Thursday, December 26th, 2013
By Kathy Thompson
Season ripe for increase in burglaries
  'Tis the season for gifts and parties - and a time when burglaries tend to increase.
Celina interim police chief Cal Freeman advises residents to keep their doors and windows locked, blinds or shades drawn, porch lights illuminated and a TV or radio on when they're away.
"With the holidays on us, there are a lot of people who have presents in their homes and people know that," he said. "Residents need to keep an eye out for strangers in and around their homes and neighborhoods. Anything suspicious, they should call us. We're more than happy to come out."
Several reports of home invasions were taken Dec. 20 by law enforcement. A prowler was reported in the 6000 block of Idlewild Road, Celina, about 6 p.m., and a back door was damaged and a home entered on Opal Drive in Coldwater just after 7 p.m.
Sheriff's reports also show a home in the Mercelina Mobile Home Park in Celina was burglarized Dec. 21 and a TV was missing. On the same day an intruder attempted to break into a home in the 1100 block of Kingswood Court, Celina.
Freeman said some unlocked cars have also been broken into around the city and he urges owners to lock their vehicles and not leave valuables inside.
Sheriff Jeff Grey urged home and business owners to make sure their doors are sturdy and solid, and reliable locks and deadbolts are recommended. He also suggests installing a peephole on doors to screen visitors.
If the home has a sliding glass door, placing a steel bar or pole in the track keeps the door from being lifted and opened, Grey said.
The sheriff advises residents not to open a door to strangers. If they ask for help, make them wait outside while you call, he added. He also recommends asking service people such as plumbers and electricians to show identification before allowing them to enter.
Grey and Freeman suggested those who are leaving their home should keep lights on permanently or use timers, and have the newspaper and mail collected if the departure is for more than one day. Other good deterrents are alarm systems, lighting each entryway, motion sensors and floodlights.
Property owners should trim shrubs and bushes so no one can hide behind them and ensure trees and fences don't conceal doors, windows and walkways, they said.
Never leave tools outside and make sure ladders are never left within reach, Freeman said.
"Just a few steps helps," he said.
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