While law enforcement agencies nationwide work diligently to keep their communities as crime free as possible, the primary responsiblity for preventing crime falls to the individual citizen. Citizens should make every effort to report suspicious activity to their local law enforcement agency and should insure that their homes and vehicles are locked. Keeping your doors locked, keeping bushes and trees trimmed back from the house, and having the exterior of your residence well lit are keys to reducing victimization.
Community Policing is a philosophy of policing, based on the concept that Sheriff’s deputies and private citizens can work together in creative ways to solve community problems related to crime, fear of crime, social and physical disorder, and neighborhood decay. The philosophy is predicated on the belief that achieving these goals requires Sheriff’s deputies to build on existing relationships with citizens and collaborate with them to improve the quality of life in their neighborhood. It shifts the focus of police work from handling random calls to solving problems.
HOUSE WATCH PROGRAM
Planning to leave on vacation?
Have you notified the Sheriff’s Office to place your residence on the House Watch Program? Call 357-8391 and provide the information listed below.
• Owner Name
• City, State
• Phone Number
• Responsible Person(s) in Owner’s Absence:
Name, Address, Phone
Who Will Have a Key?
• Remarks - Vehicles, lights on, watch dogs, etc.
Neighborhood Watch is a program involving a network of neighbors trained by law enforcement in home and self-protection, suspect identification, and how to serve effectively as additional eyes and ears for law enforcement agencies in their communities.
Neighborhood Watch works effectively in neighborhoods because people can easily see and recognize situations that are unusual. They can see and hear what activity is taking place in the areas and they can most likely recognize persons or vehicles as belonging to, or not belonging in, the area.
Neighbors can let each other know when they will be away thereby establishing a targeted watch during their absence. For extended periods of absence, neighbors can take turns making sure the absent neighbor’s home does not gradually take on the signs of an unoccupied dwelling. Neighbors know better than anyone else what is usual or unusual, normal or suspicious. Therefore, they are the most effective source to provide authorities with helpful information.
- Invest in solid rather than hollow-core doors, as well as well-constructed sliding glass doors and windows. Both doors and windows should have high quality locks. Such items make it time consuming for burglars to gain entry.
- When going outside, always lock your doors, even if you plan to be out for only a brief period.
- Do not place valuables, especially ones easily carried away, where they can be viewed through windows.
- Keep your garage door secured. Never leave it open when you are away, as empty garages are a clue that no one is home.
- When away for extended periods of time, set light timers to intermittently light your residence, making it appear that you're at home.
- Avoid keeping large sums of money or valuable jewelry in your home.
- Do not allow strangers to use your phone. If necessary, place the call yourself while the person waits outside.
- Do not leave keys hidden under mats or flowerpots. These locations are especially obvious to burglars.
- Keep trees, bushes, and shrubs close to the house trimmed to eliminate hiding places. Plant thorny bushes below windows.
- Invest in a good motion activated lights for areas around your house and outbuildings.
- Do not leave tools or ladders in your yard which a burglar could use to gain access to your home; keep them safely locked away.
- Get a barking dog or “Beware of Dog” signs. When you travel, have someone care for your pet in your home rather than removing it from the premises.
- Make it a routine to double check for unsecured doors and windows before retiring for the evening.
Law enforcement officers know that the average burglar is an opportunist. In most cases he does not care whether he breaks into your house or your neighbor’s house. He just wants to get in and out quickly and steal those items that can be easily sold for cash.
Burglars know that if they are caught with marked merchandise it is solid evidence against them. Fences do not like to handle marked items, so chances are better that the burglar will leave your home alone and head for easier choices if your items are marked.
WHERE TO MARK AND WHY? Warning burglars to stay away is among Operation Identification’s objectives. Therefore, it is best to avoid hiding the fact that an item has been marked (engraved). Items should be marked as conspicuously as possible without defacing them.
Obviously, some valuables such as jewelry, antiques, and silverware cannot be marked without reducing their value. Items in your residence and work areas should be photographed for identification, using either a standard camera or camcorder. Use of a camcorder allows you to not only show a photo of the item but also record an audio description of the items. Although it does not guarantee law enforcement will be able to trace your items, it is just another tool you have in helping to identify your lost or stolen property.
Your valuables should be marked with your name or Kansas driver’s license number. DO NOT USE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER.
HOW TO PREVENT IDENTITY THEFT
Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information, your social security number, your checking or credit card numbers and then poses as you. The thief then has complete access to your money and they can and will spend it as they wish.
It can take months or even years to undo the mess created by a thief in just days or even minutes. However, you can make it tougher for thieves to access your information. Below are some simple reminders of how to best protect yourself, your money, and your good name;
• Do not give out personal information. Credit card numbers, social security numbers and other identifying numbers are already on file with the financial institutions you do business with. Legitimate business will not call you and ask for that information. Remember, if someone has a right to this information they should already have it!
• Report lost or stolen checks. The numbers contained on your checks can give clear access to a thief. Always properly store cancelled checks and examine new checks to be sure none were stolen in shipment. Make sure you store them in a -safe and secure location.
• Destroy unused financial solicitations. Before discarding unwanted "junk" mail be sure to tear up or shred them since they may contain information that a thief could use to steal your identity. Remember to safely destroy any types of financial statements or receipts since they also contain sensitive information.
• Guard your Automated Teller Machine Card and PIN Number. While these types of cards can make life easier for you they can completely disrupt your life if they fall into the hands of a thief. Always guard your card and PIN and never leave receipts lying around. Also, never allow someone to stand behind you at a Teller machine. Thieves are trained at watching the key pad for PIN numbers.
• Make sure your mailbox is secure. Promptly remove mail when it has been delivered if you have a curbside box. Thieves often raid mailboxes to obtain credit card information or financial statements. While they may be inconvenient, a post office box is the most secure way to receive your mail.
• Contact the -major credit reporting companies. These companies can tell you who or what company has access your credit report. A copy can be obtained for a small fee from the company. The three major companies are; Equifax 1-800- 685-1111, Experian 1-888-397-3742, TransUnion 1-800-916-8800
FOR ADDITIONAL CRIME PREVENTION TIPS USE THE LINK BELOW.
National Crime Prevention Council