EPD offers crime prevention tips as warmer weather brings more people outdoors

Published 8:27 am Thursday, March 24, 2016

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As the weather warms up for Spring and later Summer, residents are spending more time outdoors enjoying their favorite activities, but unfortunately so are the individuals who take part in criminal activity.
During this time of year when people begin taking part in more outdoor activities, certain types of crime see a spike in numbers according to Elizabethton Police Department Capt. Joy Shoun.
“Everyone likes to be outside when it’s warmer, and that includes the people that are out there breaking into things,” Shoun said.
For that reason, Shoun said the Department is reminding residents of some of the basic preventative measures they can use to help decrease their chances of becoming a victim of a crime.
“We would like to encourage residents to be mindful of such things to help reduce the opportunity for criminals to target them or their property,” Shoun said. “During this time of year, police agencies typically receive an increased number of various reports for thefts from their property and vehicles.”
“In the majority of these incidents, the vehicles were unlocked or the property was not secured properly,” she added. “We want to remind our residents that securing your vehicles, homes, and personal belongings is very important. Very simply, always lock your doors!”
In addition to taking the precaution of locking the doors to your vehicle, Shoun said you should also make sure to keep valuables out of plain sight.
“When securing your vehicles properly, we also recommend that certain items not be left inside of the vehicles,” she said. “When valuable and desirable items such as electronics, firearms, purses, wallets, and medications are observed to be left inside of vehicles, this also increases the likelihood that criminals will target that specific location.”
“Criminals look for easy targets and they will look for such things,” Shoun added. “This does not guarantee that such crimes will not occur, but it definitely is the easiest and most effective form of prevention.”
In addition to theft crimes, Shoun said there are other types of crime that also increase during the warmer weather.
During Spring and Summer months, many residents plan to make improvements to their homes and yards. Unfortunately, Shoun said, this can lead in a rise to scam operations where people approach residents promising to do maintenance, repair or remodelling work but fail to deliver.
“We’ve not had any of these types of scams reported so far this year, but we have seen them in the past,” Shoun said. “Just be mindful and make sure you are dealing with a reputable business before you commit to anything.”
If you do become the victim of a crime, whether it is a theft or a scam operation, one of the most important things to do is to report it to the appropriate law enforcement agency, Shoun said.
“Efforts cannot be made by police to target the areas where criminal activity may be occurring if it is never properly reported,” she said. “We also encourage citizens to report suspicious activity or individuals to the appropriate authorities.”
“Our officers are aware of these concerns and trends and work diligently to take the necessary efforts to target the prevention and detection of these specific types of crimes,” Shoun added. “As always, with the help of the citizens and involvement by the community, we increase our ability to be effective in this effort.”

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