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SHEPHERDSVILLE - You’ve lived in your home for 40 years and never had any problems.
Then, out of the blue, it happens.
Someone breaks into your home and steals your valuable jewelry, your money and even your prescription drugs. More than that, the perpetrator has stolen your sense of security.
From his 30 years of experience in the law enforcement field, Bullitt County sheriff Donnie Tinnell knows the above scenario is true. His department faces similar stories each week.
Some are property thefts but others can become more physical and result in injuries.
“People will tell you that it’s never happened to them,” said Tinnell. “And then is does. It can happen to anyone.”
The holiday season is normally a time of more burglaries of homes and vehicles. With the economy, Tinnell said break-ins are on the rise throughout the year and the holidays should be no exception.
Many of the tips offered by Tinnell are obvious but he said he often take them for granted.
The sheriff said vehicles should be locked at all times. And he said there should be no valuables which can be seen from the outside.
When shopping, he said lock all packages in the trunk.
And never leave keys inside the vehicle.
Trying to protect a home is a little more complicated but Tinnell said many of the suggestions don’t cost anything.
Keeping doors and windows locked is the easiest step, said the sheriff. Deadlocks are the best protection.
An alarm system is always beneficial, although he warned it won’t stop all home invasions.
Making sure there is plenty of exterior lighting on a home is also important.
If someone knows at the front door and then goes to the back, Tinnell said it is a good idea to let them know someone is home. Don’t open the doors but, for the most part, Tinnell said burglars do not want conflict.
They will probably ask if someone with a fictitious name is home and then leave.
Once they leave, Tinnell said people should not be ashamed of calling dispatch to report a suspicious person. While manpower may not allow tracking down every call, Tinnell said it gives police good information on what is happening.
If there is a vehicle description and a license number, that would be the best information.
Tinnell said his officers are trying to do more patrolling and special deputies have been going through the neighborhoods.
A common myth is that burglaries happen at night; however, Tinnell said most occur during the day.
It is common for thieves to drive around areas looking for targets.
When they break into homes, Tinnell said flat screen TVs are the big ticket item. Then comes the jewelry, cash, guns and drugs.
One safeguard to those who have valuables in the home is to purchase a safe and have it bolted into a floor or wall. Keeping valuables in the safe would prevent most thieves from taking those items.
Guns should always be kept in a locked safe, said Tinnell.
One goal of the sheriff is to have county pass an ordinance requiring gold and silver dealers to hold onto any items sold for several days. Pawn shops are required to hold purchases for several days and Tinnell said a similar provision would be beneficial for gold and silver.
This would give law enforcement officials time to see if the items might be stolen.
Another ordinance being approved by several cities in northern Bullitt County could also help with break-ins.
Tinnell supported the solicitation standards being considered. He said keeping track of those going door-to-door selling items would be helpful to all law enforcement.
Business owners have become knowledgeable in looking for counterfeit cash and checks, said Tinnell. But he always cautions owners to be very careful, especially during the holiday season.
A continuing problem in terms of thefts deal with trailers and other heavy equipment being sold along roadsides.
Tinnell said have these items on display with no way to secure them is an open invitation to thieves.
“I think people are a lot more aware,” Tinnell said of the public making calls on suspicious things. “People are watching. We need their help.”
If anyone is interested in setting up a neighborhood watch program, call the sheriff’s office at 543-2514.