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Experts weigh in on how you can prevent burglaries following spike in Tioga County

(MGN)
Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 5:12 PM EST
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OWEGO (WBNG) -- The Village of Owego and Tioga County have a theft issue that has gone up dramatically over the last few years, according to the Tioga County Sheriff’s Office.

Besides just burglaries, officers say you should also watch out for casing, which is when criminals scout out locations before burglarizing them.

“It’s definitely a real thing that happens, people potentially go out and survey for security systems, for cameras, or for remote locations where they can commit a crime and be undetected,” Senior Investigator at the Tioga County Sheriff’s Office Timothy Schmidt said.

A potential example that was spotted in Owego was when someone put two trash bags full of styrofoam on a property, and the property owner had no idea where it came from.

She added this wasn’t the first time it had happened to her.

“It’s definitely a growing problem in Owego,” owner McKenzie McNally said. “Apparently people just took it as someone’s just throwing out their garbage, but no it doesn’t happen like that.”

While casing generally happens before an in-home burglary, other cases of thefts around the Village and county have gone up as well.

Rudy Parker of the Owego Police Department says break-ins of sheds, cars, garages, and residents have been common, and adds preventing them could potentially be simple.

“Lock your doors on your sheds, in your barns, in your garage because these people are going in all of them,” Parker said.

Officials said if you are still concerned about any items being stolen there are extra steps you can take.

Experts say you should inventory your property, photograph it, and document the serial numbers.

If the thieves aren’t caught on camera officials say they would need the communities to help to catch them, adding that if you see something new or suspicious in the neighborhood don’t be nervous to say something.