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    Law enforcement offers tips on protecting property during the holidays

    Take advantage of lcoal house watch programs

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    As area residents prepare to embark on their holiday journey, local law enforcement agencies want to remind folks of increased neighborhood patrols as Santa is not the only one watching.

    Offering a variety of tips to keep homes and belongings safe, the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office and Lubbock Police Department will also offer house watch programs in an effort to stave off would-be burglars.

    Lt. Bryan Taylor, LSO spokesman, had a message for those looking to break the law: “We’ll catch you.”

    With annual house watch program Operation St. Nick in full force, he said deputies will be out checking on properties as every year it proves successful. And, he added, folks should remain vigilant and know their surroundings.

    Using information on high-risk areas based on previous calls, officials are able to target those locations to thwart potential criminal activity.

    To register for the program, he said, county residents can call the sheriff’s office non-emergency number, 775-1601. During the call, officials will obtain the resident’s information, including a detailed list of vehicles that are allowed on the property and lights that should remain on. If circumstance permit, Taylor said, deputies will drive by about two to three times a day and will stop and investigate if unexpected visitors are spotted.

    “If they’re not on the approved list,” he said, “we’re going to find out who they are and what they’re doing there. And if they’re not approved or not supposed to be there, chances are they’re going to jail.”

    House watch

    Similar to LSO’s program, LPD offers a house watch that can be accessed through the department’s smartphone app, website or by calling the non-emergency number, 775-2865.

    To access the feature on www.lubbockpolice.com, users can find the feature under the “CopLogic” selection at the bottom of the page. The option can then be found under the “file report” option. If you are placing your home on a watch through the app, the “submit online report” selection will bring you to the “file report” option on the LPD website.

    “If you’re going on vacation or you’re going to be gone for several days,” said Tiffany Pelt, LPD spokeswoman, “you can always do that, and our officers are happy to go out and check the area and make sure nothing looks suspicious.”

    Pelt and Taylor said people should not post their holiday trips on social media, such as Facebook. That lets people know what days a home will be vacant and for how long, Pelt said.

    Another way people like to advertise their holiday fun, both officials said, is through the display of Christmas trees and gifts.

    With criminals surveilling areas, Pelt said presents should not be visible. Taylor agreed and said shades and curtains should remain closed if the house is unoccupied.

    “They’re looking for the easy score — ‘what can I do to get in get out quick and unseen.’ You’ve got to make it difficult for them,” he said.

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