Police urge safety in wake of criminal mischief, break-ins

Published 9:11 am Thursday, February 2, 2012

Criminal activity throughout January in the Country Club neighborhood and other areas of Troy has residents on alert and wondering what they can do to protect their property and themselves.

The first weekend in January, homeowners on Briar Hill Way, Kate Avenue, Woodland Circle and Wilson Drive reported their vehicles had been egged and one resident even found sardines inside their vehicle, according to Troy Police.

Later in the month, two vehicles were broken into and property was stolen on the 200 block of Gail Street, police said.

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At one home, a passenger-side window was broken and two rifles and a wallet were taken. Inside it were personal bankcards and money. At the second home, the passenger-side window was also broken and a laptop computer was stolen.

All crimes are believed to have happened between 9 p.m. and the following morning, according to police.

“Our main goal is to prevent crime,” said Troy Police Sgt. Benny Scarbrough. “We want to try to prevent the commission of a crime, and a lot of times a simple call to us that something is out of the ordinary can prevent something bad from happening.”

Scarbrough said there are a few things residents can do to help make themselves less of a target.

“The main thing with theft from a vehicle is security of that vehicle,” Scarbrough said. “Lock up. Don’t leave items in plain view.”

Scarbrough said many times people get in a hurry and forget that just because their car or truck is parked on their property doesn’t mean it is immune to having a criminal break in.
Also, he said, residents should take the time to look around and note people who are out of place in the community.

“A lot of people walk up and down the streets and we don’t always know who they are,” Scarbrough said. “People can disguise themselves as being out walking for their health, but really, they are looking for easy targets.”

Many times, vandals target random homes, but homeowners do have some tools to lessen their chances of being a victim in that area of crime, too.

Scarbrough suggests having a clear view of your yard from inside your home and also having a clear view of your home from the street.

“Lighting is also a big preventative measure,” Scarbrough said.

He suggests motion sensor lights, a strong front porch light and making sure street lights are in working order.

If you see something suspicious in the neighborhood, Scarbrough said there are three numbers to call. Residents should call 911 if there is a crime in progress, or they are fearful of being harmed; 566-0500 is the number to use if someone needs to reach police, but there is no emergency; and a secret witness line is also available for those who want to remain anonymous.

“If someone does not call us, it’s hard for us to take action,” Scarbrough said. “Suspicious actions, suspicious people, suspicious circumstances…If it alarms you, call the police.”