Law enforcement officials are encouraging home and vehicle owners to take active preventative measures to protect their property from thieves after a recent spike in burglaries.

Del Rio Police Department officers have experienced an increase in building, home and vehicle burglaries through the recent summer months, said Chief Fred Knoll. The department responded to 14 building and home burglaries, and to 13 vehicle burglaries in July, according to a police report. Since July 31 they have responded to nine burglaries.

“We would like to inform our community of these unfortunate incidents and provide several tips that could prevent them from becoming a victim,” Knoll said.

Police recommend that residents make efforts to keep their home looking occupied by keeping an inside or outside light on at all times. They also urge the public to keep doors, gates, garages and windows closed and locked at all times, even when they are home during the day.

Although many vacationers are tempted to post their most jealousy-inducing photos on Facebook or Instagram, Knoll discourages them from doing so, as it might tip off thieves that your home is empty.

“Do not advertise on social media that you are out of your home on vacation,” Knoll said. “The photographs can be uploaded once you return.”

Bulkier outdoor items, like lawnmowers, barbecues and bicycles, are not immune from theft, Knoll said. These items should be kept locked inside a shed or garage when not in use, he said.

While out of town, Knoll encourages Del Rioans to arrange for a friend or neighbor to watch their residences every day. Do not, however, leave a spare key under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes or other “secret” hiding places, he said.

Most car thieves are encouraged by items left in plain view, Knoll said. Police officers discourage people from keeping phones, wallets, purses and other valuables unattended in vehicles.

Knoll also encourages burglary victims to follow a specific protocol for their safety.

“Do not enter, the perpetrator may still be inside. Call the police immediately and do not touch anything or clean up until the police have inspected for evidence,” Knoll said. “Note the descriptions of any suspicious persons and report any suspicious vehicles seen in the area.”

Officers encourage the citizens to keep a detailed inventory of their valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and original value, and serial numbers, in case they are burglarized.

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