Albany -- Summertime is here and while this means vacation time for several South Georgia residents it also means empty homes for burglars to target.
Dougherty County Police Sgt. E. A. Hermann frequently patrols neighborhoods to make sure they're safe, but he says homeowners must be the first line of defense in burglary prevention.
"Burglary and thefts in the summertime or at anytime are crimes of opportunity. People that do these crimes are very lazy and they go to the place that has the easiest access," says Sgt. Hermann.
To burglars, something as simple as newspapers and mail piling up indicates that the homeowner could be out of town. Just having a neighbor pick up your mail or stopping newspaper delivery is one step in burglary prevention. Also, if you're going out of town, contact your local police.
Sgt. Hermann stresses, "In the summer time here, when a lot of people are on vacation a lot of burglaries could be prevented because people going on vacation could call the Dougherty County Police or if they live inside limits, the city police department. We have a watch list where we specifically go and watch the house while they're on vacation."
Another way to secure your home is to make it look like you're there even when you're away.
Security lights with motion detectors work well. Also, inform the neighbors. Neighborhood watch programs are successful in keeping communities safe.
But not all thefts occur inside the home. Keeping a lock on outdoor sheds and garages is important since lawn equipment is a hot item for thieves.
Simple yard maintenance can also help police and neighbors keep an eye on your home.
Police say that by keeping your shrubs and bushes trimmed it makes it harder for burglars to hide around your house.
And if you don't have a home alarm system, you might want to look into one.
Sgt. Hermann says, "The houses where we do have an actual burglary, they don't have an alarm system. Alarms create extra work that burglars have to do to get in and they don't want to do the extra work."
Sgt. Hermann says the harder you make it for burglars to do their work, the safer you and your belongings will be.
If you are heading out of town, contact your local police department to put your home on a watch list.
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