Sheriff steps up patrols to deter holiday crime

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The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office is stepping up patrols during the holidays in hopes of deterring criminals.

NewsChannel 4 went on a ride-a-long with deputies to see just what they're looking for and what you need to do to protect your home.

The front porch is one area where we often here thieves target packages, but the sheriff's office said it isn't the only vulnerable place when it comes to thieves getting into your home.

“In the last few years we've been doing this, our thefts and burglaries have gone down,” said Sergeant Mark Johns.

The patrols will continue through the holiday season.

Johns and others are out trying to protect your home from a crook.

“We look for anything out of the ordinary - an open garage door, an open front door, if there are any vehicles in the driveway or not,” Johns said.

He said the most common mistake homeowners make is leaving that garage door open.

“That's just an open invitation for a burglar,” Johns said.

Fortunately, residents in the neighborhood he’s patrolling today are also good at keeping an eye on each other.

Johns was in an unmarked car, which prompted Tom Murray to stop us and make sure the sergeant wasn’t the one doing anything wrong.

“I see a darkened window, I just keep an eye on things,” Murray said.

It's something we should all do, not just during the holidays but every day.

“That's called protection of the neighborhood, looking out for the neighbor,” Murray said.

Johns said he's had neighbors call police to report him, an unusual car, driving through the neighborhood.

He said that's a sign neighbors are taking care of each other.

He said the extra patrols have resulted in numerous arrests in past years.

In one particular case, deputies found a car backed into a driveway. As they approached the home, two suspects came out with their arms full of stolen merchandise. Those suspects were arrested and the stolen goods returned to the homeowner.

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