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Neighborhood watch offers safety tips

Neighborhood watch offers safety tips
PASCALLE BIPPERT Norman Owen addresses the crowd during the July 13 Neighborhood Watch meeting.

A newly organized Neighborhood Watch group for Precinct 3 met July 13 in the Cowboy Church July in La Vernia. This group was organized in response to concerns expressed by residents of Precinct 3.

Recent reports of suspicious activity in the area led Constable George Scoggins to organize a Facebook group for Pct. 3. Following the interest on social media, a public meeting was called to include the sheriff and other public officials.

Helpful information was shared to some 20 residents in attendance.

Norman Owen advised anyone who is concerned about suspicious activity in their neighborhood to call the non-emergency not 911.

Call the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office at 830-393-2535 to report incidents as they are happening: If you suspect something, say something.

Scoggins advised residents to not carry firearms around any suspicious individuals they might see. La Vernia Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Paul Brunner advised the same thing. He said anyone who might be carrying a firearm might get arrested if they are impeding an investigation or getting in the way of an active scene.

Other helpful hints that were suggested by law enforcement officers are:

¢Engrave your firearms, TVs, and computers with your choice of numbers. Perhaps using a birth date plus the last four digits of your license number was suggested. Do not put your social security number or full license number on the engraving.

¢Record the serial numbers of your valuables on a flash drive that is kept in a separate, secure location.

¢Take pictures of your valuables, the serial numbers and your jewelry. This will help police identify your items, plus help file a claim with your insurance company.

¢Rent a safe deposit box at a bank for your jewelry.

¢Engrave or stamp a serial number or identification number on your saddles and tack. These items are being reported stolen lately.

¢Put your house address in bold numbers on the front of your property so law enforcement can find your house in your neighborhood. Unmarked houses are harder to find and precious time is lost if police have to hunt for you.

Neighborhood Watch signs are available for $10 each at Texas Signs and Graphics. These signs include grommets making them easy to hang on a fence.

Be your neighbors’ eyes. Keep an eye out for your neighbors’ property and ask them to return the favor.

Use your cell phone to take pictures of suspicious activity (but be safe), vehicles, or persons.

If someone stops on your property and acts suspiciously, take out your phone and get a picture of them, their vehicle and license plate.

Bexar County Constable Mike Lacey advised the residents not to approach the burglars.

“They may want to get revenge and come back to hurt you and your family. Don’t show them your face. Don’t put yourself in jeopardy,” Lacey said. “The majority of burglaries happen between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.”

Norman Owen advised residents to look out for vehicles that have magnetic signs for lawn service, paint services, or other contracting services. They may pull up to someone’s property and walk around the yard acting like they are sizing up a job, when all they are doing is casing the property to see what they can take.

Call authorities if you suspect that someone may be posing as a contractor, or call the contractor’s office number or ask for references before sharing information.

Also, don’t leave your keys in your lawnmowers and other vehicles. Some contractors are required to post their Texas operating license numbers, so if that information is not included on the magnetic sign, that is a tip-off.

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