Category Archives: Sheriff’s Tips

Tip Line

The Switzerland County Sheriff’s Office ANONYMOUS CRIME TIP LINE is for the confidential reporting of information and non-emergency incidents to the Switzerland County Sheriff’s Office.  The Tip Line number is 812-427-4427. The line has been set-up so that members of the community can report information that they may otherwise be reluctant to report.  The Tip Line is a voice mailbox with a recorded message.  A caller can leave a message containing the information that he or she wishes to share with the Sheriff’s Office.  The Tip Line is a non-emergency line.  There is no way to identify the caller or the line the caller is calling from.  A caller is welcome to identify themselves and leave contact information if they wish and are encouraged to do so if the situation requires follow-up contact.  The information left on the Tip Line will be checked frequently, and investigated as necessary.  If an incident is an emergency or requires an immediate response, the Switzerland County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center can be reached by dialing 911.  Nuisance type calls like noise complaints and other on going neighborhood issues should be reported when they are occurring to The Emergency Dispatch Center 812-427-3636.  This will allow the Sheriff’s Office to respond to and address these types of issues in a more timely and effective manner.

You can also report any tips online to the Switzerland County Sheriff’s Office by e-mailing HERE.

Seat Belt Safety

Buckle Up

The state of Indiana imposed laws that require all motor vehicle passengers to wear a seat belt or be placed in a restraining device when the vehicle is in motion.Violations of these laws can result in fines of $25 for occupants 16 and older. Indiana is also one of many states running the Click It or Ticket program, an annual 5-week crackdown on improper seat belt use.

Seat belts save lives. While seat belt use has been increasing and averages 88 percent nationally, there are still groups less likely to wear seat belts:  teens, commercial drivers, males in rural areas, pick-up truck drivers, people driving at night, and people who have been drinking. Resources here include data, effective prevention, and links to national and state organizations working on this issue.

Seat Belts: Your Single Most Effective Safety Step

Seat belts are the single most effective traffic safety device for preventing death and injury, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of crash injuries by 50 percent. They save lives:

  • Seat belts saved more than 75,000 lives from 2004 to 2008.
  • Forty-two percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2007 were unbelted. A 2009 NHTSA study estimates more than 1,600 lives could be saved and 22,000 injuries prevented if seat belt use was 90 percent in every state.

The good news is, in 2009, seat belt use averaged 88 percent nationally, compared with 69 percent in 1998. NHTSA attributes this increase to the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, originally created by the National Safety Council as part of its Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign.


bambina con cinture di sicurezzaThe Indiana seat belt laws are different for children under 7-years-old. All passengers under 7 years of age must be in a child safety restraint appropriate for their age, height, and weight. Infants must be in an infant child safety seat, while toddlers and young children may be either in a booster seat or an adult seat belt adapter. Use of an adult safety belt is required for children ages 8 and up.

Children under the age of 16 cannot personally be held liable for not being properly restrained. The driver of the vehicle may be charged in some cases if their under 16 passenger is not properly restrained. Children age 12 and younger are also required to be seated in the back of the vehicle rather than the front seat.

Indiana also has the Indiana Buckle Up Bug program to help promote child safety restraint use. The program teaches children in grades K-3 about seat belt safety when in an Indianapolis car accident and helps encourage them to “bug” their family to follow Indiana seat belt laws as well.

 Child Safety Restraints:

The following child groups have specific child safety restraints and seat positions required for proper protections:

  • Infants under 20 lbs., up to 1 year old – infant-only, rear-facing safety seat in the back seat.
  • Children 20-30 lbs., less than 1 year old – convertible seat, rear-facing in the back seat.
  • Children 20-40 lbs., 1-4 years old – convertible or booster seat, forward-facing in the back seat.
  • Children under 4’9″ tall, 4-8 years – belt-positioning seat belt harness or high-back belt-positioning booster seat, seated in the back seat.

Before purchasing any type of child safety restraint check the product information for age, height and weight restrictions and recommendations. By using child safety restraints that are weight and height appropriate you can minimize the chances of serious injury in an Indianapolis car accident.

Vehicle Safety



  • Keep up with car maintenance – Well-maintained cars are safer cars, so make sure you change your oil on a regular basis and make sure all the parts of your car (engine, tires, belts, hoses, mirrors, windows, windshield wipers, lights, horn, etc.) are working properly.
  • Consider installing a car alarm to deter potential thieves.
  • Plan ahead – Consider the safest route and give yourself enough time to get to your destination so you don’t feel the need to speed.
  • Check the forecast to find out if severe weather is expected when and where you’re driving, then plan your trip accordingly.
  • Be prepared for emergencies – All drivers should prepare an emergency road kit and store it in the trunk of their vehicle. Suggested items include a flashlight, road flares, a first aid kit, blanket, water, road atlas and warm clothes for use in the winter season.


  • Don’t drive tired – Make sure you’re well rested and alert for your journey.
  • Avoid driving distracted – Put down the cell phone, food, hairbrush and makeup. Avoid adjusting the radio, heater/air conditioner. Stay focused on the road ahead instead of the scenic view and any accidents that might be on the side of the road.
  • Follow the driving laws – Buckle up, maintain a safe distance from other cars, stay out of the passing lane if you’re not passing another vehicle, etc.
  • Never operate a vehicle while impaired – An auto should never be operated if you drink alcohol or take drugs. Once they’re consumed, alcohol or drugs immediately impair your judgment, reaction time slows, and emotions and behavior become exaggerated. If you operate a motor vehicle while impaired, you jeopardize not only your life, but also the lives of others.
  • Be patient and considerate to other drivers – It’s important to treat other drivers as you would want to be treated. Aggressive driving, following too close and using high beams improperly are all examples of actions that can lead to serious accidents.


  • Keep your doors locked and windows rolled up, and take your keys with you. Don’t make it easy for thieves to steal your car or the items in it.
  • Remove valuable items from your car or keep them out of plain site so thieves won’t be tempted to break in and steal them.
  • Park your car in a well-lit, well-traveled area.
  • Avoid parking next to large vehicles or any objects (dumpsters, large trees or shrubbery, etc.) that someone could easily hide behind.


If you’re in an accident or your car breaks down, safety should be your first concern. Getting out of the car at a busy intersection or on a highway to change a tire or check damage from a fender bender is probably one of the worst things you can do. The Switzerland County Sheriff’s Department recommends the following precautions when your car breaks down:

  • Never get out of the vehicle to make a repair or examine the damage on a busy highway. Get the vehicle to a safe place before getting out. If you’ve been involved in an accident, motion the other driver to pull up to a safe spot ahead.
  • If you can’t drive the vehicle, it may be safer to stay in the vehicle and wait for help or use a cell phone to summon help. Under most circumstances standing outside the vehicle in the flow of traffic is a bad idea.
  • Carry flares or triangles to use to mark your location once you get to the side of the road. Marking your vehicle’s location to give other drivers advance warning can be critical. Remember to put on your hazard lights!
  • In the case of a blowout or a flat tire, move the vehicle to a safer place before attempting a repair—even if it means destroying the wheel getting there. The cost of a tire, rim or wheel is minor compared to endangering your safety.

Cell Phone – Driving Safety


Abstain from talking on a cell phone while you are actively driving. Try to place calls while your vehicle is stationary.

Use a “hands-free” or speaker phone accessory. The use of a Bluetooth headset or earpiece allows you to talk while both hands remain on the wheel.  Prior to getting on the road, practice driving while using your hands-free device in an open parking lot so you know how to use it properly without fumbling. When possible, shop for the latest models of phones that feature voice activated dialing and speed dialing.

Hands-free or not, postpone conversations that are either emotional or complex. Do not make emotional calls while driving (quitting your job, breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, etc.) as you will be focused primarily on the call rather than your driving.

If you need to answer or make a call, try and pull off the road into a safe parking area. Be alert. Do not stop in dangerous areas and be sure to keep your doors locked.

Never read or write a text message while driving. Taking your eyes off the road for even a second or two can result in a collision. Pull over to the side of the road if you must text. 

Keep your phone within easy reach. Do not leave your phone in the glove compartment or a purse where you might have to dig for it.

Make sure 911 is programmed into your phone’s memory should you need to report an accident or other emergency. While driving, use your cell phone only in the event of an emergency in which you or someone else needs help.

The Indiana State Statute prohibits a person from typing, transmitting or reading a text message or an electronic mail message while operating a moving motor vehicle unless the device is used in conjunction with hands-free or voice operated technology or unless the device is used to call 911 to report a bona fide emergency. (I.C. 9-21-8-59)

Neighborhood Safety

Neighborhood watch sign in cow paddock, ScotlandNEIGHBORHOOD SAFETY TIPS

Meet the people who live near you. Get to know their names, what cars they have and exchange phone numbers so you can call anyone in your area should the need arise.

Watch for strangers. Once you get to know the people around you, you will be better prepared to notice strangers who seem to be hanging around a lot. Seeing someone you don’t know walk down your street once is not at all unusual, but if that same person were to be lingering and going back and forth on your block frequently, they may be casing the neighborhood and looking for a home to rob.

Similarly, if you note an unfamiliar car that is spending a lot of time driving on your street, it could be an indication that criminals are looking for potential targets. Warn a neighbor if you see someone looking
at their home, and don’t be afraid to call the police to report suspicious behavior. As it is often said, the best way to avoid being victimized by crime is to prevent it from happening.

Deter criminals from choosing your home. Even a well watched neighborhood can be struck by crime. A burglar looks for the easiest target possible, so it is up to you to make your house difficult to break into. The first step is keeping exterior and interior lights on during the night. Criminals prefer a cover of darkness, and will gravitate towards a
home that has no lights on at all. If you plan to be gone overnight, you can use automatic timers on the lights so that it will look like you’re home. When you go out for the night, keep a television on, or play a radio inside the house. This will give the appearance that someone is still home, which is a great deterrent to criminals. Experts often recommend choosing a talk station for the radio to give the impression that a conversation is taking place inside. A law breaker may still attempt to break into your home if they become reasonably certain they can do so without being noticed.

Criminals have developed methods of breaking into most any home or building, but even a highly experienced law breaker will only devote a very short time to getting inside. The longer it takes for them to make their way in, the better the chances are that someone might see them and call the police. You can take steps to make it not worthwhile for a criminal choose your house by beefing up your security measures.

Make your home a fortress. Burglars look for any easy entrance to a home. A pet door, busted window or unlocked point of access will let them get in quickly. Walk around your house and examine it to make sure there are no vulnerable points that law breakers can use to force their way inside. Fix broken windows, busted locks, and any other part of your house that is not secure immediately. Never leave a spare key under the doormat or in the mailbox.

Security windows are designed to not be breakable, so installing them will make your home more of a stronghold. You can even purchase bullet proof glass for extra security. These items can get expensive, so a good alternative is to install a second lock on the window. You can find them at any retail location that sells hardware products, and they do not cost much.

Other areas to reinforce with extra locks and deadbolts are the front and back doors. A criminal may take the time to break or disable one lock on a door, but they will think twice about messing with one that has multiple security devices. Glass sliding doors can also be better secured with a security bar. A solid bar will prevent a door from being opened, and it cannot be moved from the outside. You can also find steel pins that lock into place at the bottom of a sliding door to make it impossible to open.

Utilize an alarm system. Hiring the services of a professional security company that will install an alarm in your house will be reassuring, but can also be very expensive. People who can afford it may want to pay extra for the peace of mind it comes with. Not only will your home be monitored at all times, criminals will also be discouraged from attempting to break in when they see the signs and window decals that inform them of the alarm.

Of course a burglar will not know if you don’t really have an alarm in place. People who can’t afford to install a home alarm company can still buy signs and stickers that announce that they have one. Place a
sign in your yard and the decal on your window to give the appearance that you are guarded by a security service. You can also purchase other warning signs such as Vicious Dog an NRA sticker to make
criminals think you have attack animals or guns on the premises.

When you leave your home, do you lock the doors and make sure the windows are closed … every time? Even if you will not be gone for long it is important to thoroughly secure every part of your home.

Hide valuables. It only takes a few minutes for a break in to occur. In fact, most criminals move as quickly as possible to avoid the possibility of being caught. Someone could come home at any time, so they work fast to collect your valuables and get away.

Burglars know where to look for items of value in any home. They will target key areas such as dressers, desk drawers, jewelry boxes and bathroom counters. Before leaving, they will also look in common
hiding spots like under the bed or mattress, inside the toilet tank, in the back of the refrigerator or freezer and under rugs that may conceal a hidden compartment with a secret stash of valuables. Some people think that keeping their things in a small safe will make them secure, but if the invader can pick it up and carry it with them, they will.

One of the best possible hiding spots for your most beloved treasures is within a diversion safe that is designed to look like a standard household product like shaving cream or a soda can. The look and weight of these products are duplicated exactly, so a burglar who is looking through your home will never spot them. Of course the goal is to ensure that people do not break into your home at all, so always remember to lock your doors and windows. Do it without fail, every time you leave the house.



Shopping Safety


Stay alert.  Remember to always pay attention to your surroundings.  If you see anything suspicious, call 911.

Park your vehicle under or near security lights. Do NOT park in remote areas. 

Lock the car. Keep doors locked and windows closed when leaving your vehicle. Remember to turn off your lights and take your keys.

Hide your packages from view. Store packages in the trunk of the car when possible. Otherwise, place your packages as low as possible in the back seat underneath a blanket to conceal them from view. Never leave them visible inside the vehicle. 

Never leave personal items inside your vehicle in plain sight. This includes money (including loose change), credit cards, cell phones, purses and GPS units. Police advise you to remove the GPS unit and, if necessary, take it with you. That includes even the suction cup, if it can be removed.

Always keep your shopping bags in eyesight. Never let anyone “watch” your bags while you are shopping.

Use credit cards safely. Beware of identity theft and keep receipts safe. Write down credit card and PIN numbers and leave a copy of them at home.  When your shopping is completed, check your credit card balances against your purchases to track any unauthorized purchases to your cards. Many credit card companies offer fraud protection against fraudulent credit card activities involving your credit cards. You should be aware that debit cards do not have the same protections as credit cards.

Buy reputable gift cards. Shoppers should only buy gift cards from reputable retailers, not online auction sites. Gift cards bought from online auction sites are more likely to be counterfeit or obtained through fraudulent means. Always keeps the original receipt with the value of the gift card purchased in case there are any problems with the card when it is redeemed.

Educate your children.  Teach kids what to do if you get separated. (The best option is to instruct your child to look for a security guard, police officer, or go to the customer service desk where people are trained to help.)

Communicate. Tell someone where you are going and how long you will be gone. Let them know if you change your schedule.

If You’re the Victim of a Crime

Indiana Code (IC) 35-40-4-8 defines the term “victim” as “…a person that has suffered harm as a result of a crime that was perpetrated directly against the person.”

VINE is a free service offered by the Indiana Sheriffs’ Association that is available to all Indiana residents who have been the victim of a crime.

Vine Mobile

Indiana Statewide VINE

VINE Service Number : (866) 959-8463

 TTY: (866) 847-1298
Indiana VINE is the Automated Victim Information and Notification Service for Indiana County Jails. Indiana VINE is an innovative service providing crime victims and other concerned citizens’ free, prompt and confidential notification and status information for offenders in Indiana County Jails. 
Information is provided 24 hours a day, over the phone, through the internet or by email. Indiana VINE also has live operators available to assist callers.You may also register to receive automated messages by telephone or email when a particular offender is released, transferred, or escapes. You may register through their website  or by calling 1-866-959-VINE.

VINELink is the online version of VINE. This service allows crime victims to obtain timely and reliable information about criminal cases and the custody status of offenders 24 hours a day. Victims and other concerned citizens can also register to be notified by phone, email, text message (SMS) or TTY device when an offender’s custody status changes. Users can also register through their participating state or county toll-free number.



Victims of crime have the right to be free from intimidation. Please contact the Indiana Department of Corrections’ Victim Services Division at (317) 232-5749 or (800) 447-5604, if you have been harassed or threatened by an offender.