To paraphrase Sir Robert Peel, widely considered the father of modern policing, "The police are tasked full time with what all citizens should be concerned with part time." Even though Sir Peel lived in the late 19th century, he was saying what modern police still say to the public: The primary responsibility for an individual's safety and property falls to that individual. The vast majority of police work involves responding and investigating after a crime has been committed. The best way to fight crime is to prevent it from happening in the first place, and here is where private citizens can take an active role.
Almost all of the victims of overnight thefts from cars had GPS units, cell phones, and other valuables in plain view, and the cars were often unlocked. Securing vehicles, moving valuables out of sight, locking doors and removing keys greatly reduces the likelihood of a break in. Houses and apartments should be kept locked, especially at night. The police have had several cases where an intoxicated individual mistakenly entered a stranger's unsecured home late at night. Such a situation could easily end in tragedy.
Here are some other suggestions to help control crime in Platteville:
• Get a license for bicycles. Recovered bikes with a license are almost always returned to their owners. Non-licensed bikes are almost never returned.
• Use tamper-resistant locks on storage units and sheds. Thousands of dollars in property have been stolen because the owner tried to save money with a cheap padlock.
• Get to know neighbors, and watch out for each other. Be courteous and report suspicious activities. Bring up concerns such as late night noise with neighbors before reporting them to the police.
• Record and photograph valuables, record serial numbers, especially electronics and firearms.
Include a description of what makes the item uniquely yours, such as a scratch or dent, or hidden identifiers.
• Install motion lights
• When traveling, have a neighbor or police check your property. Leave emergency contact information. Don't leave phone messages or notes on your door announcing you are not home.
Put interior lights on a timer, giving the impression someone is home.