With the holiday season here the Carson City Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the community of some precautions that will reduce the chances of becoming a victim of crime.
Each year during the holiday season we see an increase in vehicle burglaries, home burglaries and theft of packages that are dropped off at residences by delivery companies.
Criminals will prowl a neighborhood pretending to be looking for a friend or relative, act as if they work for a utility company or knock on your door with some other random excuse. These individuals typically do not have any form of proper identification. They ask questions about who lives at your home and if it’s for sale they may ask to come inside the residence or be shown around the property. The majority of the time they are simply trying to determine if anyone is home by knocking on the door. When they discover no one is home they will attempt to find an unlocked door or window and in some cases force their way into your home.
Do not allow anyone into your home that you do not know or that has not been verified as an employee of a trusted company that you have requested services from. Do not open the door to strangers and do not be afraid to ask for identification from anyone soliciting your business. All solicitors are required to provide you a copy of their permit in order to go door to door in Carson City.
Surveillance cameras help to solve the majority of burglary and theft crimes. If possible, install surveillance cameras or doorbell cameras on or around your home. If you currently have a surveillance camera, be sure you know how to operate it and that is it functioning properly.
Beginning this week, the Carson City Sheriff’s Office will be increasing patrol in and around major shopping areas and in neighborhoods throughout the community. Increased patrol will be performed by patrol deputies, reserve deputies and our VIPS (volunteers in partnership with the Sheriff) program. In addition, Detectives and the Special Enforcement Team will be patrolling neighborhoods in unmarked vehicles looking for criminals taking advantage of the public. Detectives will be working closely with delivery companies tracking stolen packages.
* Make sure all doors and windows are locked including those on your vehicles. Nearly half of all burglaries are done with no force, meaning they were able to get in through unlocked doors and windows.
* Have a trusted neighbor or family pick up newspapers or packages if you are going to be gone for any length of time.
* Tell a trusted neighbor or family of your travel plans so they can keep an extra eye on your home and call the Sheriff’s Office if there is any suspicious activity.
* Make your home look occupied; leave lights/radios/televisions on or think about putting them on timers that go on and off at different times of the day or night. Close and lock your garage.
* Have the Post Office hold your mail if going away on vacation. Never leave notes on the door saying you are away.
* Keep valuables and packages out of sight as much as possible. Do not store gifts, packages, or other items in your vehicle or outside allowing thieves to steal them.
* After the holidays break down any boxes before placing them out for the trash, such as TV’s, cell phones, computers, and electronic games rather than advertising what new items you have purchased and are available to steal.
* Document serial numbers and etch or mark items in such a way in order to later identify them in case theft occurs. Marked items are a deterrence as they are harder to fence and evidence of guilt if the criminal is caught with it.
* Exterior doors should have “dead bolt” locks. Sliding doors and windows should have auxiliary locks to bolster security. Consider alarms systems.
Packages that are delivered to the home:
* Track packages and try to be home when they arrive, or ask a trusted neighbor or friend to pick up the package.
* If possible, have packages delivered to your workplace.
* Ask the delivery company to require a signature before leaving the package.
* Have the package held at the delivery company for pickup.
* Install security cameras at your home.
* Be observant and avoid dark areas and suspicious persons and stay near other people. Be prepared to flee potential problems and keep your finger on the key fob’s “alarm” button when walking to and from your vehicle.
* When using ATM’s avoid someone who is loitering around the location or someone who simply just does not look right, trust your instincts. Conceal your PIN entry while using debit and credit cards.
* Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
* Appear alert and be aware of your surroundings, hold on to your purchased items and do not leave them unattended.
* When parking your vehicle lock the doors and roll up the windows and do not leave keys inside the vehicle.
* Do not leave valuables visible inside your vehicle; store them in the trunk when possible or locked in the glove compartment.
* Keep your wallet or purse with you at all times. Do not leave out items with personal information on them.
* Do not leave children or pets unattended in the car.
* Do not leave a running vehicle unattended; it only takes a thief a few seconds to take the vehicle, including breaking the window if the vehicle is locked.
* Do not overload yourself with too many items. Take large purchases such as televisions, computers, and jewelry directly home instead of leaving them in a vehicle.
* If you see suspicious activity, notify the Carson City Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center. With the public’s assistance in reporting suspicious actively, the ability to solve and prevent crime increases greatly.