Officials offer tips to help prevent robberies

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, December 29, 2009

As the investigations continue into the work of Bryan Martin, aspree burglar who has admitted to at least 58 crimes in what couldbe an eight county area, officials are offering tips to help localsprotect their homes and autos from similar criminals.

Lawrence County Undersheriff Willie Wallace said there aresimple ways to protect yourself that some homeowners and driversare still not using.

“You’d be surprised at the people that still don’t lock theirhouses when they leave,” he said. “Make sure your house islocked.”

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Oftentimes a burglar will use a ruse to get up close to thehouse, said Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing. They will pose asa salesman or another door-to-door type person in order to see ifanyone is at home.

“A lot of them will knock on the door pretending to be asalesman, and if you open the door, they’ll give you their spiel,and if not, they’ll come in and do their business,” he said. “Beleery of people going door to door. If they’re legitimate, theywill have an I.D. card or something that will identify them.”

In addition, Wallace said, insure your house looks lived in.Picking up the mail regularly and leaving lights on a timer can besimple steps to deter home invaders.

“If you’re not going to be at home, leave some type of light on,and if you’ll be out for a few days, make sure someone gets yourmail,” he said. “And if you have a neighbor to check on theirproperty that’s a good idea, too. If you’re going to be out oftown, have someone watch your property for you.”

Wallace said burglars will also check to see if newspapers arecollecting in the driveway. But some are just in it for thechallenge.

“But on the other hand, some of these people its seeing how manythey can break in and not get caught,” he said. “They get a littlethrill out of it.”

Basic changes to home security can be a plus as well, Wallacesaid.

“Security in the home nowadays, you need to have good door locksand good deadbolts,” he said. “Some of them, if they’re going toget in, they’re going to get in, but you don’t have to make it easyfor them.”

Rushing said investments that some people might put off willoftentimes make the difference in keeping a home secure.

“Alarms help,” he said. “It’s good to get one with audible soundat the house. Some people disagree, but in the rural areas it cantake us a minute to get there. And if you’ve got one, use it.”

Protecting a vehicle can be a little more tricky, but justputting purses and valuables out of sight is key, officials said,even in a driveway.

“I hate to say you have to lock your car doors at home, but ifyou leave your valuables in there, you should,” he said. “Someburglars know to look in the trunk, too, so if you put things inthe trunk, still make sure your doors are locked.”

Cars should be parked as close to the house as possible, andeven yard items should be secured, Wallace said.

“People leave four-wheelers with keys in them, and you’d besurprised the people that don’t take their keys out of their cars,”he said. “You can’t do that. We don’t live in that dayanymore.”