Stonehaven Patrol Christmas Crime Prevention, Safety Tips & Services

All:
I hope this finds you well and I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to serve our community through the Stonehaven Patrol. It is an incredible honor and I can only hope to live up to the faith and trust you have shown in our program. Below you will see a few Christmas Holiday Crime and Safety Tips & Services from the Patrol.

With the celebration of the birth of Christ upon us again I want to remind everyone that while the great majority of us are preparing to celebrate this great event with our families and friends, there are some who look upon this time as an opportunity to enrich themselves through various criminal activities including theft, burglaries, robberies, etc. so I wanted to offer some tips for safety this holiday season:

1) Please be extra vigilant for any vehicles, individuals, or activities in our neighborhoods and report them to the CMPD and/or myself so we can check the situation as quickly as possible to ascertain if the activities are legitimate.
Please do not say to yourself “Its probably nothing, I don’t want to bother the police or Brian with it when its probably nothing”. Being bothered is the job of the police, that’s why they’re there, and that’s why we started the Stonehaven Patrol. I get calls at 3:00 in the morning to check on suspicious things and I’m happy to respond as I would much rather answer 100 calls that amount to nothing than not respond to 1 call that was a crime in progress. CALL!

2) Pay attention to your neighbors and their houses as you do your own. Nosy neighbors are good for safety and crime prevention. If you are having work done at your house tell your neighbor about it as well as what company is going to be doing the work, what times they will be doing the work, etc. so they can make sure the people that show up are the people that are supposed to be there.
And, along the same lines, if you see someone that appears to be some type of service provider show up at your neighbor’s house and your neighbor didn’t tell you they were going to have work done, call them, the police and/or me to check the situation to make sure their house isn’t being burglarized. CALL!

3) When you put up your Christmas Tree, if you want passers-by to see it, please open your blinds only so far as is necessary for the passers-by to see just the tree. So many people open their blinds exposing everything, computers, flat-screen TVs, etc. in their living/family rooms to any and everyone who wants to see them. Keep in mind that most people you see stopping in front of your house are really looking at your decorations, but some are looking inside to see what you have to determine if they will target your home for a burglary later.

4) When you are out shopping for Christmas gifts and make purchases, especially of “big ticket” items such as TVs or computers, etc., please keep in mind that criminals often work in groups and will often actually set up surveillance outside of stores and malls to keep watch for people buying big screen televisions or other items and then follow those people home to get the address for a future burglary or just simply rob them of the items in their own driveway.
Or worse, they will wait till you get your house door open, return to your vehicle to get the item and then literally run up on you, rob you, and then ransack your house.
So, if you have a garage please pull into it and put the door down before exiting your vehicle to unload your purchases and pay attention to the vehicles around and behind you when returning to your home after Christmas shopping. If you believe someone may be following you, DO NOT drive to your home. Get a description of the vehicle/occupants, drive to the nearest police or fire station and call 911.
In addition, if you live in the Greater Stonehaven Area and you believe someone is following you, you can call me, and, if I’m not at work or in class, I will come to your location in our patrol car and escort you home. I’ve done this before and it is an honor to do it. CALL!

5) When you go to bed at night its not a bad idea to leave an interior lamp on, but please close your window blinds. If you leave a lamp on and the blinds open, you’ve just made your living/family room a display showroom for potential thieves. While your sleeping these people will just walk up on your porch and look inside to see what you have.
And, please, turn your outside lights on at night. Experience has shown us that the use of outside lighting is the greatest deterrent to criminal activity in residential areas. In addition, when patrolling our neighborhoods I can’t tell you how much easier it is to check out properties that are well lit than those that are not.

6) After purchasing and opening “big ticket” Christmas gifts such as televisions, computers, etc. please do not place the boxes that those items came in out for the trash pick-up for all to see. This is something that would-be burglars look for; they pay attention to the boxes put out for trash collection to learn what is now inside the house. Either break the boxes down so that only the brown cardboard side is exposed to the street or take the boxes to a recycling center yourself.

7) If you are going out of town to visit friends/family please let your neighbor know how long you will be gone, who, if anyone, should be at your home while your away, and how you can be contacted while your away.
Also, you are better off having your neighbor pick up your paper and mail than having them stopped as the fewer people who know you will be away from home the better.
Also, if you would like, you can let me know the same information and I will be happy to check on your home when I conduct patrols in your area. While I can’t say how many times I will be able to check on your home while your away, I will check on it and have a record of when I was there.

8) If you are going to buy or sell anything through Craigslist or some other web-site, do not agree to meet at your home or where the seller suggests. Agree to meet only in an area you suggest such as in front of a police or fire station and tell a friend or relative where you are going, why you are going there, the phone number used by the person you are going to deal with, etc. so in the event something bad happens, although it probably won’t, there is enough information to start an investigation.
However, if the item you are selling is an appliance or an item that can’t be easily transported and you must have someone come to your home, you can call me and I will be visibly in the area of your home in our patrol car when the potential buyer is to arrive to deter any possible criminal activity.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and ask that you do not hesitate to call upon me at any time if I may be of service to you in any way.

Brian K. Lutes
Stonehaven Patrol
http://www.scpatrol.org
980-297-8446

The Stonehaven Community Patrol operates under the authority of North Carolina General Statute 15A-404, is registered as a non-profit organization with the Secretary of State of North Carolina, does not charge or ask for a fee for any activities performed and does not “hire out” for for any purpose. The Patrol is manned by a volunteer who is not compensated in any way for his service and is funded solely by voluntary donations from the general public.

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Published in: on December 13, 2013 at 9:29 am  Leave a Comment  

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