Patrols stepped up, sheriff warns residents to be vigilant

December 22, 2010 at 10:29 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne is warning residents to be vigilant this holiday season to protect their homes from becoming the target of burglars.

Champagne said that home burglaries have remained low for the past couple of months, but he said more deputies are patrolling neighborhoods and his administration staff will also be keeping an eye out during the holidays.

“If we see something, such as a couple of break-ins in a specific area, we really pounce on it,” Champagne said. “So far, we have had a few isolated incidents and we have actually been having a pretty good stretch the last couple of months. Still, everyone needs to be vigilant.”

Property crimes are the most reported crimes in the country, Champagne said, and Christmas is a time when home burglars go into overtime looking for easy opportunities and unwitting victims.

To protect your home, Champagne offered a few easy tips such as keeping a vehicle parked in the driveway and setting home lights and the television on a timer. Also, have newspaper delivery stopped while you’re away or ask a friend to pick it and other mail up for you.

Other tips include:
•Do not state on your answering machine that you are away. If you do not have a machine, take your phone off the hook or turn the ringer on low so people do not hear your phone endlessly ringing.

•Try to be discreet when packing your luggage.

•Keep your blinds in their normal position. A sudden change is an announcement that your home is unoccupied.

•Make arrangements to have your yard maintained if you are going to be away for a while.

•Avoid putting your name on anything that can be viewed from the street. A visible name could aid a burglar in casing your home, as they can use your last name and address to look up your phone number. They can then call your home to see if anybody is at home.

•Activate your home alarm, if you have one.

In addition to increasing patrols around neighborhoods, Champagne said his office is increasing its presence at shopping centers and places like Walmart.

“Don’t forget, Crime is not something that always happens to ‘the other guy’… it can happen to any of us,” Champagne said. “So, it is up to all of us to do everything we can to safeguard ourselves as much as possible, not just during the holidays, but all year long.”

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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