SHERIFF BACKS COUNTY-WIDE NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH PROGRAMS

SHERIFF BACKS COUNTY-WIDE NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH PROGRAMS

On the heels of a recent string of burglaries in the Radium Springs area, Doña Ana County Sheriff Todd Garrison is appealing to neighborhoods throughout Doña Ana County to band together against crimes of this nature.

The incidents north of Las Cruces aren’t the only areas of the county that are being hit by burglars, notes Garrison, who suggests residents form Neighborhood Watch programs in the areas that don’t have them, or become involved in already established groups.

“Crime prevention programs like Neighborhood Watch are a proven and effective means to substantially reduce not only the incidence of residential burglaries in a specific area, but other crimes as well,” Garrison said. “An alert community is a safe community.”

The Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department has a division dedicated to community policing efforts like Neighborhood Watch. The officers of that division offer several suggestions to residents to lessen the chances of their house getting hit by burglars:

1. Keep all doors and windows closed and securely fastened. Doors should have deadbolt locks with a one-inch throw, and reinforced strike plates secured to the door frame with three-inch screws.
2. Secure sliding-glass doors with a metal rod or piece of plywood in the track. Install vertical bolts when possible.
3. Always lock the door to an attached garage. Don’t rely on an automatic garage door opener for security.
4. Create the illusion you are home by using timers on your lights, radios and/or televisions. Making your home look occupied, even when no one is home, will deter criminals.
5. Keep shrubbery trimmed from doorways and windows.
6. Rural residents with little or no outside lighting should consider installing motion lights for added security, and to alert you when someone is on your property after dark.

Garrison also suggests engraving valuable property like electronics or firearms with your driver’s license number and a code word, preferably in two separate locations on the item.

“Often, investigations get delayed because the property that is stolen can’t be identified after it’s left the residence,” he said.

Another precaution is to take photos of your valuables and keep those photos, along with a list of your property, in a secure location somewhere other than your home.

“Our department takes investigations of all crimes seriously, but the ones that happen in the home are especially troublesome,” Garrison said. “There is no reason someone should not feel secure in their own home.”

The Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department offers assistance to any neighborhood in the county looking to form a Neighborhood Watch program. For more information on how to start one in your area, or to request a presentation by the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department, contact Deputy Michelle Ugalde, at michelleu@donaanacounty.org or at the main office at (575) 525-2215.