Dodge City Police Chief Drew Francis offers tips on how to avoid the "plague on the community" regarding the latest Kansas Bureau of Investigation crime index report.

The report on Ford County which includes Dodge City, Bucklin, Spearville and Boot Hill Casino and Resort, reported 115 violent crimes with a population count of 34,454 for the county.

For property crime, the numbers reported increased 2 percent throughout the state due to high number of reported motor vehicle thefts.

For Ford County, 956 property crime offenses were reported with 147 coming from burglaries, 751 thefts and 58 motor vehicle thefts.

"I have reviewed the report," Dodge City Police Chief Drew Francis said. "Property crimes are always a plague on any community.

"They are easily committed and often times are hard to solve as they are generally committed without any witnesses to provide any leads.

"Physical evidence is few and far between.

"The cases that get solved are those that involve an unexpected witness or video evidence.

"Since the witness is hard to come by the best way to protect oneself is with cameras. Not just any camera but something that will actually record with the definition high enough to determine the identity of those captured in the video. It is important to also consider the angles of cameras and what they are set up to capture.

"New technology such as RING doorbells and other similar products offer the ability to deter daytime burglaries as the owners can answer their door from their cell phone and be able to see and speak to whomever is at their front door. These devices not only alert you to someone ringing your doorbell as a rouse to see if anyone is home, they will also alert you to the motion detected at your door and begin recording even if the doorbell isn't pushed." Francis offered several other camera tips people can use if they so choose.

"Having security camera systems that monitor motion around your home and entry points to your home is crucial," he said. "Consider placing a camera on the inside of your garage to capture the suspect who takes advantage of the garage door being open and walks off with your valuables.

"These cameras should always be running whether you're home or not. "Having cameras may not prevent every incident but in the event a break in occurs you have video evidence to at least provide leads for the police to pursue and outstanding evidence to help secure a conviction if the suspect is identified." Francis added that additional security could come from knowing your neighbors.

"Another thing we as a society are losing is the value of knowing our neighbors to the point of having contact information to be able to call or text when suspicious activity is observed," he said. "When a strange van is seen backed up to a neighbor's garage and you have their cell number, it is pretty easy to just send them a text saying 'Are you aware?'

"Don't be afraid to take pictures of vehicles, people and tag numbers. If they are legit you can always erase them but once they have fled the scene the evidence is lost, police can't be everywhere, we all have to play a role in fighting crime in our community."

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