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June 25, 2014

Summertime brings summer crime

MILLEDGEVILLE — With the onset of summer, law enforcement officials are noticing a correlation between a rise in temperatures and an increase in crime activity.

One of the top crimes that is steadily on the rise is burglary, according to Maj. Reginald Hill, criminal investigations commander of the Milledgeville Police Department.

"During the warm weather, people are more likely to leave their doors and windows open for ventilation, but they fail to realize this is an open invitation for criminals," he said.

He says the safest approach is to make sure all windows and doors are locked at all times. Also, make sure that garage doors go down and stay down prior to residents leaving.

The most recent spike in burglaries within the city has taken place in the Duplex City area, he added.  

Duplex City runs from Jefferson Street to Ivey Weaver Road then onto River Ridge.

Bicycle thefts is another type of prevalent crime, especially during May and June.

"Make sure you record the make, model and serial number of your bike and always keep it secured and if possible, out of sight in an enclosed garage area," he said.

Capt. Brad King of the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office said that burglaries tend to increase in the county as well, especially when it comes to the theft of lawn maintenance equipment.

"We see a slight increase in theft of lawn equipment because it is out being used and is seen as a visible item that can easily be taken."

King suggests securing any type of outdoor equipment to make it harder for criminals to steal.

"The best advice I can give is for citizens to properly store any equipment that could readily be taken," he said. "The harder it is for them to get to it the less likely they are to try to take it."

Summer vacation can also turn residents into victims of burglary.

"Summertime is when most citizens go on vacation, so their homes are left unattended more frequently," King said.

Hill said to make sure residences are visible from all angles so that neighbors can keep an eye on any suspicious activity that may occur while homeowners are away.

"If you have outdoor lights, leave them on and cut back any shrubbery that may block a good view of your home. Don't create hiding places for the offender. If there's no way for them to try to enter the residence without being seen they won't try to break-in."

Hill encourages city residents to report any criminal activity that they see in their neighborhood and to keep themselves out of danger by allowing law enforcement officials to handle the problem.

"Don't be afraid to speak out against things that you know are wrong. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact law enforcement and let us check things out," he said.

Knowing that a homeowner will be away from home for an extended amount of time is good information for a family member or friend to know, but not for criminals.

"Citizens shouldn't advertise the times their home will be unoccupied on social media," King said. "The wrong person may read it and take it as an opportunity to commit a crime."

If homeowners do decide to post about their vacation, King said they should make sure they have privacy settings in place first that will allow specific people to see.

King also suggests having someone get the mail or the newspaper while on vacation to keep up the appearance that someone is home.

"You may also have someone move one of your vehicles during this time. The key is not to advertise that the house is empty and no one is home to protect it."

 

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