EPD encouraging residents to lock doors to help prevent thefts

Published 8:46 am Wednesday, December 14, 2016

METRO SERVICES Locking vehicle doors and securing valuables out of sight are two easy ways to help deter theft.

Locking vehicle doors and securing valuables out of sight are two easy ways to help deter theft.

Local police are urging citizens to take basic precautions to help prevent crime after a rash of vehicle burglaries.
Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, the Elizabethton Police Department provided citizens with several general reminders and safety tips for the holiday season.
“This was intended to remind citizens of some basic preventative measures to help lessen the opportunities of specific crimes,” EPD Capt. Joy Shoun said.
Following several reports of thefts and auto burglaries in recent weeks, Shoun said the Department would like to once again reach out and remind area residents to take simple measures to protect themselves from such crimes.
“Please lock your doors. We cannot stress the importance for residents to lock their doors,” Shoun said. “This is an easy and basic act, but serves as an excellent deterrent for vehicle burglaries and thefts.
“Criminals look for easy targets,” she added. “This does not guarantee that such crimes will not occur, but it definitely is the easiest form of prevention.
“Since Dec. 1, the Elizabethton Police Department has received at least 13 reports of vehicle burglaries that have occurred where the vehicle was unlocked,” Shoun said, adding various items and valuables have been stolen from vehicles in those cases.
“Although charges have been placed in some of the cases, these types of incidents continue to be reported,” Shoun said. “Our officers are aware of these incidents and will be taking the necessary efforts to target these specific types of crimes.
“As always, with the help and assistance of the community, we increase our ability to be effective in this effort,” she added.
In addition to locking doors on vehicles and homes, Shoun provided the following safety tips for residents to follow to lower their chances of becoming a victim of a crime.
• Do not leave your personal belongings, such as a purse or wallet unattended. While shopping do not walk away from your cart and leave personal items unattended because thefts can occur very quickly and suspects can leave the area undetected in the crowds. Take an inventory of personal items — such as purses or coats — before leaving to make sure nothing is left behind in a shopping cart.
• Be aware of other individuals and your surroundings when entering and exiting stores, and this includes avoiding being overly focused on the use of a cellular phone or other device that diverts your attention. Maintaining this awareness will lessen opportunities for criminals to isolate individuals as the target of crime. This helps to prevent and detect other potential criminal activity.
• Telephone scams are also very popular this time of year.
Common scams involve the callers requesting personal information and credit card information, or may say they are calling about a winning sweepstakes. Also, as a general practice, government agencies and local utilities do not contact individuals by phone and request payment or personal identifying information over the phone.
• Report suspicious activity or individuals. The adage of if you see something, say something applies to suspicious activity not just around the holiday but throughout the year.

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