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Daytime crime on rise

POSTED: December 13, 2008 5:00 a.m.
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Don Martin

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Although people are normally on the lookout for burglaries and break-ins during night hours, Hinesville residents need to be aware of a recent string of daytime burglaries.
“Daylight burglaries in the area have increased dramatically in recent weeks,” Liberty County Sheriff J. Don Martin said. “A lot of burglaries have been occurring when all occupants leave the residence for the day for school, work, or other functions. When they return home, electronic items and other valuables are found missing.”
Martin said daytime burglaries often go unnoticed because neighborhoods are vacant because of their residents’ work and school schedules. He said the most common things stolen from homes in the daytime include electronics such as flat-screen TVs, game systems and computers.
While it’s hard to identify and control all the suspects involved in these types of cases, Martin said he believes the people responsible probably know their way around the neighborhood prior to robbing the homes.
“In past instances, an unknown person would knock on a residence door and if someone answered, ask for someone who doesnít live there or some other insignificant question,” Martin said. “Once they find someone at home, they then leave and go to another residence. This is just one of many ploys used by burglars to determine if anyone is at home.”
Officer James Caines of the Sheriff’s Department said one way to protect yourself against such burglaries is to pay extra attention to your surroundings.
“Get to know your neighbors,” Caines said. “That’s the best thing you can do.”
Martin said another protective measure communities can take to ensure their safety is to create and maintain a Neighborhood Watch Program.
Officer Danny Pittman, the Neighborhood Watch coordinator for the Sheriffís Department, said thieves look for “targets of opportunity.”
To avoid becoming a victim, Pittman said to participate in a Neighborhood Watch Program, install deadbolts on windows and doors instead of spring locks, put lights, TVs and radios on a timer so your house looks occupied, and call the police about any suspicious activity you see.
However, Martin and Pittman also said it’s important to remember that sometimes burglaries are inevitable. In order to protect your things and help the police assist you if a robbery occurs, they suggested taking inventory of your valuables, so you know how much everything is worth.
“It is strongly recommended that citizens take a few minutes to record model and serial numbers of high-dollar items in their home,” said Martin. “A photograph can be
easily taken to provide additional details and description in the event of a theft.
“Many items stolen wind up being sold to second-hand stores, pawn shops, or other people. Having a serial number recorded and provided to law enforcement can greatly assist in recover-ing and returning stolen property to the rightful owner.”
 

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