FORT BENNING, Ga. - Over the last few months, housing area larcenies have slightly increased. These larcenies are mostly opportunity crimes due to unsecured and unattended private property.

"We have a variety of initiatives focused on the McGraw larcenies investigation," said Kevin Clarke, chief of police with the Directorate of Emergency Services. "Police presence has increased in McGraw Manor, and we are using both marked and unmarked police assets. We are also having our marked units dismount and conduct walking patrols."

Clarke said most of the larcenies involve unsecured property, so DES is asking residents to lock up their homes and cars to help protect their property.

"We have been placing 'friendly reminders' on unsecured homes and cars, but beginning today we'll begin knocking on the doors of homes to alert residents regardless of the hour," he said.

Clarke said DES would also be using residents to help out, through the volunteers who have formed a neighborhood 'Crime Watch."

Larceny perpetrators are mostly looking for items that are small, expensive and can easily be converted to cash. Favorite items are cash, jewelry, guns, watches, laptop computers, VCRs, video players, CDs and other small electronic devices.

To combat the risks of larceny, DES is actively alerting residents when they observe unsecure garages, doors, vehicles and other risks -- regardless of the hour -- and offer the following tips on decreasing the threat of larceny and becoming a victim:

Crime-prevention tips for houses:
•Maintain a well-lit quarters after dark. Keep lights on in front and in back of homes. Replace burned-out light bulbs. The purpose of good lighting is to allow you to see if a threat or suspicious person is lurking in your area.

•Secure valuable property that can be easily removed.

•Call the police when you observe a stranger behaving in a suspicious manner (loitering and observing, approaching multiple residences without apparent business, or removing property from a neighbor's residence).

•Keep doors locked while inside the home.

•Close and lock windows when not at home.

•Close garage doors when not outside. Criminals can look inside and identify valuables to steal.

•Mark and/or ID valuable property serial numbers (bicycles, TVs, computers, laptops, jewelry, etc.)

•Keep an inventory of your personal property in a safe place.

Crime-prevention tips for vehicles:
•Never leave your car running or the keys in the ignition when you're away from it, even for 'just a minute.'

•Always roll up the windows and lock the car, even if it's in front of your home.

•Never leave valuables in plain view, even if your car is locked. Put them in the trunk or at least out of sight.

•When possible, remove radios and/or CD players and lock them in the trunk.

•Observe activity when a car alarm goes off. Thieves test to see if residents come out when an alarm goes off.

Page last updated Wed February 1st, 2012 at 00:00