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SIMPSON: Work with the police to help deter crime

Judging from media reports, many citizens are concerned about house robberies, burglaries and theft. So what are they doing about prevention and protection of lives and property?

Some folks have resorted to security systems, better locks, alarms and cameras. Besides making it more difficult for burglars to gain entry, some individuals reduce the number and kind of valuables kept in the home. Sliding glass doors have been reinforced, fences have been added and even watchdogs roam the premises. Floodlights help build confidence and do serve as a good deterrent for burglary.

If unfortunate enough to confront a burglar in your home, do not try to be Dirty Harry. Shooting him might make your day, but you will have to face possible legal action. Give the burglar a chance to escape and call the police for help. Follow the advice of professionals and get the best description you can of the burglar and getaway vehicle. Prepare a description of lost property and any available serial numbers. Provide a loss estimate. Your loss may be covered by insurance or can be taken as a tax deduction, if you again consult professionals.

Your local police officers will probably advise you not to seek a violent confrontation with a burglar in your home. Remain calm, do not hinder escape, get a good description and quickly call the authorities when you safely can do so.

People who have had homes burglarized probably take more than average precautions to ensure they are not victimized again. Some people immediately get security systems. Others like barking dogs. A safe or secure room sometimes is added to the home. People join neighborhood watches or have trusted neighbors look out for them when they are not at home.

Those who have had valuables stolen and had no record of serial numbers develop new habits and mark their property and better secure valuables. They keep an inventory of property and even make a video that they keep in a safe and secure place.

Cautious people are not as quick to open their doors to each and every knock. Strangers are not invited in to use the telephone. Suspicious persons around the home are reported to local police officers.

Crime in the community is fought by everyone when neighbors watch for suspicious activities and individuals and report these suspicions to law enforcement officers. Citizen involvement is important and block watches do work. You can help provide valuable information to your local police. Get involved.

Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, another, and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.