With the holidays just around the corner, thefts and burglaries are a huge concern for me in LaGrange.
I’ve been in the city for almost one month, and the amount of burglaries and thefts that I have seen reported is utterly shocking. This week alone there have been five home break-ins, six thefts from entering an auto, three car thefts, and two cases of identity theft.
However, the amount of thefts isn’t the shocking part; it’s the circumstances in which they happen.
There are some things that you just shouldn’t do, like leave your keys in the car. One of the reports from this week stated that the victim left her keys in her ignition and came back almost five minutes later and her car was gone. Anyone who leaves their keys in their ignition basically screams to others “Come get me!” or “Who wants to test drive me?!” No matter how short of a time a car is being unattended, even if it is just for a couple of minutes, crimes like auto theft can be easily reduced if common since played in the equation.
I always believed it to be common sense to lock the door of your homes and cars especially when leaving them unattended — more importantly if there is valuable merchandise involved.
Of the thefts that occurred from homes this week, three reports confirm that the doors were locked; In the other two cases, they were unlocked.
Maybe the people here are very trusting of their fellow citizens and neighbors, but even in the fictional friendly town of “Mayberry,” I’m sure locked doors would be a common sense thing.
Over the past three weeks, there has been a handful of check and credit card fraud incidents reported. This week, one case of check fraud and one case of debit fraud was reported. It’s surprising that both of these cases occurred in locations outside of LaGrange — in Marietta, Ga and Salt Lake City, Utah.
The possibilities of this happening could be that someone copied their routing and account number from a check or the card information from the credit card given to them as payment over the phone, online, or through mail. Who knows? A good mental note that everyone should make is to treat your check account and card numbers like you treat your Social Security number — be careful who you give it to.
Alternative methods of payments like money orders and purchasing gift cards to make purchases online would reduce the chances of becoming victim to fraud and identity theft.
All of these incidents could be reduced, but the HB-1176 is providing a huge barrier.
The police departments and other public safety officials do a a tremendous job at stopping these crimes and capturing these people, however, with the passing of the HB-1176 in July it is making their job more difficult. The HB-1176 gives less punishment to those crimes that are less violent, thus putting these criminals who commit burglaries and thefts back onto the streets more quickly. There needs be more repercussions for these criminals so that they are not getting off easily and will not have even the smallest thought of ever committing any other crime.
The HB-1176 does not have to be a barrier in the reduction of crime. The community can help officers stop these things from happening by locking up, being smart and aware. Don’t make it easy for someone to steal your shine this holiday season.