By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Law enforcement officials are warning residents of Enid and Garfield County to take precautions to prevent becoming victims of a crime this holiday season.
Undersheriff Jerry Niles said the holiday season often brings an increase in the number of crimes.
“This is the time of year when we see an increase to the burglaries of automobiles, especially in shopping centers and at major department stores,” he said, noting thefts and other property crimes also increase.
Officials said one of the best deterrents to residential burglary is having the home appear occupied.
“Make your home look occupied, and make it difficult to break in,” Enid Police Department Lt. Mark Blodgett said. “Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed. Even if it is for a short time, lock your doors.”
He also suggested leaving lights on if going out, and to use timers and automated light settings if leaving for an extended period of time.
“Don’t allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or flyers to build up while you are away,” Blodgett said. “Arrange with the post office to hold your mail, or arrange for a friend or neighbor to take them regularly.”
The lieutenant also said to ensure your home is secured when leaving by keeping garage doors shut and locked, installing dead bolts instead of push-button locks and using specialized locks for sliding glass doors.
“Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes or other ‘secret’ hiding places,” he said. “Burglars know where to look for hidden keys.”
Niles said if leaving for an extended period of time during the holiday, to contact law enforcement and get your home placed on a watch list.
Blodgett also suggested keeping shrubbery trimmed around the home and removing anything that could create a cover for someone attempting to break into your home.
He and Niles both suggested making records of all valuables in the home and items purchased as gifts.
“Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and original value, and serial numbers, and keep a copy in a safe place away from home,” Blodgett said. This is a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters. Make a photographic or video record of valuable objects, heirlooms and antiques.”
“You need to record all serial numbers on all major, high-dollar purchases, even if they are gifts,” Niles said. “You should record them for your family’s sake.
He said having serial numbers aids in returning property if it is recovered, and also helps deputies in their investigations.
“We can enter the numbers into NCIC (National Crime Information Center) and it makes it possible for the items to be tracked and recovered.”
Blodgett said during the holiday season, to keep track of credit card and bank statements, checking them frequently and comparing them with receipts, to ensure they have not been compromised.
Niles said if someone sees a suspicious vehicle or a vehicle that doesn’t seem to belong, it needs to be reported to law enforcement immediately.
“Try to get the license plate number, color and make and model of the vehicle,” he said. “That would help us tremendously.
“Everyone needs to be aware of their surroundings, and be more conscientious of their property to help us solve some crimes.”
“Be a good neighbor,” Blodgett said. “If you notice anything suspicious in your neighborhood, call the police immediately.”