Columbia County sheriff's Deputy Leslie Wilkie made her third annual trip to a Concerned Citizens of Columbia County meeting Sept. 8 in Winfield.
Columbia County sheriff's Deputy Leslie Wilkie explains the sheriff's office's File of Life program at the Concerned Citizens of Columbia County meeting as Dorothy Shanks, the secretary of the group, and Oscar Taylor, its chairman, listen at the Eubank-Blanchard Community Center.
Photo by Valerie Rowell
The group invited her to remind Neighborhood Watch block captains about Columbia County Sheriff's Office programs and what is suspicious and when to call police.
For anyone worried about the safety of their home while on vacation, Wilkie recommended using the Home Security Watch Program, in which deputies check the home twice a day and twice a night, checking doors, windows and vehicles in the driveway. The program is free to Columbia County residents, who just need to call the sheriff's office at 541-2800.
"If you go out of town, you can call the sheriff's office and they will watch your property. They'll do this because I tried it," Oscar Taylor, the chairman of the Concerned Citizens group, said at the meeting at Eubank Blanchard Community Center in Winfield. "It's a great program."
Wilkie said the Neighborhood Watch programs in the Appling and Winfield areas are some of the most active in the county. The programs work, Wilkie said, when neighbors work together to look out for each other.
"Together we can watch and fight crime," Wilkie told the group.
Wilkie also wanted to clarify what constitutes suspicious activity, and when to call.
Wilkie said unfamiliar vehicles moving slowing through the neighborhood or improperly parked overnight, someone attempting to get into a vehicle as though they have locked their keys in the car and children and teens at home when they shouldn't be are all suspicious and should be reported to the sheriff's office.
"If you see something that doesn't look right, call us," Wilkie said.
Door-to-door salesmen peddling goods or services should always be considered suspicious because a peddler's license is hard to get in Columbia County, Wilkie said.
"A lot of people who come door to door like that are kind of scoping out your house," Wilkie said.
Wilkie said it is important for residents to police themselves. She suggested locking all windows and doors at night, bringing in all valuables from the car into the house at night, keeping shrubbery trimmed to below window sills and taking photos and serial numbers of valuables such as electronics in case they are stolen.
Lighting, such as motion-sensitive outdoor flood lights, can be a crime deterrent, Wilkie said.
"Burglars don't want to be noticed, so they are likely going to go somewhere else where it's dark," she said.
Motorists speeding or driving recklessly also should be reported to the sheriff's office.
Wilkie also explained to the group about the sheriff's office's Elderly Care Program, which calls homebound elderly residents once a day to check on them.
Wilkie highly recommended that all residents have a File for Life information sheet on their refrigerator in case of an emergency. Residents who use the magnetic packet fill in information about their medical conditions, medications, allergies, insurance and emergency contacts, Wilkie said.
For more information about Neighborhood Watch, call Kara McGahee at 541-3905.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.