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Police offer tips to prevent property damage

Published 9:34am Wednesday, April 3, 2013

BY STEPHEN H. COWLES/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Playback58@gmail.com

The windshield of Betty Howe’s Tahoe in Franklin was damaged some time last Wednesday night by an unknown person or persons. Her husband, Dan Howe, added there was some minor damage to the car’s hood where the brick hit after bouncing off of the windshield. -- SUBMITTED/DAN HOWE
The windshield of Betty Howe’s Tahoe in Franklin was damaged some time last Wednesday night by an unknown person or persons. Her husband, Dan Howe, added there was some minor damage to the car’s hood where the brick hit after bouncing off of the windshield. — SUBMITTED/DAN HOWE

FRANKLIN—While there’s been no uptick in vandalism, local law enforcement spokesmen are offering some ideas on how to prevent such wanton property damage. Franklin Police Spokesman Lt. Whitt and Southampton County Sheriff’s spokesman Maj. Gene H. Drewery made these suggestions:

• Exterior lighting if available
• Restricting access with perimeter fencing or cables
• Motion lighting
• Alarm systems
• Video surveillance
• Keep home and vehicle locked
• Keep items of value secured
• Develop a relationship with neighbors to watch each other’s property. Drewery added that The Sheriff’s Office does offer a security watch for limited periods of time such as for vacation.

Vandals are no respecters of property, as Dan Howe of Franklin has discovered this past week.

“Last Wednesday, somebody had taken one of my landscaping bricks and threw it into the windshield of my wife’s Tahoe,” said Howe, who lives in what he calls “a fairly nice neighborhood behind Franklin High School.”

No one who lives near the Howes heard or saw anything, said he, adding that the situation became worse. While the damaged car was away being repaired, the couple got to borrow some friends’ vehicle. That was dented sometime Saturday night. Again, no idea who would do such a thing.

“I don’t feel I did anything to deserve it,” said Howe, who added he’ll be doing some of things listed above to prevent any future incidents.

His residence wasn’t likely a factor, said Franklin Police spokesman Lt. Tim Whitt

“No one area is more susceptible than another,” he said, listing the following incidents just from the past week as examples.

• March 28: Chevrolet Tahoe window and hood damaged by brick in the 100 block of Gillette Court; Grey Pontiac window broken out, 200 South Main Street; and Black Ford SUV window broken with brick, 800 block of Gardner Street.

• March 30: Window broken out of Chevrolet Tahoe, 400 block of West Third Street

• March 31: Vehicle door frame damaged by a brick, 100 block of Gillette Court

“In 2012, we had 245 property damage/destroy property/vandalism calls, this covers all types of property damage, not just criminal mischief,” said Whitt, who added that in almost always juvenile males are the people doing such damage.

“There’s not really such a thing as vandalism, he said. “It’s destruction of property or property damage. If I throw an egg on your car as a prank and it damages the paint that would be criminal mischief resulting in property damage. If I come in your house and intentionally break your table that is destruction of property. It’s the same thing really, just different circumstances.”

Though he didn’t have per capita figures available, Southampton County Sheriff’s spokesman Maj. Gene H. Drewery did say that vandalism/destruction of property accounts for approximately 18 percent of Southampton County’s Class A offenses.

“The most vulnerable area is Southampton Meadows Trailer Park,” he added.

Young adults comprise the type of people who commit such acts, said Drewery.

“Most of the perpetrators — 15 percent — caught are known to the victims and were witnessed in the act. It seems a lot of the reports are to vacant property,” he said.

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