by Dave Welker, detective, Cache County Sheriff’s Office
You return home from your favorite vacation spot after a week. As you pull into the driveway, you notice the garage is open. You distinctly remember closing it. Then you remember your neighbor had access to your home to come in and feed your indoor animals; maybe they left it open. Then you see your fishing pole is leaning against the outside of the garage and you start to feel uneasy and the relaxation from your vacation is gone. As the car comes to a stop, you try to make sense of what happened to your home and realize that you have become a victim of burglary. Questions start to run through your mind: What happened? Who did this? How could this happen to me?
In Cache Valley, this is not a common event, but we do have our share of crimes against property. Property crimes are defined as those involving taking of property of another. These include burglary, theft, vehicular burglary/theft, shoplifting and vandalism. These crimes generally do not involve the use of force.
Who is at risk? To some degree, we are all at risk. A better question to ask is, “What can you do to prevent property crimes?” Make sure to always lock your house, car, trailer, etc. Most crimes are committed against unsecured property. When a series of vehicular burglaries happen, they usually involve unlocked vehicles with property in plain sight from outside the vehicle.
We would all like to think people will be honest and not take property that doesn’t belong to them. Unfortunately, this is not always the case; therefore, always use locks and put items out of direct view as this will help prevent the majority of these types of crime.
When leaving your vehicle to shop at a store, always park in a well-lit area, lock the doors and conceal any valuable items, so they can’t be seen through the windows.
If you are going to be away from your home for an extended period of time, let someone know. Get to know your neighbors and ask them to watch your property for unusual activity. We all have ‘that one neighbor’ who knows everything happening in the neighborhood. Use them as a resource, and they will work diligently to make sure nothing happens to your home or property.
By working together and using common sense, we can help prevent property crimes this holiday season.