Avondale, Decatur police departments release summer safety tipsAvondale Estates Police Chief Gary Broden. File Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
When schools close for the summer and families begin taking their annual vacations, the burglars come out to play.
Traditionally crime spikes in the summer months. But the Avondale Estates and Decatur Police Departments both have some common-sense tips that can give you some peace of mind while you’re sunning on the beach.
Avondale Estate Police Chief Gary Broden advises …
– Lock vehicles when not in use. Place all valuables in the trunk compartment, or better yet, take them inside your home.
– Do not leave valuable items (i.e. mowers, leaf blowers, chainsaws, etc.) unattended in your yard or visible in the carport.
– Secure and lock gates, garage doors and storage shed doors after each use.
– Remember to close and lock your doors and windows when you are away from home, regardless of how long you’ll be away.
– Keep your bicycles and sports equipment inside a closed garage or house when not in use.
– When on vacation, carry only those credit and debit cards that you absolutely need; leave all others secured at home or in a bank deposit box.
– Before going on vacation, submit a completed Security Check Form requesting the Avondale Estates Police Department to monitor your home during your absence. To download the form, click here.
Decatur Police Lt. Jennifer Ross had some additional advice to avoid becoming a victim of a summer crime. There are also some additional things to watch out for, like more pedestrians and cyclists out and about.
Lt. Ross says …
– Look both ways, then look again. Just because a vehicle, cyclist or pedestrian should stop does not mean that they will. We understand the general principal behind “I had the right of way” but do not want to have that discussion with you as you are being loaded into an ambulance or as you are being charged for a tragedy that could have been avoided. There are even more pedestrians (especially the little ones) and cyclists out and about in the summer weather and we could all slow down and be more considerate and more safe. It only costs you a few seconds and gives you a chance to enjoy the scenery.
– Watch out for your Personal Safety. A person with nefarious intentions is looking for a target that is distracted and does not seem to be paying much attention to their surroundings. They know you will be easier and not a great witness. Try to build good safety habits such as not walking around with your phone in your hand. It is amazing how good it feels to not be tied to a cell phone 100 percent of the time anyway.
– Don’t make yourself a target for burglars. The summer months can sometimes bring an uptick in burglaries. The top three things you can do to protect your home from a burglary are lock your doors and windows, reinforce your doors and keep your home looking occupied. If you have a few minutes to watch the following video, it gives great visuals on things you can do make your home a less desirable target. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmVaAdXcUHw
– Sign up for out of town house checks. If you will be going out of town over the summer, you can submit an out of town house check at http://com3.govtsystems.com/DecaturGA/Request/AnonRequests/RequestForm.aspx?FormId=394 and officers will stop by and check on your home. Other things you can do to keep your house looking occupied are utilize light timers, keep your motion lights active, ask a neighbor to park one of their vehicles in your driveway and stop mail and newspaper delivery or ask a trusted friend to pick up these items daily.
– Make your vehicle less attractive to thieves. Locations such as parks, pools, gyms, camps and bars and restaurants are heavily targeted for entering autos because thieves know they can find purses, laptop bags and items of value. The No. 1 thing you can do to prevent becoming a victim is to keep items of value out of view. Also, know that suspects will sit in a parking lot at a park, pool, gym, etc. and watch for you placing your valuables into your trunk so they know which vehicle to target. Counter sneaky with sneaky and stow your items before you arrive.
– Protect your bike. Bikes continue to be an item targeted for theft in Decatur. One of the trends we have experienced in Decatur are unsecured bikes being taken from porches, open garages & sheds and decks. Secure your bicycles even when they are on your property and make sure to keep record of make, model and serial number for each of your bikes so we have a chance to locate and return them to you should they be stolen.
– Put away lawn care equipment and tools. In a perfect world we would not have to keep eagle eyes on our lawn mowers just to run inside to grab a cold drink, but we do not live in a perfect world. Be careful about leaving lawn equipment and tools unattended out in the yard or driveway as there are thieves who drive around looking for an opportunity to keep you from finishing up the lawn or a project.