Summer is upon us! Schools have conducted their graduations and students are breathing sighs of relief as they look forward to a much-needed summer break. The joy of this season is that it gives many families time to re-connect. Many of us will go on family vacations to help us relax, enjoy and strengthen family bonds, and create memories that will last for years.
Along with all of the pleasant attributes of summer, there are certain concerns. Families that go away on vacation leave behind a vulnerable home. Summer is a season that can bring increased burglaries and other property crimes. Because of this, I would like to share some advice that may help you keep your home safe so that you can enjoy your family time without worry.
First, always remember that burglars follow two simple rules: get in and out fast, and don’t be seen. Any steps you can take to prevent them from keeping these two principles will help make your home more secure. Also, burglars only profit when they can sell what they have stolen. Anything you do to restrict access to or identify valuable items will help limit their opportunity.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Keep all trees and shrubs pruned and well maintained to prevent anyone from hiding unseen.
2. Make sure no trees, down pipes, or lattice work provide easy access to upper floors.
3. Secure any ladders or tools kept outside that could assist a potential intruder.
4. Don’t keep a hidden house key outside the house where it’s sure to be found.
5. Ensure your home is well lighted with particular attention to exterior doors.
6. Exterior doors should be at least 1-3/4 inch thick and made from solid wood or reinforced with metal.
7. All exterior doors should have heavy duty dead bolts and reinforced door jams.
8. Don’t use doors with glass panels that someone can break through and defeat the locking mechanism.
9. All sliding glass doors should been designed not to be easily lifted out from their frames.
10. If your home has an attached garage, it should be just as secure as the house.
11. Ground level windows should have guards or grates.
12. All irreplaceable items should be kept in a high-quality, fire-resistant safe or in an off-site safety deposit box.
13. Make a video tape of all your valuables and keep it stored in a safe place, preferably off-site.
14. Keep all firearms and ammunition secured in a gun safe.
15. Consider having an alarm system installed.
While you’re gone on vacation, have a friend or relative keep your place looking lived-in. Have them check the mail and get the newspaper. Have them put the trash out on time. Turn off the ringers on your phones so that they can’t be heard ringing outside. Keep some interior lights on timers. You can also call my office at 431-3259 and ask us to keep a check on your place while you’re gone.
There is nothing more important than family and I hope you can take some time this summer to enjoy yours.
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 since 1982 and can be reached at (229) 430-6508.