By Sheriff Frank Reynolds
As we move into warmer weather, property crimes, namely thefts and burglaries, increase. There are a few reasons why this is true, so let’s explore some ways you can minimize your chances of becoming a victim of theft.
When the trees begin to sprout new leaves and the flowers bloom, thieves use the landscape to conceal their movement when approaching and leaving a target location. This is also true as to where they may park their vehicle. Take inventory of areas where you can trim branches and shrubbery to allow greater visibility to your home and property from the roadway. If you can identify vulnerable areas, consider adding motion detectors to your outdoor lighting. This will help make your home or business less appealing to criminals.
Thieves are opportunists. Most of the thefts we investigate have common modus operandi; thieves seek to find unlocked doors and windows. This is especially true for entering-auto cases during the summer months. Let’s face it — we all like to be outdoors with the car windows rolled down or riding around in an open-top Jeep. When the sun goes down, and we forget to secure our vehicles, that is when thieves most often strike. Also, parking lots are a target-rich environment for thieves. Keep newly purchased items and valuables locked in your trunk.
Sheds and storage areas are particularly vulnerable because they are not usually locked or have no security systems. Lawn mowers and other landscaping tools are often taken despite their size. Be sure access to those locations is difficult for a vehicle to get close enough to load large items.
If you plan on taking a vacation, have someone check on your property regularly while you are gone. Ensure your mail is temporarily stopped or is picked up. Also, have lights placed on a timer and have vehicles moved around.
Modern home security systems have improved greatly over the past few years, and they offer a variety of features, including remote viewing and sound. Other systems may allow you to activate and deactivate lights and appliances.
Keep a good inventory of your valuables. Quality photo documentation is a wise choice. Do not keep your only copy on your computer (especially your laptop) or in a safe, as these items may also be stolen. Keep a hard copy in a notebook, and place it on a book shelf.
As previously conveyed, most thieves look for targets of opportunity. Victims of theft often say, “I knew I should have locked my door,” or “I knew I should not have left that in plain sight.”
The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office will be holding town hall programs. Please be sure to check our Facebook page to learn when we will be offering a meeting in your area.
Don’t be a victim of theft, especially if it is predictable. If it is predictable, it is preventable.