Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

May 13, 2013

Crime is target of watch program

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — Garvin County’s sheriff and his deputies are hoping to take a bigger bite out of crime with a new program meant to focus more on prevention.

What those in the sheriff’s office housed here in Pauls Valley are now working to kick off is a kind of neighborhood watch program for homes and businesses located in the rural areas of the county.

The idea of the program is pretty simple — better educate the public on crime prevention.

“We want to do a better job of education, awareness, prevention,” Sheriff Larry Rhodes said.

“We want to increase awareness on crime prevention. Our staff is going out and working to increase awareness with our county residents on crime prevention,” he said.

“We want to get out there and better interact with residents.

“I think this will compliment our Crime Stoppers program.”

A $2,800 grant through the Oklahoma Department of Homeland Security will help as a number of signs will go up throughout the county to let people know about the anti-crime program.

A big part of the program is an effort to help residents get their personal belongings organized by way of inventory sheets.

The sheriff’s office is making the sheets available so residents will have at their finger tips all the specific information, such as serial numbers or distinctive markings on items, for their property in case a burglary every occurs.

“We have these inventory sheets to hand out, and we encourage people to fill them out and tuck them away,” Rhodes said.

“You don’t know how valuable that is to us to have the serial numbers or unique identifiers,” he said, referring to stolen items and the burglary investigations done by his office.

Another part of the program is to provide the public with tips on how to lower the chances of being the target of thieves.

One such tip is letting you know what information is needed when making an emergency 911 call.

Both Rhodes and his staff want the public to know all of this really starts with them as residents in the county are encouraged to contact the sheriff’s office when they see something that’s just not right.

“We encourage people to call us on anything suspicious,” Rhodes said.

Undersheriff Jim Mullett and Doug Walling, who oversees the countywide 911 dispatch center, stress that call to the sheriff’s office should be immediately and not put off until later.

“We’ve got people out 24 hours a day,” Mullett said. “That’s what we want people to do, let us know so our people can check it out right away.”

“If it doesn’t feel right, report it. Call it in right way and don’t wait,” Walling said.

Walling added residents can also get various types of automatic alerts on their cell phones.

Those looking to get alerts on weather, missing children and other public safety issues should text the school mascot for their area, such as “Panthers” in Pauls Valley, to 888777.

Walling is also encouraging rural residents to know their 911 address even if they don’t receive mail there.

Call 405-238-9900 to verify a 911 address, he said.