July, August problem months for home burglaries

Before leaving home for summer vacation, residents should protect their houses from burglars, police warn.

Empty houses are prime targets for burglaries during warm-weather months, said Richmond County sheriff’s Lt. Pat Young, of the property crimes division. Some residents do not take basic precautions such as locking doors and setting security systems, he said.

Reports of home break-ins during July and August are some of the highest of the year, according to Richmond County crime reports an­alyzed by The Augusta Chronicle.

The Chronicle analyzed more than 15,000 sheriff’s office reports of residential burglaries between June 25, 2008, and June 25, 2013. Overall, the number of burglaries averaged 255 each month for the five-year period.

August was the worst month for home break-ins in 2009 and 2010. It tied for the fourth-worst month in 2011 and was second in 2012, just three incidents shy of January’s total.

July was above average for every year except 2012, when the fewest total home burglaries were reported of the years analyzed.

“Always take the normal safeguards whether it’s winter or summer,” Young said.

The Chronicle’s analysis showed that 12,106 burglaries were by forced entry and 3,470 were without forced entry.

Burglars look for any signs that residents aren’t home, said Michelle Boykins, the spokeswoman for the National Crime Prevention Council. During the peak of summer, neighbors can vacation at the same time, leaving few watchful eyes on a street.
“Sometimes, we get lax or focus so much on where we’re going that we forget about protecting the home we are going to come back to,” Boykins said.

Residents can register for the sheriff’s office home watch program before leaving town. A deputy patrolling the area will check on the house several times a day, Young said.

BEFORE YOU
GO OUT OF TOWN

• Ask a neighbor to collect mail and newspapers.

• Set lights to timers.

• Don’t leave trash can on the curb.

• Don’t post vacation plans on Facebook or other social media.

• Secure windows and doors.

• Set the security system if you have one.

• Keep the grass cut and landscaping tended.

• Make sure all house entrances are well-lit.

• Leave a spare key with a neighbor, friend or family member.

• Shut the garage door.

Sources: Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, National Crime Prevention Council

HOME WATCH

Before leaving for vacation, sign up for the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office home watch program. Call the records bureau at (706) 821-1010.

BY THE MONTH

July August

2009 260 309

2010 388 390

2011 291 291

2012 250 261

Burglaries in June were above average in 2010 and 2011 but below average in 2009 and 2012.

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