Recently, several of our communities have experienced an uptick in burglaries due to organized criminal activity. These burglaries are highly coordinated and often the result of extensive surveillance and scouting prior to entry. Working alongside members of law enforcement, my office has launched a task force to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes. However, until these criminals are arrested, the best way homeowners and residents can assist is to take actions that deter criminals from targeting their homes. To help, we are offering some steps everyone can take to keep themselves and their property safe:
- Take time to inspect your home and do a walkthrough to double-check all doors and windows are securely fastened and have locks that work.
- Do not hide a spare key around your house, leave a spare key at the Indian Hill Ranger Station.
- If you have an alarm system, make sure it is armed whenever you are away from home, for any period, or asleep. An unarmed alarm provides zero protection.
- Activate any audible sounds for your alarm system! Criminals hate attention, and a silent alarm does not provide the same deterrent as one that makes a loud noise
- Consider adding glass breakage detectors to windows and sliding doors on ground level.
- Ensure that any video surveillance equipment is directed to notify you directly fi something is happening at your home. Call police immediately if you are notified of suspicious activity and be sure to save all footage for future prosecution.
- Keep your home illuminated with both interior and exterior lights. Ensure that light from exterior lights extends outward from the house in all directions and remains illuminated or is motion-activated. For interior light, consider using rotating timers or smart home features to simulate activity in the house
- Store valuables in a safe that is either bolted to the floor or in the wall of your home. An unsecured safe provides less protection and can be carried off to crack later.
If you are planning to be away from your home for an extended period of time, such as on a vacation or planned trip, consider taking additional precautions:
- Be non-specific when setting out-of-office messages on e-mail or voicemail; use terms like “unavailable” and “taking time off” as opposed to “vacation” or “out of town.”
- Avoid making public posts to social media that indicate that you are away from the area (wait until you get back to show off all your great pictures).
- Pause deliveries to your home while you are away or have a friend or neighbor stop by daily to get the newspaper, mail or packages.
- For longer absences, notify the Indian Hill Rangers by filling out a vacation slip and dropping it off at the Ranger Station or faxing it to (513) 561-9459.
- When possible, give a trusted friend, neighbor, or family member a spare key and have them check in on your house or act as a house-sitter. This ensures that anyone watching the property sees people exiting and entering.
Above all else, be vigilant about your neighborhood and surroundings! If you see something that looks suspicious or out of the ordinary, call the police. This can include individuals going door to door, occupied cars parked for extended periods of time outside of homes, or unknown individuals walking around back and side yards of homes. When criminals know they’re being watched and noticed, they’re far more likely to leave in search of different targets. Also, be sure to follow the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office on Facebook and Instagram (@hamiltoncountyprosecutor) for the latest updates on these criminal rings.
Wishing you and your family the best,
Melissa Powers, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney
Chuck Schlie, Chief of Police