belts are required for booster seat use. A booster seat cannot be used with a lap only belt.

Stage 4
  • Safety Belts—when children out grow their booster seats (usually at age 8 or when they are 4’9” tall) they can use the adult Safety belt in the back seat, if it fits properly (lap belt fits low and snugly over the hips/upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest and shoulder)
  • Sit straight against the vehicle seat back with knees bent over the seat edge

TIP: Never share safety belts—one passenger per safety belt

Child Safety (Heat and Your Car)

With the sweltering temperatures of summer upon us the Waco Police Department would like to remind you of the dangers of leaving a child or animal unattended in a motor vehicle. The Centers for Disease Control says a child can die from the extreme heat in five to 10 minutes. The same is true of an animal left alone in a car.

The applicable laws are as follows:

1. Texas Penal Code, Section 22.10. Leaving a child in a vehicle.

(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly leaves a child in a motor vehicle for longer than five minutes, knowing that the child is:

1. Younger than seven years of age; and

2. Not attended by an individual in the vehicle 14 years of age or older.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of $376 dollars in Waco's Municipal Court.

2. Texas Penal Code, Section 22.041, endangering a child may also apply.

(a) A person commits an offense if he leaves a child in any place without providing reasonable and necessary care for the child, under circumstances under which no reasonable, similarly situated adult would leave a child of that age (younger than 15) and ability.

(b) An offense under this section is a Felony.

3. City Ordinance section 5-121. Animals in motor vehicles apply to animals left unattended in vehicles in a manner that may endanger the animal's health, safety or welfare. An offense under this ordinance is punishable by a fine of $300 dollars in Waco's Municipal Court.

Join us in protecting our children and pets from the dangers of heat injuries.

Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is slavery, and it’s worse today than at any point in history. There are more than 30 million slaves in the world today, in both forced labor and sex trafficking.

What is labor trafficking?

The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. (Trafficking Victims Protection Act)

What is sex trafficking?

The recruitment, harboring, transportation or obtaining of a person for a commercial sex act (including pornography and stripping) in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age (Trafficking Victims Protection Act).

National Sex Trafficking Statistics

  • An estimated $10 billion industry in America.
  • An estimated 100,000 - 300,000 child victims of human trafficking in the U.S. alone.
  • 70% of DMST victims experienced physical or sexual abuse in their homes.
  • The average age of entry for boys and girls is 11-14.
  • 1.68 million American children run away each year.

Who is being trafficked?

While any child is susceptible to trafficking, traffickers typically prey on individuals who are vulnerable in some way because they are the easiest to manipulate.

Common Vulnerabilities

  • Age. Younger children are easier to manipulate, and there’s a growing demand for their exploitation.
  • Runaway and homeless. Studies show that runaways are often approached by a trafficker within days of leaving home.
  • Living below poverty line. Traffickers manipulate a victim’s desires for a “better life” in order to exploit them. In many cross-border cases, victims follow the promise of a good job only to find themselves in the grip of a trafficker.
  • Physical or sexual abuse at home. Many victims are more susceptible to a trafficker’s manipulation because of a previous history of abuse from family members.
  • Gang involvement or drug abuse. Often, victims join a gang and are forced to perform sexually for gang members or become drug dependent, with their pimps as the suppliers.
  • Older boyfriend. Traffickers often play the role of a “boyfriend” or “lover” as they groom younger girls, then later manipulate or coerce them into prostitution.
  • Psychological or emotional difficulties. Victims who show low self-esteem or are having trouble at home are often targeted by traffickers.


  • Location on I-35 gives access to Dallas and Houston, two of the top estimated trafficking cities in the U.S.
  • Estimated 30% poverty rate.
  • 10% of students in Waco ISD are homeless.
  • 90% Waco ISD students at or below poverty level.
  • 30-50 online sex advertisements of estimated minors in Waco per week.

(Sources: Global Slavery Index, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, U.S. Dept. of State, Shared Hope International, U.S. Census Bureau, Waco ISD)

Recognizing the Signs

From the National Human Trafficking Resource Center

Common Work and Living Conditions:

  • Not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
  • Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp / manager
  • Is in the commercial sex industry and is under 18 years old
  • Is unpaid or paid very little for his/her work
  • Owes a large, increasing debt he/she is unable to pay
  • Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
  • High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)
  • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
  • Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
  • Avoids eye contact

Poor Physical Health:

  • Lacks medical care and/or is denied medical services by employer
  • Appears malnourished or shows signs of repeated exposure to harmful chemicals
  • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture

Lack of Control:

  • Has few or no personal possessions
  • Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
  • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
  • Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)


  • Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or of what city he/she is in
  • Loss of sense of time
  • Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story

Note: According to federal law, any minor under the age of 18 engaging in commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking, regardless of the presence of force, fraud, or coercion.

Reporting Human Trafficking

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center: 1-888-373-7888

To report suspected human trafficking or to be connected to local resources, contact the NHTRC.

The toll-free hotline is available 24/7 to receive tips and serve survivors and victims of human trafficking all around the country. With more than 200 languages available, the hotline is equipped to connect individuals with critical support and services.

Waco Police Department

In all emergency situations, call 911 or your local law enforcement agency.

  • Crimes Against Children: (254) 752-2600
  • For Adults & After-Hours Calls: (254) 750-7500 or 911

The Department of Homeland Security

To report suspected human trafficking, call DHS 1-866-347-2423

The Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children (Waco)

To access resources for victims, call the Crisis Hotline. The Victims Center Hotline: (254) 752-7233 or toll free at 888-867-7233 (available 24/7 for crisis intervention)

Texas Abuse Hotline

If you ever suspect a child is being abused, neglected or exploited, make a report.
Hotline: 1-800-252-5400


For more information or to talk to someone about suspected local human trafficking, contact UnBound.

Telemarketing Do's and Don'ts

The Federal Trade Commission has regulations on telemarketing:

In the first part of the call, the caller must identify the company's name and, if it's a sales call, what is being sold.

  1. If a prize is offered, you must be told immediately that no purchase or payment is necessary to win.
  2. You cannot be asked to pay in advance for services. Pay for services only after they are actually delivered.
  3. You cannot be called before 8 a.m. in the morning or after 8 p.m. in the evening, on a weekday or Saturday or before noon on Sunday, local time. It's also against the law to call you repeatedly or to intimidate you.
  4. Before you pay for any products or services, you must be told the costs and restrictions.

The Do's

  1. Ask the telemarketers for the name and address of their company, and a clear explanation of the offer they are making.
  2. Ask the caller to send you written material to study, including the money back guarantee, and about the company's refund policies before making a purchase.
  3. Check with the Better Business Bureau, State Attorney General consumer protection office, family, banker, etc. before you make any large purchase or investment.
  4. Do tell them you are not interested, do not call you again, then HANG UP!

The Don'ts

  1. Never give your credit card number or bank account to anyone you do not know. If you do, they can withdraw money from your account at anytime without your knowledge or permission.
  2. Don't pay anything for a "free prize". If the caller tells you the payment is required for taxes on the prize or to improve your chances of winning, they have violated federal law.
  3. Don't allow the caller to intimidate you or bully you into buying something "right now" for whatever reason! This is a favorite tactic of telemarketing scams, especially if the sweet, kind routine does not work.

If you need help or suspect fraud call the National Fraud Information Center at 1-800-876-7060.

Texas No Call List

Texans may add their residential and wireless phone number to the "No Call List" to help limit the number of unwanted telemarketing calls they receive. Registration can be accomplished online via or by printing the registration form and mailing it to Texas No Call, 711 Atlantic Ave. 6th Floor, Boston MA 02111.

There is no fee to register and your number(s) remain on the list for three years.

Identity Theft, Federal Trade Commission

"Help, someone used my name and social security number to open a credit card account!"

The 1990's introduced an era of new criminals called "Identity Thieves". Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States. Each day you routinely use and provide personal information (checks, cell phone, credit cards, bank account, social security number, address, etc.) to complete your daily transactions. An identity thief acquires an item of your personal information without your knowledge and uses it to commit fraud or theft by using existing or opening new accounts in your name.

Protecting your Identity

While there is no guarantee your identity will not be stolen, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk:

Do not give out your personal information (SSN, DOB, account numbers, etc.) over the Internet (unless you've initiated the contact or its on a secure website) or to people or companies you do not know.

  • Before providing personal information, ask why it is required, how it will be used and safeguarded.
  • Guard your mail from theft, put outgoing mail in post office collection boxes or take it to the post office. Never place it in your mailbox! Collect your mail as soon as possible after it has been delivered.
  • Minimize the identification information and credit cards you carry.
  • Do not carry your SSN or birth certificate unless it is needed. Do not put your SSN, telephone #, or DOB on your checks or credit receipts.
  • Put passwords on your credit card, bank and phone accounts. Do not use passwords associated with you (mother's maiden name, DOB, last four numbers of your SSN).
  • Keep items with personal identification information in a safe place.
  • Shred or tear all documents with personal information you are discarding: charge receipts, bank statements, insurance papers, checks, other financial statements and pre-approved credit applications you have received. Cut up old credit cards or ones you do not use before discarding.
  • Pay attention to billing cycles. Follow up with creditors if bills don't arrive on time.
  • Cancel credit accounts you do not use (i.e. have not used in the last six months).
  • Order a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies every year. Equifax - or 800-685-1111; Experian - or 888-397-3742; Trans Union - or 800-916-8800. Correct any mistakes or discrepancies on your credit report in writing.

If You're a Victim

If you have been a victim of identity theft the steps that you take will depend on your circumstances however, the following actions are appropriate in most cases:

  • Contact the fraud department of the three major credit bureaus.
  • Obtain a copy of your credit report and request a "fraud alert" be placed in your file. Include a victim's statement asking creditors contact you before opening any new accounts or making changes to existing accounts.
  • Contact the creditors for the accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Close accounts that have been tampered with. Include PIN's with new accounts you open.
  • File a report with the police and maintain a copy of the report to furnish to creditors.
  • Depending on the circumstances of the identity theft you may need to contact the creditor involved as well. For example, if the identity theft occurred as a result of someone stealing your mail, contact the local postal inspector. If a bank account or ATM card is involved, notify your bank.
  • Also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-438-4338; or by mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580. The FTC does not have criminal jurisdiction but can assist you in resolving the problems that arise from being a victim of identity theft.
  • Keep a record/copies of all your correspondence and contacts.

Additional Resources

Identity Theft is a Crime: Report It Immediately

Federal law - Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 (18 U.S.C. & 1028)

Texas law - Penal code 32.51, Fraudulent use or possession of identifying information