Digging Deeper: Property Crime trends - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Digging Deeper: Property Crime trends

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Law enforcers across south Georgia are bracing for a likely increase in property crimes as summer arrives.

With graduation, kids out of school, and vacations, police say the opportunity for the crime increases. Which is why they say the crime trend escalates over the summer months. Property crimes include thefts, break-ins, and auto thefts @@

Neighbors in the Pine Lake Subdivision are no strangers to property crimes, a rash of crimes in the area last year prompted neighborhood watch programs across the city.

"My son's car was in the backyard and they went in there and took out a stereo, different things in broad daylight, like 10:00 on Saturday morning. We were all here," said Bill Bradley, Pine Lake Subdivision Homeowner.

Bill's not alone, Paul Jones also had his home broken into. All the crime reports in the neighborhood worried their children who encourage them to get a security system.

"It gives you a feeling of security, it really does and of course we've got a little rat terrier that barks at the least thing, that's good protection," said Paul Jones, a Pine Lake Subdivision Homeowner.

We decided to see if neighbors in this area have taken the advice of police an protected their belongings, but when we rode the alleyways we found a lot of yard equipment just sitting in yards, unprotected. Police say property crime is a crime of opportunity.

"Criminals are generally looking for something that's easy to take and if you leave your property available, they'll take it," said Capt. Jimmy Sexton with the Dougherty County Police Department.

We took a look at the numbers in Albany and Dougherty and Lee Counties. Here's what we found: In Lee County, from 2006-through the present the greatest number of vehicle thefts were in May, thefts tended to spike from May to August. In Dougherty County, vehicle thefts were the greatest in June and July and thefts also followed that trend. In Albany, police are taking a closer look at their numbers but we found property crimes from 2008-2010 were the greatest from May to July.

"It's just a trend that occurs during the summer time," said Sexton.

Police say if you mark your equipment, put it away and lock it up, along with locking cars even if they're in your drive way and take the proper steps when you're out of town on vacation.

"Get someone to pick up your mail, pick up your newspaper, that sort of thing, make sure your grass is cut, if you're going to be gone for a long time make it look like somebody's there," said Sexton.

You reduce your risk of falling victim, and make it harder for those looking for an opportunity to commit these types of crime.

Dougherty County Police say there's also evidence that an increase in traffic patrols leads to lower property crimes rates because, criminals know police are riding the streets and are less likely to strike.

For more information on crime statistics for your neighborhood or how you can keep from becoming a victim you can log onto:

http://www.albany.ga.us/content/1798/2879/2939/32884/default.aspx

http://gbi.georgia.gov/00/channel_title/0,2094,67862954_74028473,00.html

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