The holiday season is a time for celebrating with friends and family. It’s also prime time for break-ins and thefts. Sheriff Patrick Ray urges you to start the holidays off right—and relieve some of your stress—by making sure your home and your car are protected.
"Between now and usually the first of the year we see a rise in home burglaries and burglaries of vehicles so we're asking everyone to notice their surroundings a little more and take note of strangers in their neighborhoods. If you see something or someone suspicious please call us and we'll come and check," said Sheriff Ray.
"Make sure you secure your items. If they are in a garage, barn, shed, or outbuilding make sure they are locked up where no one but you can get to them. Don't leave things on the outside in plain sight. That may bait someone to come up in your yard and steal things. Don't leave garage doors open. It allows thieves to see what's there just by driving down the road in front of your home," he continued.
You are also urged to record serial numbers on all your valuables that have them in case of theft. "We've had a pretty good rash of break-ins within the last two weeks. Most of them have been happening at night. But out of all the break-ins very few of those have serial numbers (recorded by victims). It's very difficult for the detectives to find (stolen) items without (knowing) the serial numbers. If an item (personal belonging) doesn't have a serial number you can take a dremel tool or something else and inscribe an owner (identification) number on it which can be anything from the last four digits of your social security number, date of birth, or other numbers you would know in case of theft. Marking your belongings is very important and always helpful in a theft investigation," Sheriff Ray said.
"Black Friday is a big day for people to shop for Christmas and thieves know that so after Black Friday is a time when thieves often times start breaking into homes and garages where those Christmas packages are kept," he added.
It's also a good idea to have a security light on your property to help keep thieves away at night. "If you have a barn or garage, especially if it sets off to itself away from your house, make sure it has some kind of light source that shines on it at night such as a security light or if it has porch lights, it never hurts to leave those on. Also be sure to keep doors to those type buildings locked or chained," said Sheriff Ray.
To report a burglary and theft or suspicious activity call central dispatch at 615-215-3000.