[SeMissourian.com] Fair ~ 79°F  
High: 95°F ~ Low: 72°F
Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014

Protecting your home: you, your neighbors can help

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The ancient Roman lawyer, orator and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero once said, "If our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies . . . protecting ourselves is morally right."

Crime against property is not a new issue, but with the downturn of the economy and jobs becoming harder to find, there has been a rise in crime, and in our area burglaries and theft have been at the top of the list.

A majority of the time, the crime is reported to law enforcement after the incident has occurred and the process of taking a report, investigating, and following up on leads begins.

The most valuable resource to law enforcement when it comes to solving a crime is the citizens themselves. A lot of the cases that are resolved quickly are attributed to information, observations, or actions taken by the neighbor, homeowner, or even a person just passing by.

I responded to a burglary in progress a few weeks ago where the deputy arrived while the suspects were still on the property. Nevada Police Officers responded for backup and made it possible to have the personnel on scene quickly enough to search out and apprehend the fugitives.

When I arrived, I was encouraged to find that some helpful citizens had already detained two of the three suspects, they were protecting their property. This was a good example of different law enforcement agencies and citizens all working together.

A week later a deputy responded to another burglary where the homeowner gave the name of the person he thought may have broken into his buildings.

With his help, the deputy quickly recovered the stolen property and placed the suspect under arrest.

There is story after story that involves the citizen giving the right information, or taking the right action that led to the apprehension of the criminals who committed the crime. There are some basic things that every citizen can do to better protect their property and better assist the Sheriff's Department when a burglary or theft occurs.

Some basic steps that can help protect your home are simple things like making sure you have good lighting outside of your house; motion detectors are inexpensive and easy to install. A home security system is very beneficial, but does carry a monthly expense. Keeping an eye out for vehicles that look out of place in your area and getting a tag number when you do see something suspicious can be helpful to deputies when they respond.

I would encourage the residents of Vernon County to be vigilant when protecting their properties and homes, and to give information yielded by that vigilance to the officers and deputies who are there to assist in protecting them.