Protecting one’s property is just as important during winter months as it is in the warm weather months when people are away for vacations and other extended periods.

A desperate need for narcotics fuels the majority of robberies and other crimes in southern West Virginia.

“The addicts are getting extremely desperate,” emphasized Wyoming County Sheriff Randall Aliff.

“Ninety percent of our thefts go back to a person who has a habit they are trying to take care of,” Aliff explained.

As the number of crimes increase and addicts go to more desperate measures, law enforcement officials emphasize the need for people to be more aware.

“People are going to have to be more observant. They need to watch their own property, but they also need to watch their neighbor’s,” Aliff explained.

“People need to be aware of their surroundings when they’re out.

“If they see something suspicious, they need to report it to us,” he said.

“We’re all going to have to work together to protect our property,” he emphasized.

A recent robbery was thwarted because an eyewitness reported it, Aliff said.

“More people are going to have to step up to stop this stuff. I know a lot of people are afraid of becoming involved, that needs to change.”

Alarm systems are a good way to protect property for homeowners and business owners, Aliff said. Some systems can notify law enforcement and/or neighbors in the event a break-in occurs while the homeowner is away.

Video surveillance systems are an excellent way to protect businesses, especially in pharmacies, convenience stores, or other businesses where thieves hope to get away quickly.

“With video, we have a picture and we can find out who the person is. When we go to court, it gives us a lock on our case too,” Aliff explained.

In the event of a robbery attempt at a business, it is best to give the thief what he/she asks for rather than try to put up a fight, Aliff emphasized.

It is always best to let the authorities handle the situation, he said.

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