Safeguard your castle with summer crime-prevention tips

Wendy SmithFarragut, The Farragut Insider

We all like to think our homes and personal property are safe, but no neighborhood is safe from crime – not even in Farragut.

“Nobody likes to think about crime in their own neighborhood,” says Sgt. Sheila Palmer of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office. “Crime can make its way to any neighborhood no matter how safe it is. Most all crimes are crimes of opportunity. Don’t give a burglar any sort of opportunity that they can take advantage of.”

Warm weather and outdoor activities create special opportunities for criminals, she says. Here are a few tips for keeping your home safe during the summer months:

  • Summertime calls us outside to work in the yard or just to enjoy the weather. If you’re going to be busy in the backyard, remember to keep your front doors locked.
  • Securely storing bicycles, lawn mowers and yard tools at night may feel like a hassle if you plan to use them the next day, but it’s vital to home security.
  • Don’t get behind on yard maintenance. Overgrown shrubs or bushes offer natural hiding spaces for prowlers.
  • As excited as you are about your vacation, posting photos on social media may bring unwanted traffic to your home. Many social-media platforms are public, and “friends” may take advantage of your being away. Wait until you return from your trip before posting about your vacation.
  • Set timers on lights when you’re on vacation so your home appears to be occupied. Illuminate or eliminate places an intruder might hide, like the spaces between trees or shrubs and entryways.
  • Never leave a spare key to your home hidden under a doormat or planter. Keep a spare key with a trusted neighbor.
  • Important and expensive personal items should be stored in a home safe, and safes should be anchored to the floor or a permanent shelf. Items commonly placed in safes are guns, jewelry and money. Remember that thieves aren’t always strangers. Sometimes thieves are relatives, friends, babysitters, housekeepers or friends of your children who get clever and curious.

Some of the best ways to safeguard your home and property are common sense – lock your doors and your vehicles, and don’t leave valuable items in visible spots in parked cars. Neighborhood Watch programs have proven effective in deterring crimes. If your neighborhood doesn’t have a program, consider starting one.

For an update on crime in your area, look at the Crime Map of Knox County on The Community Crime Map helps the public get a better idea of the crime activity in their neighborhoods so they can make informed decisions about how to stay safe.

For more information on starting a Neighborhood Watch program, contact the Knox County Sheriff’s Office Special Services Division at 865-215-5633.

Wendy Smith is public relations and marketing coordinator for the town of Farragut and writes The Farragut Insider for the town’s website

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