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Protect your home from potential thieves

By: Rachel Zirin, Senior Reporter
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Whether you grew up in Folsom or you are just moving here, the city’s reputation has a pretty safe one. Crime is low, schools are great, miles and miles of bike trails, good shopping – what more could you need in a town to raise a family?

As each city grows, so does the crime.

Each day, the Folsom Police Department posts the city’s crime log on their website which is detailed as to who, where, when and what was stolen. Each day someone’s home or car is broken into for a variety of reasons, but a common factor seems to be unlocked vehicle doors and home garages.

When people feel safe, it’s not uncommon for them to leave their garage doors up while no one is outside or to leave the front door unlocked while inside, but when this is the case, people are basically inviting someone in to rob their home.

Sergeant Andrew Bates, urges the community to be aware and take every precaution to make it harder for burglaries to occur.

“What we really want people to do is to make it really hard to break into their house and have it be easier in other cities,” Bates said. “The crime rate has mirrored statewide averages. We have seen a slight increase in property crime statewide and there are a number of speculations why that has occurred. It has been a lot harder to tell if the crime rate is truly going up or down.”

Bates said it is important people know that anyone can be a victim.

“Even though Folsom is overall safer than the rest of the state, people can still be victimized,” he said. “If items of value are left in the car, unfortunately, there are people who will come through and look for things. If they have to break that window, they will. If the car is unlocked, unfortunately the owner has made it very easy for the criminal and they are going to lose whatever item is left in the car.”

The property crime rate in California per 100,000 population rose from 2014 to 2015, but still remains 2.9 percent lower than 2010, and about half the rate of 20 years ago, according to the California Department of Justice. Statistics for 2016 have not been released at this time.

There are no specific areas in Folsom that have a higher crime rate than another, according to Bates. He said the police department evaluates this through crime mapping and they see a fluctuation between areas.

“We see more car burglaries in the larger parking lots. Sometimes we see them on residential streets, but we don’t see a concentration of them; they happen more on a widespread,” Bates said.

When it comes to making sure you have eyes watching around your home, security cameras and alarms can help, but only after the damage is done.

“We see mixed results with security alarms and camera systems,” he said. “With cameras, we are dealing with it after the fact. If they can take the precautions before hand to prevent the theft, that’s much better than helping us catch them.”

Bates advises to keep an eye out for suspicious people walking and driving through neighborhoods and it is also a good idea to form a neighborhood watch.

Police Volunteer Coordinator Jessica Hess can be reached at jhess@folsom.ca.us and can assist in starting a neighborhood watch or directing anyone to an existing one.

There are maybe ways a criminal could break into a vehicle or home, but there are also many way to help protect and prevent your vehicle or home from being broken into. The following are some helpful tips:

  • Lock vehicle; lock all doors of home – at all times
  • Lock all windows
  • Remove all valuable as well as non-valuable items from vehicle such as bags, purses, computers, keys, tools, etc
  • Install deadbolt lock on front door and any surrounding doors
  • Make home look occupied when away
  • Stop mail/newspaper delivery when out of town
  • Make a spot for post office to leave package out of site
  • Install or use existing home alarm system
  • Never leave key under doormat or in a plant
  • Keep an eye out for any suspicious activity
  • Don’t leave personal information in vehicle
  • Don’t leave garage door opener in plain sight
  • Use common sense

For more information on protecting your home, contact the Folsom Police Department at 916-355-7230 or go to folsom.ca.us.