Vinton County Crimewatch urges you to take extra precautions to protect yourself and your home against crime. Below are some tips for making it more difficult to be a victim as well as some tips to help law enforcement in the event an investigation ensues.
1. Leave your front porch light on at night. This makes your home more visible from the street while law enforcement patrols the area. If you have outdoor lighting in your yard, make sure it is pointed toward the house, not toward the street. When directed towards the street, it blinds the officers and hinders visibility of your property from the road.
2. Lock your doors at night including your car doors. Most thefts occur when doors are left unlocked and access is made easy to the perpetrator.
3. Take note of contents in your home and in your vehicle including serial numbers. Store this information in a safe place. If possible, it is advised to take a video camera of things in your home so in the event something is stolen, you can identify it if recovered more easily. Also, many times, when victimized by theft, you may not realize all that is stolen. A video or a listing may make it easier to identify that it is missing property.
4. Be aware of familiar cars in your area and familiar faces. When something seems out of place, report it to the authorities. Take note of as much information as possible. (male / female, time, description of person including hair color, clothing, distinguishing features etc, note the car and license plate if possible.) Be aware of homes with a lot of traffic coming in and out of the home especially at certain times of the month creating a pattern of traffic. Document information and provide to the authorities.
5. Call law enforcement immediately! Do not put yourself in danger in any way and do not be afraid to make a report even if you are unsure that it is a criminal activity. Law enforcement would rather take the chance on the activity not being criminal, than to find out after a crime has happened.
These are just some basic tips to keep in mind. As simple as they are, they can make a really big difference in protecting yourself and your property and assist law enforcement in a more effective investigation.
Always remember, to protect yourself and not put yourself in danger. Law enforcement is trainied to deal with criminal behavior. Information is good and helpful, but not at the risk of injury to a law abiding citizen.