Theft is consistently among the top five most reported crimes in Benton County. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to help prevent becoming a victim of theft. Theft is often a crime of opportunity. A thief sees something of value left unattended or unsecured and steals it. Taking the simple step of securing your property will prevent a large percentage of would-be thieves. Locking outbuildings, locking vehicles, putting away easily taken items (bicycles, lawn mowers, tools, chain saws, etc.) inside a locked shed, taking keys out of vehicles, or any other actions that will make it difficult for a thief to take your property are the best defense against theft.
Conceal any items of value from easy view. Most thieves will look into a car or building to see if they observe anything that is worth the risk of going after. Remove any and all valuables from your vehicle or keep them concealed from view. Use window treatments to discourage thieves from looking into your home. It can be surprising how quickly work can spread of a person keeping cash in their home if the wrong person finds out. Consider hiding items of value in unusual places. Thieves and burglars learn the patterns that most people follow. For example, many people keep jewelry and money in a bedroom or electronics in an office or living room.
Keep the area around your home and yard well lit and clear of things that obstruct viewing. Thieves thrive in dark places or areas hidden from view. Install motion lights in your yard and keep shrubs or trees trimmed so as to allow easy sight lines around your property.
Keep documentation of the make, model, and serial number of easily stolen items such as firearms, electronics, tools, and implements. If your property does get stolen, law enforcement can enter the description of that property into a nation-wide database using the serial number you provide. Having detailed information on your property available for law enforcement in the event of theft can greatly increase the odds of law enforcement recovering your property.
Finally, get to know your neighbors and consider forming a neighborhood watch group. Having neighbors who are actively watching out for each other and aware of what would be suspicious activity is great step toward making your neighborhood a safer place. If you should see something suspicious occurring, be certain to call law enforcement right away!