It’s not too soon to think about Halloween crime prevention

Ron Craig, Crime Prevention/Community Policing Officer

        Although Halloween is a few weeks away, some people have already put out their decorations for the holiday. Some people go all out. These decorations can be expensive, and they are favorite targets for thieves and vandals.
        Every year, we get reports of damage and thefts of Halloween-related objects. Just like such acts involving Christmas decorations, it seems like some people get their jollies out of ruining others’ holidays.
        As in many cases involving thefts and vandalism, one simple deterrent is lighting. Criminals don’t like well-lit areas. Installing spot and flood lights can be an inexpensive way to keep away unscrupulous people who want to do harm to others’ property.
        You may think bright lights detract from the fun and enjoyment of Halloween decorations but think of ways to make bright lights look like part of the decorations, such as lighting up a fake tombstone, for example. Put your creative thinking cap on here.
        Any hardware or other store that carries hardware and electrical items offers lighting fixtures and bulbs that can be used to flood your yard with light. Some of these light fixtures have stakes built in to install them in the ground to make them more secure.
        Don’t rely on any light that may come from the decorations themselves. This is usually not a sufficient amount of light to ward off anyone up to no good.
        One type of decoration that has become popular the past few years are the inflatables. Witches, giant pumpkins and ghosts have grown in popularity recently. They are very nice to look at but can also be costly to buy and replace. They have also become popular with vandals who are set on destroying expensive decorations, many of whom take a knife to the decoration.
        It is a good idea to shut off the motor that keep these inflatables upright during the night. Yes, it means not having full enjoyment from them, but it usually curbs the urge to damage them during the nighttime hours.
        Pumpkins are a favorite of thieves who like to steal them only to smash them. This can also cause more damage if they are smashed against other property, such as a house or vehicle.
        An alert neighbor can immediately report suspicious activity, not only at Halloween time but all year long. Someone who reports such activity may save others’ property who may be next on a thief’s or vandal’s list. In fact, the next one on the list may be that very neighbor.
        If you hear a suspicious noise that may be someone stealing or damaging property, report it right away.
        Remember that old adage…an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That applies to crime prevention as well.
        This article is a public service from the Community Policing/Crime Prevention Division of the Lake Township Police Department. Township residents may obtain further information on crime prevention and public safety topics by contacting Ron Craig, crime prevention specialist/community policing officer, at 419-481-6354.


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