Know Your Charity

June 29, 2000

Historically, charities were developed to meet certain needs of society. They were formed to do "public good" and to provide aid to segments of the community that fell outside of the general scope of public assistance. The state of California is home to more than 72,000 charitable organizations; this represents about one-eighth of all the charities in the United States. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) realizes that trying to determine which charitable organizations are worthy of your financial consideration can be difficult. The following tips are designed to assist you recognize what is a valid charity and how to avoid being swindled.

Do not give cash to strangers.
Take the time to learn about the charitable organization you support or think you maybe supporting.
Be assertive on the telephone with telephone solicitors.
Make all donations by check made to the organization or use employee withholding programs through work.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK, research your organizations, and do follow ups with local city agencies that provide ordinances for these organizations. Don’t expect that every organization has all the proper paperwork they are supposed to have on file.

Read and understand everything before you sign.
Solicitors within the City of Los Angeles are provided with some type of identification or can be verified with paper work kept on file with Los Angeles Police Commission, Charitable Service Section, telephone 213-580-1001.
The Los Angeles Police Department does not solicit or endorse solicitation of funds for any type of police related charity either through telephone solicitations or through door to door activities.

"Donators can take cautionary actions to help prevent crimes against them," states Commander David J. Kalish, Department spokesperson. " This information is meant to contribute to charity education in the City of Los Angeles, you can never be too careful, prepared or aware."

There are many more strategies outlined in the LAPD’s "Know Your Charity Crime Prevention Circular." For more information, or to obtain copies of Crime Prevention Circulars, contact the Community Liaison/Crime Prevention Unit at 213-485-3134, or visit our Building Safer Communities area at LAPDOnline.