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Lower temperatures can mean higher crime rate

ALBANY, Ga. -- When the temperatures dip, various units of the Albany Police Department offer tips to secure vacant homes, prevent car thefts and care for pets.

There are many vacant homes in Albany, and police would like owners to keep them safe and secure.

"The Albany Police Department would like to ask property owners to secure any vacant homes or businesses so that the property cannot be entered," APD spokeswoman Phyllis Banks said. "Those who are homeless tend to use vacant property to shield themselves from the cold. To avoid an increase in property fires and damage to property, owners should board up their vacant property."

Many times in cold weather, a driver will start a vehicle to warm it up. If the driver leaves the car unattended, it is an invitation to car thieves.

The Albany Police Motor Vehicle Theft Unit recommends not leaving an idling vehicle unattended. In an e-mail, the unit recommends that someone remain with the vehicle while it is running.

Keep unattended vehicles locked and leave nothing of value inside them. If there is anyone who doesn't belong in the resident's area hanging around, they should be reported to the police as suspicious.

The Animal Control Unit has some tips for pets in cold weather.