St. John Sheriff offers holiday safety tips

Published 11:45 pm Friday, December 19, 2014

By Monique Roth

LAPLACE — Residents are on high alert and law enforcement officials are working to arrest a suspect after a series of bold home break-ins across St. John and St. Charles Parishes.

The four home burglaries and one attempted break-in have authorities in the River Region urging residents to be aware of their surroundings at all times.

The incidents started in October, with the last four crimes spanning the course of just two weeks in neighboring St. John and St. Charles Parishes.

“The best weapon you have against home invasion is education,” St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre said. “With just a little time and precaution, you can make your home safe for the holidays.”

Tregre said residents should take extra safety precautions during the Christmas holidays, as their homes may be more vulnerable than at other times of the year because of expensive merchandise in their homes and traveling plans often leaving homes unattended.

Tregre said criminals have been know to follow around delivery trucks to watch merchandise being delivered to homes in attempts to steal it, and it is important to think of that when ordering gifts online if you know you won’t be home for deliveries.

Additionally, Tregre advises residents not to dispose of large boxes, such as ones a television would come in, outside of their trashcans. In doing do, Tregre said, residents are advertising the new, often expensive merchandise in their homes that may be attractive to burglars.

Instead, Tregre said, large boxes should be cut up and placed inside garbage cans.

For families who will be traveling during the holidays, Tregre said “timers are outstanding” for turning on and off lights and electronics, such as televisions, which can create noise in a home.

If travel plans are on a family’s agenda, Tregre said “you need someone tending to your home.

“If you don’t know your neighbor, get to know your neighbor,” he said, adding it is imperative to utilize a safe social media strategy during traveling as well.

“Don’t tell the world you’re going out of town,” Tregre said of social media postings and photos.

According to the Sheriff’s Office website, home protection tips for throughout the year include always locking your doors and windows, installation of a home security and/or surveillance system, installing bright outdoor lighting with motion detection, trimming bushes and trees so burglars can’t hide and so branches don’t block lighting and investing in high-security locks and solid entry doors.

Tregre said it is important to have an action plan for your family in case intruders enter, and to remember not to fight over property with an intruder.

Safety, Tregre said, is more important than possessions.