Law enforcement offers holiday safety tips

Published 8:20 pm Tuesday, December 19, 2017

This Christmas season, local law enforcement agencies are reminding residents of Troup County some services they provide year-round to help keep residents safe. Some of our local first responders offered a few basic tips to prevent common crimes.

Both the Troup County Sherriff’s Office and the LaGrange Police Department have security cameras for people to do internet purchase exchanges in their parking lots.

Troup County Sgt. Stewart Smith said the office has had a spot in its parking lot for months, but wants to remind residents since many do internet purchase exchanges at this time. Exchanges should be in public places, Smith said.

“Obviously it will be best to know who you are dealing with, but if you don’t, meet in a safe location, at the sheriff’s office or a well-lit public location, like a store that’s open 24 hours a day,” Smith said. “It may not be best to do it at your home, but may be safe to do in a neutral location that’s well lit, preferably during daylight hours.”

LaGrange Police Sgt. Marshall McCoy said people can exchange their purchases at the upper parking lot at the LPD. If people don’t want to meet at law enforcement agencies, any public place should also work.

“I recommend one of the law enforcement agencies be their first option, but always meet in a public place, and never meet somewhere that’s private,” McCoy said. “When you think about public places, I would not meet at a public place off the interstate where somebody could snatch your item and then jump back on the interstate and be gone. I would encourage people to meet at in town locations where they typically see police officers.”

In LaGrange, the police department is adding cameras to public places in the city that are seen as high-risk areas, according to McCoy.

“We do have some cameras set up at various places,” he said. “We don’t announce where we’ll put up our cameras.”

Additionally, the TCSO, the LPD, the Hogansville Police Department and the West Point Police Department all can do security checks on homes when residents leave on holiday. All four departments have this service year-long.

The TCSO does checks for the unincorporated parts of Troup County, Smith said.

“If somebody is going out of town, they can call us if they live in the county and let the clerks know that they’re going out of town. We’ll do a security check, and then we enter that in our computer system. The deputies check it as many times as they can throughout their shifts,” Smith said. “We just come by the house and make sure the doors are locked, the windows are secured, and there’s nobody that doesn’t need to be there at the home. All we ask is that they call us before they leave, give us the time and date they’re leaving and an approximate time they’re returning. We also ask them when they get home to give us a call back and let us know that they’re home so we take it out of the system.”

McCoy said other things residents can do when they leave is make it look like they are still at home, such as having a neighbor parking their car in the driveway.

“It’s just important that you have a good contact number,” he said. “You can leave lights on. You can set something on a timer where a lamp come on goes back off. Anything you can do to make it appear that you’re home is always great. That comes to getting to know your neighbor.”

To set up a security check with the TCSO, call (706) 883-1616. To set up a check with the LPD, call (706) 883-2603. Hogansville residents can come to the police station to request a check or call (706) 637-6648. For the WPPD, call (706) 645-3528.