By Dedra Cordle
Having lived in Georgesville for the past three years, Lori Sayre is familiar with her surroundings. She knows her neighbors, knows what vehicles they drive, and even knows what time they typically get home from work. Lately though, she has been noticing unfamiliar activity in the area.
Sayre and her husband, Rusty live in a corner section of Georgesville that does not see much traffic beyond the comings and goings of their neighbors. In the past when they would see the odd vehicle passing through, they usually brushed it off as a lost motorist. But now, in the back of their minds, they wonder if this passing motorist could have bad intentions and they have a good reason to think so.
As members of the Georgesville Block Watch, the Sayre’s know all about the rise in crime in Pleasant Township. They have even seen their fair share of vehicles lingering around their section of town.
To try to get their neighbors to be more aware of what is going on, they spread the word about a meeting with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. It seemed to have worked, as there was a packed hall at the Georgesville Community Club on Feb. 12.
During the meeting, Sgt. Charley Brown shared a three-month criminal activity report that stated there have been 70 incident of criminal activity in the township, with one-third of the incidents occurred being thefts or burglaries. He said a large majority of these thefts or burglaries are taking place during the daytime hours when people are typically at work.
Brown said to combat this growing issue, the sheriff’s office would be assigning a second patrol car to the area. They are even discussing putting unmarked vehicles on the streets.
“One of our biggest problems (in apprehending criminals in the area) is that we stick out like a sore thumb,” said Brown. “With the way these roads are, they can see us coming from 10 miles away.”
He believes an unmarked vehicle patrolling Pleasant Township would be advantageous, but said the plans are in its infancy stages.
Sayre said the increased presence of any law enforcement vehicle would be a wonderful sight.
“We need to have more of them patrolling,” she said. “We might see them once in the morning, and once again at 5 or 6 p.m. and then not again.”
On the topic of patrol units, one resident suggested that when they are in the area, they should switch up their times because they can accurately guess what hour the patrol unit will be coming by. She said if the residents know that, it would not take much for a would-be criminal to know that as well.
Brown said he would address that issue with the patrol units and get it straightened out.
Brown also came to the meeting to offer tips on how to protect your home when you are away. He said an inexpensive way to protect sliding glass doors (a favorite for criminals because it is one of the easiest ways to get into a home) is to purchase a kit with extra stopping measures. He even suggested getting an alarm system or video camera installed around the house if one can afford it.
Deputy Darrah Metz said another inexpensive way to protect your home is to put timers on television sets so they go on and off throughout the day, giving the illusion that you may be home.
The topic of homeowner’s right was briefly discussed after a few attendees asked about gun laws. Brown said homeowners have the right to protect their lives if they feel it is threatened, but cautioned that many of the would-be criminals have guns on them as well.
A meeting is set for 7 p.m. March 12 at the Georgesville Community Club for further discussion on gun-related laws with the sheriff’s office.
In the meantime, Lorin Smith, the president of the Georgesville Community Club, encouraged residents to get to know their neighbors, to lookout for each other, and to spread the word about the block watch.