What’s In Your Kid’s Halloween Candy?

What’s In Your Kid’s Halloween Candy?

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very year, as Halloween rolls around, people begin seeing articles about how they can keep their kids safe during the holiday. One of the big topics is being sure to check kids’ Halloween candies for any tampering before allowing them to eat it. Unfortunately, there are people out there who think it’s fun or funny to harm people by messing with their food.

The first step to making sure your child is safe from tampered Halloween candy is to make sure that they don’t eat any of it while they are out trick or treating. Do not let them eat any of the candies until you have been able to examine it under good lighting. Check for damaged wrappers, candy that smells funny, homemade sweets from strangers, or any candy or sweets not in their original packaging.

If a piece of candy doesn’t seem right to you, throw it out. In this instance, it is better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to your child’s safety. If you do find any candy that has been clearly tampered with, such as having needles, razors, or glass shards in it, report it right away to the local authorities.

As uncommon as tampering with candy may be, this kind of thing does happen. Recently Australia has been dealing with people putting sewing needles into strawberries. So, check your kids Halloween candy this year just to be safe.

 

Be Responsible This Halloween

Be Responsible This Halloween

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t’s that time of the year again, and people are busily preparing for what custumes to wear this Halloween. Kids are plotting out the best route to get them as much candy as possible, while adults are figuring out which party to go to. However, something else adults should be considering, is who will be driving to the party.

If a person plans on drinking at any Halloween parties, then they need to have a designated driver (DD) or use a ride share service such as Lyft, Uber or even just a taxi. They have to do this because drinking and driving is never a good idea on any day of the year. On Halloween, it is an even worse idea.

On Halloween, kids are out and about trick or treating. This usually continues after the sun goes down. This means that the roads are often dark and lined with kids. This increases the chances of a drunk driver causing a horrible accident. This is why it is so important for a person to drink responsibly.

The likelihood of people getting behind the wheel after drinking at a party on Halloween is why there will also be an increase of DUI checkpoints that night. Law enforcement officers know that there will be more drinking on Halloween night. In order to reduce the chances of any accidents occurring, they will setup numerous checkpoints to catch as many drunk drivers as possible.

If you plan on having a few drinks this Halloween, be sure to do so responsibly.

Designate a friend or a family member to drive, or get a Lyft, Uber, or a taxi cab to get to your destination safe and sound. In today’s world, there is no need to get behind the wheel of a car while drunk. Especially not this Halloween.

 

Areas Where You Don’t Want To Settle In California

Areas Where You Don’t Want To Settle In California

When it comes to the state of California, there are so many different choices when it comes to finding a place to settle down. A person can settle down in a city by the open desert, or in a small, forested mountain town. California has so many options that finding the right place to live here can be a bit intimidating.

Recently, Bail Bonds in Martinez, in an effort to help people keep themselves and their families safe, took a look at what cities were considered to be the safest in the state of California. Some of the cities ranked in the top ten safest included Danville, Irvine, Chino Hills, and Mission Viejo. This provided people with a lot of information about what areas they might want to consider settling down in someday. However, it also got a lot of people wondering, what cities are the most dangerous in the state of California?

What Do Crime Rates Mean?

Anyone looking to move to a new area has probably come across the term crime rates or statistics in their research. For those unaware of what those are, they are simply bits of data that has been collected by various organizations in order to get an idea of what crime is like in that area. These statistics are like a sort of crime grade for the area.

This information usually comes from local law enforcement agencies and then is studied and analyzed by different groups. The groups then give their grade for the area. Depending on the group in question, the grade can vary drastically. This is due to the fact that some groups weigh certain types of crimes differently than other organizations.

When it comes to studying crime rates, all crimes tend to fall into two categories:

  • Violent Crimes – These are crimes that are directed at people and involve threats of violence. This includes crimes such as assault and murder.
  • Property Crimes – These are crimes that are directed at possessions and property. This includes crimes such as theft and vandalism.

Typically, organizations looking at crime data weigh violent crimes more heavily than property crimes since they tend to me the more dangerous crimes. However, each group is different and so crime rates can vary slightly from one study to another.

Some lists even take things a step further and look at more than just crimes committed in the area in the last year. They can also look at things such as poverty levels and local law enforcement funding.

The Top 5 Most Dangerous Cities In California

According to data collected by The Sacramento Bee in 2017, the following cities are ranked as the worst in the state of California. This list looks at murder rates for cities with populations greater than 50,000.

  1. Compton: 35.4 murders for every 100,000 residents.
  2. San Bernardino: 28.5 murders for every 100,000 residents.
  3. Salinas: 22.1 Murders for every 100,000 residents.
  4. Oakland: 20 murders for every 100,000 residents.
  5. Richmond: 18.9 murders for every 100,000 residents.

As mentioned above, each group that looks at crime rates analyzes the data differently. This particular list focuses solely on the violent crime of murder. Another list may look at a broader spectrum of information.

Using The Data Effectively

When it comes to looking up crime data before moving, doing research is important. Since different organizations will weigh different aspects of data more or less than other groups, the chances of two lists being the same are slim to none.

If a person is feeling truly ambitious, they can look-up the most recent information on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) page. The FBI monitors crime statistics from all over the country and compiles the numbers annually for citizens to see. Of course, navigating a government run website isn’t always the easiest thing to do if a person doesn’t know what they are looking for.

However, a person doing their own research in this matter is important. This will allow the person to find a list that weighs the data in a way that feels right to them. From there, the person will be able to make an informed on which California cities they do not want to live in next.

 

Protecting Your Property From Creditors In California

Protecting Your Property From Creditors In California

Just because you owe a debt, it doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your home. To protect homeowners, California legislatures created a series of California homestead real estate laws that are specifically designed to ensure that non-consensual creditors drive you away from your home, or that they take the money you made from selling a piece of property. It is worth noting that these laws only protect your home from non-consensual creditors, but not voluntary liens placed against your property.

Examples of voluntary liens include:

  • Mechanic’s liens
  • Mortgages
  • Federal tax liens
  • Judgement liens (child support, spousal support)
  • Deed of trust

Chapter Seven Bankruptcy

The best way to help erase your debt load and still maintain ownership of your home is filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Even though Chapter 7 bankruptcy does require that you liquidate nearly all of your assets, one of the things that remains yours during the bankruptcy process is the equity you have built as a home owner. This means that if you keep up on your mortgage payments and consistently pay federal and state property taxes, you will continue to have a place to live, and there is nothing your creditors can do about it.

Protection from Lawsuits

California is one of the few states that has passed legislation that prevents the sale of your primary residence in order to meet debts owed to creditors, a law that allows you to keep your residence even if you lose a large civil lawsuit. The exception is, lawsuits that deals with either child support or spousal support.

It is important to note, that only your primary residence is protected by California’s homestead laws. If you own a secondary residence, you could be ordered to give it up. This is going to be true for both rental and vacation properties.

If you’re worried about creditors coming after either a primary or secondary residence, one of the courses of action you can take is gifting it to another family member. Not only does this keep the property out of the creditors hands, but often reduces estate tax liability. The trick is to make sure you gift the property to a family member that doesn’t have issues with creditors and who is willing to let you continue living on the property.

 

Be Safe This Halloween

Be Safe This Halloween

There are certain holidays that just call for parties, and Halloween is one of those days. While kids are out trick-or-treating in search of candy, adults are out partying with friends. While there will still likely be some candy at these parties, most adults have upgraded to something different. Many adults will be consuming alcohol while having a good time.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with this, provided it is done responsibly, which is what most people do. However, there are still far too many people out there who will be consuming alcohol this year, and then getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. Due to this fact, don’t be surprised to see a rise in DUI checkpoints on Halloween.

Law enforcement officers will be doing everything in their power to keep everyone safe that night, which means trying to prevent as many drunk drivers as possible.

When a person drives drunk, their cognitive functions are drastically decreased, making them much more likely to get into a car accident. This is bad enough on any night of the year, but even worse on Halloween when kids are out roaming the streets.

If you plan on going to a party and having a few drinks this Halloween, be sure to do so responsibly. Assign someone as the designated driver (DD), or get a taxi, Uber, or Lyft. This way, you do not have to drive and risk your life, and the life of everyone else out on the road.

 

Tips For Keeping Everyone Safe This Halloween

Tips For Keeping Everyone Safe This Halloween

Halloween is almost here. It is a night kids dream about all year, filled with costumes and bags full of candy. Kids love this holiday. However, it can be a bit scary for parents, and not in the good way. With the way information spreads nowadays, many people have realized that kids aren’t always as safe as they should be on Halloween.

Parents need to take precautions in order to ensure the safety of their children while out trick-or-treating. Luckily, since information spreads easily nowadays, finding helpful tips and tricks to keep Halloween safe is a piece of cake. We here at Bail Bonds in Martinez have taken the extra steps to gather some of this information and put it in a single place in order to help people keep their families safe and sound this Halloween.

Planning A Safe Route

A good way to get started with Halloween, is to plan ahead. A parent should plan a route for trick-or-treating in advance and go over that route with their kids. This can help keep everyone on the same page, and reduce the likelihood of someone getting lost.

Additionally, if a parent is feeling brave, they can lookup registered sex offenders online. There are several sites that allow a person to see if there are any registered sex offenders in their neighborhood. A parent can use this information to make sure they don’t try trick-or-treating at, or near, any houses where the occupants could be deemed unsafe for kids.

A parent looking to monitor their kid’s candy haul can also take into account houses or streets that offer more or less, candy. We have several parents here at Bail Bonds in Martinez, we know how chaotic some of those sugar rushes can get. That is why we don’t judge parents who are looking to downsize the inevitable sugar high they will have to deal with after Halloween.

For families who live in areas that may not have a lot of options for trick-or-treating, parents can look for special events to take their kids to. Places like parks and malls sometimes offer trick-or-treat options.

While Out & About

While the family is out trick-or-treating, make sure to stay in well-lit areas, or that every person has a flashlight on them. Giving kids glow sticks is another option to help keep them visible. Not only does this help prevent people from stumbling in the dark, it also keeps everyone visible once night falls. It is also important to try and avoid dark areas since anything can be lurking in the shadows.

Another good rule is to keep everyone on sidewalks where available. If there are no sidewalks, stick to the side of the road. Try to only cross streets at crosswalks, but if that isn’t possible, cross when the road is clear. Make sure kids know to never try to cross a road next to a vehicle that is parked on the side of the road. The vehicle can hide pedestrians from drivers, and increase the chances of an accident occurring.

Lastly, beware of drunk drivers. For Kids, Halloween is all about getting candy. For many adults, Halloween is about going to parties, which often involve heavy amounts of drinking. Despite the many campaigns against it, thousands of people still drink and drive. These numbers go up around holidays as people go to and from parties. Be aware of this fact make sure kids give cars plenty of space on Halloween night.

Lastly, and most importantly, parents should just keep their eyes on kids, especially when they are younger. They can get very excited on Halloween, and who can blame them. However, because of this, they may not always make the best decisions. They need an adult with a level head to keep them in check and make sure they stay safe.

Remember The Law

For the more adventurous out there, Halloween is a time to enjoy spooky activities, such as ghost hunting. The thought of entering an abandoned house, or other derelict building may seem exciting to some, but it can be dangerous. Not only do abandoned building pose various safety threats, they are also usually owned by someone.

If a person does not own a particular piece of property, or have permission from the owner to be on said property, then they are trespassing. This can get a person into legal trouble for trespassing. This is a misdemeanor offense which can earn a person up to 6 months in jail and/or a $1,000 dollar fine.

Another thing to avoid on Halloween are any pranks that could be considered vandalism. Halloween is a known time from pranks, and so law enforcement officers are out and about, ready to stop any and all criminal activity. It is not a night to test their patience.

Keeping Halloween Safe

All any parent wants to do is keep their child safe, no matter their age. By following the tips here, a parent can help keep their kid out of harm’s way this Halloween. After all, Halloween is meant to be a fun holiday and a chance for kids to get out and have some fun. Nothing ruins that spooky holiday fun faster than something going horribly wrong.

From all of us here at Bail Bonds in Martinez, we hope you and your family have a safe and spook-tacular Halloween this year.

 

Taking The Perfect Selfie Can Be Dangerous

Taking The Perfect Selfie Can Be Dangerous

When people do something fun or amazing, they like to document it in some way. For most people in this day and age, that means taking the perfect selfie of the moment. For those unaware, a selfie is a picture that you take of yourself. For the most part, the action of taking a selfie is harmless. However, there are instance when it can become dangerous, or even deadly.

Posting a cool selfie on social media sites is a surefire way to get a lot of attention, which is why selfies are so popular. The problem is, some people don’t pay enough attention to their surrounding when taking the picture. People have fallen from cliffs or been attacked by wild animals while attempting to get the “perfect” shot.

Perhaps what is worse than simply not paying attention to their surroundings, are the people who perform dangerous stunts in order to gain more attention online. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) reports that search and rescue teams performed over 680 rescue missions in 2017. Many of those missions were to rescue attempted daredevils who injured themselves performing a stunt in a remote area.

Taking a good selfie is nice, but it is not worth risking your life to gain a few additional likes on your social media. If you are going to be taking pictures, always be aware of your surroundings. Don’t walk to close to a cliff or wild animal, or else you could wind up in some serious trouble and in need of a rescue.

 

The Police Towed Your Ride, Now What?

The Police Towed Your Ride, Now What?

It doesn’t matter if your vehicle is towed after you’ve been pulled over and arrested for a bench warrant or because you left it parked too long in one place and someone reported it as an abandoned vehicle, learning that the police have towed your vehicle triggers a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. It’s worth noting that if a vehicle is parked on a street or public/business lot for more than a week without moving, the police consider it an abandoned vehicle and will tow it.

The fact that many police stations, especially in small towns, contacts a third-party towing service to move and store the car, makes getting your vehicle back even more complicated than if it was sent to a local garage.

Find Out Where Your Vehicle Is At

Finding out where your vehicle is shouldn’t be complicated. All it takes is a simple call to the nearest police station and they will provide you with the information you need. What they might not know is how much it’ll cost to free your vehicle. When you collect your car, be prepared to pay for towing fees and storage fees. The sooner you pick up the vehicle, the lower the storage fees.

Collecting Your Vehicle

You should be able to collect your car as soon as all the bills connected to the police towing have been paid. The only real exception is if the vehicle is being held as evidence of a crime, such as an accident, because drugs were found in it, or if the police believe it was used to commit a felony.

When you pick up your vehicle, make sure you have your driver’s license, current proof of insurance, and valid registration, or the vehicle won’t be released. If you no longer have a valid license, you will want to ask someone to go with you and drive the vehicle for you. In some cases, if the car isn’t properly plated or insured, arrangements can be made to have the vehicle towed to your home.

Once you have the vehicle back, you will want to avoid repeating whatever it was that lead to the car being towed in the first place.

If You Don’t Pick Up Your Car

The police will not hold onto your car forever. If a certain length of time passes and you haven’t made any attempt to get your car back, the police will auction it off. Once it’s been sold, there’s nothing you can do to get it back.

 

AMBER Alerts

AMBER Alerts

If you own a cell phone then it’s likely that you’ve heard the buzzer-like noise that blasts from the speakers at any given time of the day. Depending on the time of day, you may or may not be slightly irritated at the unannounced noise. However, this noise, part of the National AMBER Alert Program, could be a signal of life or death for an abducted child.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response Plan, also known as the AMBER Alert program, is a partnership between law enforcement agencies, broadcast agencies, and transportation agencies to activate an urgent notification for serious child-abduction situations.

The blaring noise that comes over your cell phone is part of the Emergency Alert System that broadcasts a description of the abducted child, who the suspected abductor is, and the vehicle used for the abduction. This is done in an effort to immediately notify the public or assist in the successful recovery of the child.

You receive these notifications on your phone as part of Wireless Emergency Alert program, when you are in the geographic location that the alert has been issued. Luckily, the alerts are sent through a special wireless carrier so you are not charged the receipt of these notifications.

After you are startled by one of these notifications, it can be very tempting to turn them off – don’t.

AMBER Alerts are effective.

Out of the 179 AMBER Alerts issued in 2016, 155 of the children were recovered and 43 of those recoveries were a direct result of the AMBER Alert being issued. That’s 43 children that were reunited with their families and will be able to grow up.

These alerts aren’t very common, California only issued 10 alerts in 2016. However, as we said before, these alerts could be the difference between life and death. If you’ve turned off these alerts on your phone, we suggest turning them back on. You could be the difference in saving a child’s life.

 

Legal Gambling Options In California

Legal Gambling Options In California

The office football pool and the friendly weekly game of poker you indulge in might not seem like a big deal to you, but if you’re caught, you could find yourself on the wrong side of California’s legal system.

While gambling is legal in the state, California lawmakers have created some specific rules limiting when and how you can gamble.

Casinos Owned by Native American Tribes are Legal

Like most states, the only casinos that are legally allowed to operate in California are Tribal Casinos that are connected to and managed by a Native American tribe. In most cases, these casinos are modeled after Las Vegas casinos, in addition to offering an assortment of gambling options, they frequently have restaurants, entertainment, and lodging available.

Horse Racing is Okay

One of the preferred forms of legal gambling allowed in California is betting on horses. Whether it is Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, or Quarter Horse races, you can spend as much time placing bets as you would like. The only catch is that the races must be officially sanctioned. You are not legally allowed to bet on the barrel races during county fairs.

Horse racing is the only form of gambling in California where pari-mutuel betting is legal. If you decide to try your hand at pari-mutuel betting while at the races, be aware that both management fees and state taxes are deducted before you’re allowed to collect your winnings.

Card Clubs are Legal

According to the state law, the only type of casinos that can legally operate in California are those run by Native American tribes; however, there is one loophole – Card clubs. These clubs represent California’s oldest form of formal gambling. As of 2016, the state had issued 89 licenses even though only 76 belonged to active card clubs.

The California Gambling Control Act which was introduced and passed in 1998 makes these card clubs legal. To operate a Card Club, the management must:

  • Submit to a highly extensive background check
  • Obey all local ordinances

State law prohibits publicly owned corporations from becoming involved in card clubs.

Card Clubs operate by charging each player a fee before they start playing. Once the game gets started, the players bet against one another. The house doesn’t have a stake in the game.

California Loves the State Lottery

California lawmakers not only permit gambling via state sanctioned lotteries, they encourage it. The couple dollars you spend on lottery ticket is a huge money maker for the state. Both the MegaMillions and SuperLotto Plus are state lotteries.

Gambling for Charity

Charity organizations are allowed to host gambling functions in order to earn money for their cause. The trick is that they have to be a registered non-profit organization. For the longest time, the only game allowed during the events was bingo but in 2007, legislatures voted to increase the types of games charitable organizations were allowed to offer, which is why it’s not common to see poker, raffles, and a few other casino-style games being played at these events.