Theft Prevention

Written By: Deputy John Fomasi, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office
Published: November 1, 2017

According to the California Peace Officer’s Penal Code (PC) article 487 Grand Theft is a value over $950.00, Farm Crops over $250.00, Fish or Aquaculture Products, Theft from Person, Livestock Theft, Precious Metal Theft and so on. Grand Theft is considered a felony and should be reported to Law Enforcement as soon as possible.
Penal Code or PC 488, Petty Theft, is theft in all cases other than described in Grand Theft where the value does not exceed $950.00. Items such as bicycles, lawn mowers, motor vehicle parts, items that are in the open and unlocked vehicles are considered misdemeanors and should be reported to Law Enforcement as soon as possible.
If you have ever had anything taken from you or your property you know the feeling. Generally you’re very angry and feel violated. What can you do? First of all don’t make yourself a victim. Make it difficult for the bad guys to take your stuff. Lock your property up, don’t leave it out in the open so it’s easy to take. The bad guys like the easy grab and run. Lights. Lights make it a little scarier for the bad guys, they don’t want to be seen. Cameras. Cameras help us identify them. One thing to remember is rural areas are off the main road and out of sight which are perfect places for someone to look around and help themselves.
Here are a few ideas to help protect your property.

Your Vehicle:
Keep your vehicle locked at all times, even while driving. When parked, never leave your keys in the car. Never leave your car running and unattended. Avoid leaving valuables inside your vehicle.

Your Home/Property:
Home security systems are great tools for preventing burglaries but can be quite expensive. For a more affordable alternative try putting a home security sign in your yard without actually obtaining the service. The sign may convince would-be burglars that your home is in fact protected by a security system, which makes them less inclined to target your property.
Be a good neighbor. Neighbors can play a key role in preventing home thefts. Homeowners on friendly terms with their neighbors are less likely to be victimized by other members of their community. Close-knit neighbors are more likely to call Law Enforcement if they see someone suspicious poking around your property.
Keep valuables outside of the bedroom. A burglar on the hunt for valuables in a home will make the master bedroom their first stop—since that’s where the cash and jewelry are most commonly stored. So if you do keep such valuables on your property, find another room to store them. Make it harder for the bad guys. Also, burglars prefer to target homes that have hiding spots and escape routes in the yards, and abundant bushes and trees make for great cover.
Install motion sensors. Light is a great deterrent for nighttime break-ins. It is recommended that homeowners install motion sensors on outdoor lights that turn on automatically if someone triggers them.
Radio running. Noise helps prevent burglaries as well. Leave a radio on all day so that would-be burglars think that someone is at home. Your home is a good target to be burglarized during the day because they think that nobody is home.
Homeowners should be sure to remember the basics of home-theft prevention, keeping windows and doors locked at all times.

Package Deliveries:
Have you ever had a package or a delivery taken from your porch? Here are a few ideas to help prevent the bad guys from taking your things.
You are not alone. According to package theft statistics, each year more than 23 million Americans (shocking!!!) have their packages stolen. Watch the news during the holidays. More than 4,000 customers filed complaints against shipping companies according to Consumer Affairs.
Have Packages Delivered to Your Workplace if you can. There are a lot of complaints about package thieves or bad neighbors sneaking around the street and looting drop-off deliveries, irresponsible mailman or carriers leaving packages at the front door without knocking or ringing the bell or pre-signing your delivery without your consent, and delaying home delivery by sending notifications too early.
Install a Smart Security Camera at Your Front Door. Having a smart video surveillance camera pointing at the front door, hallway or driveway is better than no camera at all. Approximately 34% of burglars break into the house from the front door, a relatively high proportion compared to other entries. A security camera will help serve as a deterrent for criminals and once the thieves are arrested, they will be charged with theft, property crime or other offenses.
Require Signature on Delivery. Many customers grumble about the delivery man signing the unauthorized packages and leaving them wide open on the porch or doorstep making them desirable for package snatchers. The solution to the problem is asking for signature delivery. If your package is delivered by UPS, consult your sender and require a delivery confirmation signature.
Package Guard for Your Delivery. Package Guard, which is a Wifi-enabled Frisbee-size device that requires the package be put on the porch, alerting a customer when a package has been delivered to their house. And, more importantly, it triggers a loud alarm if anyone unauthorized tries to take the package away, which is similar to the mechanism in a smart security camera.
Insure Your Upcoming Packages. Insuring your precious holiday parcel (for example: Halloween costume, Thanksgiving gifts or Christmas packages) will guarantee reimbursement if your delivery is stolen or lost before you lay your hands on it.
Those are just some ideas to think about, remember “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
Don’t hesitate to call your local Law Enforcement if you see something that doesn’t belong such as vehicles you have never seen on or around your property, unknown people hanging around your area and any missing property no matter how big or small.
Don’t forget to apply for your Owner Applied Number (OAN) and get that equipment stamped. To contact the Sheriff’s Office about the OAN Program, call:
707-565-3940.

 

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