Crime Prevention

PROACTIVE TIPS for HOME and PROPERTY PROTECTION

We live in a unique community, not only by virtue of the fact we are fortunate enough to live in a lake community, but also because of the fact our properties afford thieves two points of entry; by land and water.

Thieves also realize many in our community are not full-time residents and they bank on the prospect they will find no one home.

Keep your doors locked on your home and your vehicles.  Do not keep keys to either of them, or your boat or jet skis near doorways.  Hooks near your door for keys are very convenient for you – and thieves.  Do not leave keys in your boat.  On Monday morning around 4:30, November 16, 2015, 7 residents on Burnt Log Road reported thefts of 7 guns and various prescription medications being taken from their unlocked vehicles.

Document serial numbers, along with make and model numbers of guns, televisions (screen size), cameras and other electronics.  Keep a hard copy somewhere away from your home.  Email a copy to yourself in case your PC is stolen.

Walk through your home and video the contents so that if you are broken into, you can more quickly identify what is missing.  You might be surprised to realize how easy it is to forget about something you are used to seeing every day.  If you ever experience the misfortune of having your home broken into, you go through a time of distress that makes it hard to think and it can have a very lasting impact on you.  I know this first hand from two home break-ins – not on the lake – but from years ago.

Take good, clear pictures of all your jewelry and watches, and anything unique and valuable to you and store extra copies somewhere other than your home.  Take the pictures on a separate memory stick.  Email them to yourself and keep the memory stick in a safe place AWAY from your home.  Don’t just take them and lock them in your gun safe, which may be taken in a break in.  They will pick up your entire safe – unopened – and take it with them.  Those gun safes really are quite difficult to get opened.  These scum bags are trying to get in and out as quickly as possible.  They will try to open your safe in your home.  If they can’t do it quickly enough – they just take it with them.  I know.  It took four or five big, strong men to get it in your home when it was empty.  Detectives tell me, “A safe loaded down with guns does not weigh that much more than an empty safe.  And you need to remember, when you were taking it in to your house, you were trying to make sure you were not hitting it against anything that would scratch it up.  They do not care what happens to it.”

It helps law enforcement to know exactly what they need to be trying to locate.  So, the quicker you can get them your information, the better.  If you store this information in your safe – also keep a copy in a different location.

Keep shrubbery and trees cut back so that your house is more visible to neighbors and from the road.  Make sure you do the same from the river side.  This will help cut down on hiding places for thieves to operate unseen and also allow you the visibility to see what is going on outside from the security of your locked doors.

Invest in a good four camera video system.  You can get one for about $200.  Capt. Armbrust purchased a 4 camera video day/night vision system made by ‘Defender’.  It cost him less than $200 at www.groupon.com.   It also included a 500GB hard drive for storage, and it is internet capable where you can view your residence from your smartphone.  Verify the quality of the pictures the cameras take.  If you have 30 pictures of the guy who broke in your home and they are so fuzzy you can’t identify him, then your camera is of no value.

You might also consider having an alarm system installed which includes an outdoor alarm siren.  They make a very loud sound like a train coming through your head.  These have battery back-up so that if the thieves cut the wires to your house – the alarm will still go off for a period of time and the alarm company will be alerted which will call law enforcement – if you subscribe to their notification program.  If you do this, you also usually receive a discount from your homeowner’s insurance company.  These also come available with video cameras inside your home which you can view from your smart phones.

One of our advertisers who helped in the production of our Member Directory and in maintaining our web-site is ALEXANDER ELECTRIC.  Give them a call for a consultation at 706-327-1502.

These thieves will throw a rock through one of your windows as a test to see if you have an alarm system.  If nothing sounds off – they will go for broke.

My suggestion is to also ask them about adding motion censored flood lights to your boathouses, around your dock, and around your home’s entry points.  Although these are hard to find in a store, and generally require more frequent maintenance – Alexander Electric can make them for you and keep them operational.

A couple of suggestions made by our member, Tim Eggena are as follows:

http://day6outdoors.com/products/plotwatcher-pro/

– this is a trail cam that takes pictures every 5 seconds.   With a 16 gig card, up to 32 gig, it can record a month’s worth of pictures on a single set of batteries.    It does need light.   But, it can be installed anywhere, out doors, on trees.    This would be a great way to tracking traffic on roads, visitors on docks, house activity for the people who don’t live here full time, or anywhere.

https://www.dropcam.com/?gclid=CM2Dgv_R07wCFcdQOgoduVUANQ

– This $149 camera needs an internet wireless connection.    Once configured, it will send alerts to your mobile device when it senses motion or sound.    It captures the picture real time and emails it to you.    From your computer or mobile device, you can watch HD video real time.     It also has 2 way audio.   If a thief was in your house, you can talk to them via this device.    It also offers 2 options of recording and archiving – 7 and 30 day at a fee.

With enough monitoring devices, we’ll eventually find the culprits.    When they begin to learn that there’s a high probability that they are being watched, they should go elsewhere.

If you are not a full-time residence – which is the case for so many – be sure to have a trusted friend or family member who is willing to go by your home periodically to check on your property and show a presence.  It is quite obvious these people are observing some of our neighborhoods and our comings and goings.

In an attempt to help cut down on break-ins, Harris County has increased patrols and road blocks.  One of the things they are doing is checking driver’s licenses to make sure people driving in the area have a reason to be here.  Please bear with them as they try to keep us safe and our homes & property unviolated.

Just as we all need to be doing and making sure we know our neighbors and their vehicles – they are also attempting to do the same.

Capt. Armbrust also said, “Let everyone know that if they see something they think is suspicious going on to immediately dial 911 and make a report.  If they think it is suspicious – SO DO WE!  We will have someone respond and investigate.  We take pride in ourselves on our low crime rate.”

They would rather send a car to your home and find out it is nothing instead of not coming out and it really is a problem.

As a side note, Harris County had 54 home break-ins in 2013.  Muscogee County averaged more than 30+ EVERY DAY of the year.  I had not heard back from Lee County with the numbers at the time of this writing.

Lee County has a much higher number of break-ins, partially due to the fact it is more densely populated.  Capt. Van Jackson encourages anyone seeing any suspicious activity to call it in.  “Your problem is our problem.”

Something which was noted by both sheriffs was that one thing which is a known cause in creating a delay for them in responding to break-ins is that house numbers around the lake are often difficult to see or even non-existent.  As a side note, this also was often what has caused delays in getting emergency medical assistance to people around the lake.  They both encouraged everyone to get the reflective house numbers and display them prominently at their drive.

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