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Be proactive in securing your home

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

In last month's article, I spoke on the various ways that the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office is involved in assisting you in protecting your property. Today I want to share some important tips for you to implement which in turn will make your home safer and less of a target for criminals.

Each year about one out of every 12 homes will be targeted by a burglar, according to a national survey. Burglars look for homes that offer easy entrance and getaway. You may not need physical strength, speed, or expensive security devices, but you do need to be alert, cautious, and self-confident.

Some homeowners install special bars, locks, and or latches which can be ineffective at best, and at worst, dangerous, because they may prevent a quick escape. If you decide to investigate these, call my office to learn which devices we recommend.

If someone breaks in while you are home, do not confront the burglar. Lock yourself in a room with a telephone, preferably a cell phone, and quietly call 911. If someone breaks in while you are away, do not go inside if you suspect someone is still in the house. Immediately call local law enforcement from a neighbor's phone or your cell phone.

Some important tips:

1) Trim trees and shrubs that conceal or shadow doors and windows.

2) Choose thorny plants to discourage prowling around and under windows.

3) Install outdoor lighting and leave them on at night.

4) Use motion-activated lights for large areas that you may not wish to keep constantly lit.

5) Have someone pick up your mail and newspapers every day. Never allow newspapers to pile up in the yard or your mail to overfill your mailbox.

6) Never leave notes on your door about where you are or when you will return.

7) Do not leave lawn equipment, tools, or ladders outside. Lock them in your garage or storage shed when not in use.

8) Install timers on lights, radio, and/or television to give the appearance that someone is at home when you leave.

9) Have an up-to-date household inventory list and make sure your valuables are engraved. You may also want to take pictures of special or unique one-of-a-kind items.

10) Keep all curtains and blinds closed at night. Make sure your windows have pin locks.

11) Outside entry doors should be metal, metal-clad, or solid wood, not hollow core. All doors should have non-removable hinges and deadbolt locks with a minimum one-inch throw bolt.

12) Install a lens peephole or wide-angle viewer in all outside doors, not just the front entry.

13) Use metal "Charlie bars" on sliding glass doors, plus pin locks that slide a steel peg through both the stationary and movable doors.

14) Never let anyone at the door know you are home alone.

Your home is your sanctuary. Please consider using these tips that I have shared with you and as always, if the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office can be of any assistance please contact my office at (229) 430-6508. May God Bless!

Sheriff Kevin Sproul is a longtime resident of Dougherty County. He is a graduate of Albany High School, Darton College and LaGrange College of Albany. Sproul has been employed with the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office for 27 years and can be reached at (229) 430-6508.