LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - In its 2018 Crime Report, Lake Charles Police reported that property crimes like burglary and theft, accounted for over half of the crime in the city. That number was down 5% from 2017, but Chief Shawn Caldwell hopes their free Safe & Secure Program can help lower it even more.
Through this program, LCPD Property Crimes detectives and Community Policing officers will schedule a time meet with the property owner and complete a security check, including an inspection of both the inside and outside of the property to advise property owners of where improvements can be made in order to make their location a less likely target for a burglar.
“We have lots of experience investigating burglaries, so we use all of our experience to point out weak spots in home security," Sergeant Kirt Farquhar, a detective with the Lake Charles Police Property Crimes Division, said. “On the outside of the homes we are looking for lighting, we are looking for anything that is obstructing the views of the windows or doors. We are looking for voids that stay dark at night. Even if you have a light you can have dark areas.”
Farquhar says while home security cameras are great, he knows some cannot afford them. He says making some adjustments can potentially help prevent a burglary. He says doors and windows are the points of entry; he suggests sash locks, dowel rods, or charlie bars on windows while stressing the importance of not overestimating the strength of your doors.
“That seems to be the most common thing,” Farquhar said. “These casements don’t actually have much strength, so by getting a specific type of strike plate, which is sold at almost all hardware stores and box stores, you can add a lot of strength to your door and really make your lock work for you.”
He says these strike plates can range anywhere from $10 to $30 depending on where you buy them.
“They’ll break the door before they break the doorframe when you have this,” Farquhar said.
He also recommends documenting your property.
“If expensive items are stolen, we will need the make, model, and serial number,” Farquhar said. “We can show them how to mark property if it doesn’t have serial numbers on it. For jewelry, we will need a documented description of it. ‘A gold ring’ is going to be hard for me to find, so if can describe it really well, then it will be a lot easier for me to find.”
“Not only does it make your home more secure, but we are also going to provide some ideas on how to catalog all of your property so that should, god forbid, you become a victim of one of these crimes, maybe we can recover it.” Chief Shawn Caldwell said. “We work a lot of burglaries. From homes and businesses to cars. So we always ask everybody to do your best to secure your stuff. Lock your cars, hide your valuables, don’t leave them out in the open even if it is locked because it only takes a smashed window for someone to take your stuff.”
For more information about the Safe & Secure Program, or to schedule a home or business check or to schedule a speaking engagement, contact Sgt. Farquhar by calling 337-491-1520.