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Crime has always been a concern among residents of Red Deer County. County enforcement does not deal directly with criminal code violations. However, they maintain a very close working relationship with local RCMP detachments, and continue to work to educate the public on crime prevention. As local authorities work hard to curb rural property crime, there are a number preventative measures that landowners in Red Deer County can take to protect their home and property.1) Vehicles are an easy target for criminals. Always lock your vehicle doors. This small deterrent can dissuade criminals from spending time breaking into your vehicles.2) Do not leave your keys in your vehicle. This is a common-sense measure that makes vehicles (and farm machinery, ATVs etc.) far less appealing to criminals.3) Do not leave valuable items, like phones, purses, computers, or even change in your vehicle. If it can be seen, it can be stolen. A criminal can be motivated to break in to your vehicle if there is a worthwhile prize in sight.4) Do not keep extra keys in your vehicles, even if you think they are hidden. Criminals know all of the best hiding places for extra keys, and will steal your vehicle.5) Your home can also be targeted by criminals. Keep doors locked, even when you are home. This also goes for shops, garages, and any out buildings where possessions are kept.6) Criminals with specialized tools easily defeat conventional key-in-knob locks, and door-kick break-ins are becoming common. Deadbolt all exterior doors with a bolt that extends at least 1 inch, and has door jamb screws opposite the lock that are at least 2.5 inches.7) Close and lock your garage door, even when you are at home. Garages are a favourite target because they often have many valuables, such as vehicles, power tools, sporting goods, and bicycles, in them. Make sure that the overhead door closes completely after you drive in or out of your garage.8) Close and lock the gate at the entrance of your property when you are away. Criminals will avoid hassles and obstacles that slow down their criminal efforts. Strangers spending time around your locked gates can be a cue to neighbours that something is not right.9) If you are leaving your property for any longer than a day, have someone drive in and out of your rural property so there are tracks in the snow or signs of activity. An active property will deter criminals, and also keep friends, family, or neighbours aware of your property.10) Do not post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media sites that you are going on vacation or will be away. Also, wait until you are back from holidays before sharing your photos. Criminals who can dig around online, can figure out when you are away, and even what types of valuables you may have on your property.Red Deer County's Protective Services urges landowners to follow these simple preventative measures to protect their home and property. If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911.If you witness a crime or suspicious behaviour, contact your local RCMP detachment.For more information on crime prevention and rural crime watch, please visit www.rdcounty.ca