GUEST OPINION: DAVE KRAMER — Reducing the chance of becoming a victim

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Boundary County Sheriff Dave Kramer

Boundary County is considered a safe place to live overall but looking at the crimes committed by people in custody show that we are not immune to any type of criminal activity. You do not have to be paranoid, but it is wise to use common sense and realize that not everyone that lives, or visits Boundary County has your best interests at stake. What I mean by that: there are things that you can do to reduce the chance of being a victim, especially to thefts. The first part is the realization that “yes, I could be a victim” instead of the mindset that, “This is Boundary County and I don’t need to lock my doors or take the keys out of my vehicle, or think that no one would steal my stuff.”

The reality is that someone who is abusing drugs can get to the point where they don’t care who the property belongs to. When they can steal property, trade it, or fence it for more drugs, they will. They will even steal from their own family or someone who had once been considered their friend.

The thief often is looking for easy ways that have lower risks to grab property that can be easily sold or traded for more drug money. The chainsaw left unsecured in the back of your pickup that you have not bothered to record the serial number off of or put any unique identification marks on is an easy target for a thief to lift out of the truck and be gone in a matter of seconds and it will soon be traded for drugs or cash.

Technology has come down in price and you can purchase surveillance systems that can be installed yourself that will capture video and alert you when someone comes to your home. The game camera is another less expensive choice that can be used around the home. A game camera can be used while you are camping. Just lock it to a tree to watch your campsite while you are away. It is of more use after the fact in helping identify the suspect and hold them accountable for their actions. There have been many thefts where the images captured on a game camera have led to the successful arrest of suspects.

Be a good neighbor by knowing what is normal in the area that you live. Report suspicious activity when you see it, not the next morning after the suspicious activity is no longer occurring.

The Sheriff’s Office takes a pro-active approach to try to track down the criminals and hold them accountable for their actions. If we can catch the drug abuser then we most likely have prevented several thefts that they may have been committed to support their habit. Peace Officers can’t be every place at once, but if our community helps us by making it more difficult for thieves to easily steal your stuff and to take the necessary steps that will help us recover your property. These proactive actions by citizens help law enforcement locate the person responsible ... then we all win. We hope that holding someone accountable for their actions will make a change in their future behavior. It is unpleasant to see several of the same people over and over again making the same mistakes at a cost to our community.

The Sheriff’s Office will be hosting additional crime prevention seminars this year with one coming up in August. Two of our Level 3 Reserves, Paula DesBiens and my wife, Andrea Kramer, have recently been certified as Instructors in “Refuse to Be a Victim” and will be offering this training for our community with the goal of four trainings annually. Notifications for the seminar training will be published for signups.

There are many resources online that help to inform the public regarding safety and prevention. I encourage you to take time to review and see options that you can easily do to help law enforcement keep you from being a victim.

We want Boundary County to continue to be a safe place to live and raise a family, and law enforcement counts on the support of our community working in partnership to make this the best place to live.

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Dave Kramer is the Sheriff of Boundary County.

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