DCP warns of criminals targeting storm victims

DCP warns of criminals targeting storm victims
Police are warning criminals (Source:WALB)
Officials ask residents to do their homework when it comes to businesses (Source:WALB)
Officials ask residents to do their homework when it comes to businesses (Source:WALB)
Tom Jackson, DCP (Source:WALB)
Tom Jackson, DCP (Source:WALB)

DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - Dougherty County Police are cracking down on those taking advantage of tornado victims.

Officials said price gouging has been seen.

Police say public safety is their priority as they continue to patrol areas affected by the tornado.

Chainsaws still roar through much of Dougherty County as tornado clean up is in full swing.

But, if you're hiring a business to help you take care of the damage, police want you to be extra cautious.

"If you enter into a contract with someone, even if its verbal, it then becomes a civil matter, not a law enforcement matter," said DCP officer Tom Jackson. "So, always, do your homework before your hire one of these people."

Jackson said working with a firm that is licensed, bonded and insured is ideal.

That way, as a customer, you are most likely not responsible for any damage caused by the contractor.

You can check to see if a business is licensed by calling the county treasurer's office.

When it comes to avoiding price gouging, Jackson said its important to get multiple estimates on a job.

"We ask them not to take advantage of these people out here that have already been victims of the storm," said Jackson. "They have already lost some of their homes or property. We just ask that you be mindful of these people and their feelings out here during the next few weeks."

Jackson said that sentiment extends to all thinking of victimizing those affected by the storm.

He adds that residents should call police if they see or hear something suspicious.

"Its hard for us to determine who may be legitimately taking things, who may be trying to steal things and who might be out here in the area just trying to see property they might come back at a better timed opportunity to take it," said Jackson.

An appeal for vigilance that may keep you and your neighbors safe.

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