The Edmond Sun

December 2, 2013

Sheriff: Holiday crooks to get lump of coal

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel has a message for holiday crooks: “Criminals will be getting a lump of coal for Christmas.”

Burglary patrols and warrant sweeps began Monday and will continue through Jan. 1, part of an effort by the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office to target criminal activity associated with the holidays, specifically burglaries and thefts, in high crime areas throughout the county, Whetsel said Monday.

The effort will include high visibility patrols in these areas in an attempt to deter crime, Whetsel said. The agency’s fugitive squad also will sweep these areas in an attempt to arrest fugitives with active warrants.

“Unfortunately, during the holidays criminals take specific aim at victimizing people through burglaries and thefts,” Whetsel said. “We will do our part to reverse this trend.”

Jenny Monroe, spokeswoman for the Edmond Police Department, said the agency regularly monitors crime patterns and makes personnel adjustments as needed. Having officers assigned to districts throughout the city means they are familiar with the areas and able to detect unusual activity.

That’s exactly what happened Nov. 19. As previously reported by The Sun Edmond Police Officer Jason Rigsby was on patrol in the area of Faircloud Drive and Strayhorn and spotted a vehicle he had not seen before. Rigsby’s actions let to the recovery of numerous items linked to several alleged auto burglaries in the area.

Monroe urged Edmond residents to take the usual holiday-related home burglary precautions, and to look out for homes that may be unoccupied due to travel. Precautions include:

• Make your home look occupied, and make it difficult to break in;

• Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed. Even if it is for a short time, lock your doors;

• Leave lights on when you go out. If you are going to be away for any length of time, connect some lamps to automatic timers to turn them on in the evening and off during the day;

• Keep your garage door closed and locked;

• Don’t allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or fliers build up while you are away. Arrange with the Post Office to hold your mail, or arrange for a friend or neighbor to take them regularly;

• Push-button locks on doorknobs are easy for burglars to open. Install deadbolt locks on all your outside doors;

• Use curtains on garage and basement windows;

• When moving into a new home, have all locks changed; and

• Trim trees and shrubs so that they cannot be used as hiding places for intruders.

Regarding Black Friday weekend, Monroe said there was no unusual crime in Edmond related to the biggest shopping weekend of the season.