Summer thefts on the rise

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 28, 2011

The increasing number of thefts and burglaries has local law enforcement warning residents to protect their valuables – especially in light of the holiday weekend.

Andalusia Police Chief Wilbur Williams said the best practice is to eliminate opportunities for criminals to steal.

“You can’t prevent all burglaries and thefts,” Williams said. “It’s just not possible; however, you can make it as difficult as possible for the crooks to obtain your property.”

First, residents should secure things like bicycles, lawn equipment, ATVs or any other item of value.

“Most thefts are thefts of opportunity,” he said. “Say if you leave a bicycle or lawnmower out in the yard, that’s nothing but an invitation for someone to come looking.

“Then, that gives the crook the opportunity to check to see if anyone forgot to lock a side door,” he said. “Then, there’s the opportunity for them to get inside the home.”

Holiday weekends and summer vacations are prime hunting times for would-be criminals, he said.

“If you’re going to be away for an extended period of time, take precautions,” he said. “One, get a neighbor’s help in keeping an eye on your property. We know our neighbors and they know who should or shouldn’t be in the area.

“Secondly, call the police department and request a house watch if you’re going to away for a while,” he said. “That way, we can be aware you’re out. It doesn’t automatically ensure your property won’t be hit, but it will give us some indication that you’re out of town and no one should be around the residence.”

Lastly, Williams said property owners should record serial numbers and makes and model numbers of valuable items, as well as any distinguishing marks.

“That way if something is stolen, we have a way to identify if we do recover the property,” he said. “Those give us ideas on who the property belongs to.”

To request a house watch inside the Andalusia city limits, call 222-1155.