Spring has finally arrived and we know many of you are taking advantage of the nicer weather to catch up on yard work. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office wants to remind you of some crime prevention tips to keep you and your home safe.

In warm weather months, personal property thefts increase. There is a tendency to leave items such as bicycles, tools, lawnmowers, weed eaters and other yard equipment lying around in the open. Make sure you lock up your personal property in your garage or shed when not in use. It only takes a moment for someone to ride by and quickly take your property.

Andrea Zielinski

Zielinski

While working in the yard and spring cleaning, we suggest you keep your doors locked. In fact, even when you are in your home, it is a good idea to lock your doors behind you. Too many of us leave valuables — purses, wallets and car keys — within reach from inside the front door. Locking your doors prevents a thief from stepping inside long enough to grab your purse and disappear.

Trim shrubs and hedges around the property to prevent sight lines from being blocked. Minimize landscaping around doors and windows so that it can’t be used as cover for someone attempting to enter your home. Try to view your own house and property the way a thief might see it. Identify vulnerabilities and take steps to make things more secure.

When you finish with that yard work, remember to clean up and put things away. Ladders and other tools left out have been known to be used by criminals to gain access into homes. Keep garage doors closed and lock any storage unit or shed you have on your property. An open door is an invitation to a thief. Deny criminals the opportunity to steal by securing your home and property.

Many people open windows or sliding glass doors while they are at home. Recognize that these openings may be common points of entry for would-be thieves. Always close and lock your windows and sliding doors when you go to bed or leave the house. If the window is required for ventilation, install a stop that allows it to be opened no more than 4 inches.

At night, keep your porch light on. Install motion-sensitive outside lights to brighten dark areas around doors or windows.

Consider investing in an alarm system or a video surveillance system, which have been proven to be very effective in deterring crime, and in case you are a victim, a good video surveillance system can be very successful in identifying the thief.

Being a good neighbor can be one of the best crime prevention tools. Watchful, attentive neighbors can spot suspicious activity and alert the police and the community to their presence. Get involved in your community, and help build good relationships with your neighbors.

Always report any activity that seems suspicious. Our emergency dispatch center will send an officer to the area to cruise through your neighborhood. To report suspicious activity or extra patrol, please call 541-440-4471. For crimes in progress or if someone is in immediate danger, dial 911.

Andrea Zielinski is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. She can be reached at 541-440-4486 or by email at apzielin@co.douglas.or.us

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