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Rural crime prevention is a team sport
One of the beauties of rural life is the solitude it offers for those who prefer their peace and quiet.
Unfortunately, that solitude offers opportunity for those who want to use that isolation to enrich themselves at the expense of unsuspecting rural residents.
The Red Willow County Sheriff's Office wants to do what it can to solve rural crimes, and, more importantly, prevent incidents like burglaries, thefts and criminal mischief.
Resources are limited, of course, so the sheriff's office, like all law enforcement agencies, depends on the public to watch out for neighbors, report suspicious activity and takes steps to make things harder for criminals.
Among some other suggestions:
* Avoid penning or enclosing animals for long periods of time.
* Remove loading chutes from accessible loading sites.
* Periodically check fences to make sure they have not been cut or rewired.
* Report strange vehicles and strangers on your land.
* Avoid head counting animals at routine times.
* Brand animals, if possible.
* Maintain a record of any animal scars and deformities, peculiarities, marks and characteristics for identification purposes.
* Immediately report animal losses to the sheriff.
* Avoid accepting checks from strangers for the sale of animals without verification.
* Regularly check field equipment, whether it is in the field or stored in a barn.
* Never leave machinery standing in the field for long periods of time.
* Remove keys from unattended machinery or a motor part.
* Mark your tools and equipment for easier identification.
* Chain unattended machinery to a barrier, tree or pole by passing a log chain through a wheel or around an axle and securing it with a case harden lock.
* When advertising machinery for sale, be alert for thieves who might respond to the ad.
* Maintain a list of emergency numbers.
* Engrave portable valuables with identification numbers.
* Request identification from salespeople and repair and service personnel who are unfamiliar to you.
* Never provide personal information to unknown callers over a telephone.
* Never provide entrance into your home to strangers.
* Remove family keepsakes and valuables to a home of a friend before vacation trips.
* When leaving home for an extended period of time, let a friend know how long you will be gone and where you can be reached in an emergency. Do not publicize your trip.
* Perhaps ask a neighbor or trusted friend or relative to do periodic checks of your property.
* When leaving for vacation, contact your local Sheriff's Office and request periodic house check patrols.
* Keep non-replaceable valuables in a safe-deposit box.
* Avoid putting your name and address on your key ring.
* Close and lock all doors on outbuildings.
* Light outbuildings at night, if possible.
Use dead-bolt locks on all entrance doors. Provide good lighting around your home. Trim or cut shrubbery from around windows and doors. Make your home look occupied by cutting the grass, raking the leaves, shoveling snow from driveway and picking up newspapers and mail. If more than one car is driven in the family, park the un-driven vehicle in the drive during the day or night. Use timers for lights and radios.