Crime in Harford County

Rampant drug abuse is not only destroying the lives of the users and their families, it is fueling a wave of crime in our neighborhoods that changes the way we think and live. Burglaries are becoming increasingly commonplace in quiet parts of the county where people used to lock their doors only because they knew it was something they should do, not because they had any concern that someone would actually try to get inside. Homes in Bel Air, Fallston, Pylesville and Jarrettsville have been recent victims of burglars. Even more frightening, most of these burglaries were committed while the families were at home! What can you do to help prevent crime while you’re at home?
Keep valuables out of sight. Some of the recent burglaries were of the “smash and grab” variety where the thieves broke a window, quickly took everything they could reach and ran without even entering the home. Don’t leave expensive items of any kind in plain sight where they can easily be seen from a window.
Break up boxes that contained expensive purchases and bag them for the trash to avoid advertising that you have new stuff. Never keep large amounts of cash on-hand and never let neighbor children see you get money from anywhere in your home other than your pocket. Use a heavy duty gun safe (one that can’t be picked up and carried) to store firearms and valuables. Keep it locked.
Maintain landscaping and shrubbery in a way that potential thieves cannot break in without being seen from the road and/or neighbors’ houses. A burglar is far more likely to pick your home to invade if he can be concealed by bushes, fences or trees while he breaks in. Dusk to dawn outdoor lighting is another deterrent as well as motion activated lighting that focuses on windows and doors. Security cameras can also be a good preventive tool.
Keep doors locked when you’re working outside. Don’t forget that while you’re working in the back yard, an intruder can very easily enter the front of your house. Worse, if you’re using a noisy power tool or mower, the intruder can tell from the sound that you’re pre-occupied and he will know when you stop working and may be returning to the house.
Do not attempt to hide keys outside. There are very few places you will think of to hide keys that an experienced thief hasn’t already learned about.
Never allow a stranger to enter your home regardless of time of day. Home invaders with intent to rob or injure often pick dinner time to get inside your home. It’s when you’re the most distracted, least on guard and everyone is likely to be in one room. Do not open or unlock your door unless you recognize the person on the other side. If it appears to be a utility worker or delivery person, make sure they have ID and a company vehicle with signage. When it doubt, call the company to verify the person’s identity before you open the door.
Finally, I must post the obligatory insurance plug. Make certain your home and belongings are properly and adequately insured with homeowners insurance or tenants insurance as appropriate. Keep an inventory of jewelry and valuables in a safe place away from where items are stored. Take pictures of valuables, label and store them with your inventory.
Vehicles can be another target of thieves and vandals so make sure you understand what your automobile insurance covers in your car is vandalized or stolen. Remember, Comprehensive coverage is what protects you in the event someone breaks glass or steals the car. Talk to your local independent insurance agent about the car insurance protection that best fits your needs.

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