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Word from the Sheriff: Crime reduction, holiday safety
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It is hard to believe that the holiday season is already here and that 2014 is almost over. With my second year in office almost complete, I want to thank the citizens of Rockdale County for their continued support. I think that everyone can see the great strides that the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office has made in my first two years as Sheriff and want to assure everyone that we are always seeking to get better.

During my first year in office, I implemented several initiatives with the ultimate goal of crime reduction and making Rockdale County safer. By laying the groundwork in 2013, we have seen those efforts pay off in 2014. The RCSO is currently on pace to achieve more than a 20 percent reduction in total Part I crimes. By looking at specific crimes categories, I sought to drastically reduce burglary crimes and we are currently projecting more than a 40 percent reduction. In addition, we stand to realize an approximate 30 percent reduction in robbery and assault crimes. These drastic reductions can be attributed to the hard working men and women of the RCSO, as well as the RCSO working with the community to be able to apprehend these individuals that have nothing better to do than to commit crime in our county. We have proven time and time again that the RCSO and citizens of Rockdale County will not stand for it.

With the holiday season here, I want to offer the following crime prevention tips so that your holiday season will not be dampened by being the victim of a crime:

1) Always park your car in a well-lit and well-traveled area. Scan the area before exiting your car. Do not park in a remote dark area.
2) Do not leave anything valuable in plain view in your car.
3) While shopping, always keep your purse with you. Do not leave it in your shopping cart. Ensure your purse is snapped or zipped and is not open. 4) When you return to your vehicle, scan the interior of your car to be sure no one is hiding inside. Check to see if you are being followed.
5) Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. You should be ready to unlock the door as soon as you get to your car and not have to be fumbling and looking for your keys.
6) When storing items purchased at the stores, place them out of sight. The best place is in a locked trunk.
7) Lock your vehicle and put up your windows even while you are driving.
8) If you go to an ATM for cash, check for people around and make sure it is well lit and in a safe location.
9) Carry only the credit cards you need and avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
10) Beware of the "a good deal" scams. Things are not always what they appear.
11) Arranging to meet someone as a result of an online purchase from a website should be arranged with caution.
12) Drive defensively. Traffic is heavier during the holidays. Exercise patience while in traffic and while driving.
13) Always report suspicious persons, sounds, vehicles, and activity by calling 911.

The RCSO hopes that these tips will be helpful during the holiday season and that you will share the information with friends, family and loved ones.

On behalf of the men and women of the RCSO, we hope that you have a safe and happy holiday season.