Newton, NC—The Newton Police Department urges area residents to protect valuables in their homes, vehicles, and outbuildings.

Newton officers have received increased reports of break-ins during the past several weeks. Residents can take simple steps to avoid becoming victims:

» 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.

» Keep your garage door closed and locked.

» Don’t allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or flyers to build up while you are away. Arrange for the Post Office to hold your mail or for a friend or neighbor to collect deliveries regularly.

» Check locks on doors and windows and replace them with secure devices as necessary.

» Pushbutton locks on doorknobs are easy for burglars to open. Install deadbolt locks on all your outside doors.

» Sliding glass doors are vulnerable. Special locks are available for better security.

» Don’t share your vacation plans on social media.

» Lawn mowers, barbecues, and bicycles are best stored out of sight.

» Always lock your garden sheds and garages.

» Use curtains on garage and basement windows.

» Have adequate exterior lighting. A motion-sensitive light is recommended for backyards.

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

» Avoid storing valuables in your vehicle and always keep them out of plain view when temporarily in your vehicle. Avoid storing keys in vehicles.

» Close vehicle windows and sunroofs.

» Always lock vehicle doors.

If you come home to find an unexplained open or broken window or door, do not enter your home or vehicle. Use a cellphone or a neighbor’s phone to call the Newton Police Department at 828-465-7430 or 911 if it is an emergency. Do not touch anything or clean up until after officers have completed their investigation.

Other precautions you should take include never leaving keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes, or other “secret” hiding places—burglars know where to look for hidden keys. Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase, original value, and serial numbers. Keep a copy of your inventory in a safe place away from home—this is also a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters. Make a photographic or video record of valuable objects, heirlooms and antiques. Your insurance company can assist with making and keeping your inventory.

“We want our citizens to be smart and vigilant while keeping themselves and their families safe,” Newton Police Chief Vidal Sipe said. “Taking just a few easy precautions can prevent someone from being targeted by thieves. We encourage everyone to practice being a good neighbor—if you notice anything suspicious in your neighborhood, call the police right away.”

If you have any questions or would like more information, please call the Newton Police Department at 828-465-7430.