FCSO offers summer crime watch tips

From the Florence County Sheriff's Office

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC - Unfortunately, burglars do not take the summer off, and while we are away on vacation, they sometimes kick into high gear.

Whether you live in a house, a condominium or an apartment, whether in the city, the suburbs or in a rural area, no place is immune from this problem.  It is estimated that a household burglary is committed every 23 seconds in the United States.  The good news is that you can take some common sense precautions to protect yourself and your property from becoming a statistic.

  • If you have not done so already, contact us to discuss establishing a Crime Watch organization in your area.  If an organization in your neighborhood currently exists, get involved and attend its monthly meetings.
  • Be sure to always secure and lock you vehicles and either remove all valuables such as cell phones, computers, pocket change or GPSs all together,  or at least from plain view.
  • Report any suspicious activities, vehicles or individuals to neighbors, your Crime Watch Organization and law enforcement.
  • Install proper lighting for porches, entrances and garages with either timers or motion detectors. The more light you have, the fewer hiding places are available for burglars. Inside, light timers make it appear that someone is at home, which discourages most burglars.
  • When leaving for vacation have the lawn mown, and the newspaper, mail and delivery service suspended until you return.  (See U.S. Postal Service website).
  • Trim trees and shrubs around the house to increase your ability to see and at the same time remove hiding places for burglars.
  • Never leave notes for others that indicate when you will be away and when you will return.
  • Don't leave tools or ladders out where burglars can use them to gain access or entry into your home.
  • When you are home, park your vehicles in the garage and close the garage door as this will make it less obvious that you are away.
  • Be wary of door-to-door salesmen.  State law generally requires them to have a business license which must be produced upon demand.  Report any suspicious door-to-door sales in your neighborhood to law enforcement.

Remember, Crime Watch is the combined effort of the community and law enforcement working together. You are the eyes and ears of law enforcement. Never attempt to detain a suspect on your own, but report the suspicious behavior to law enforcement with as detailed a description of the person, vehicle and direction of travel as possible.

With use of these tips, we hope that everyone will have a safe, secure and enjoyable summer. For questions regarding a Crime Watch Organization in your neighborhood, contact Sergeant Precilla Zimmerman at (843) 665-2121, ext 387.