Fairland Police Chief Aaron Richardson said that Fairland is lucky to have had only one burglary incident within town limits but those within county limits haven't been so fortunate.

FAIRLAND— A recent string of burglaries in and around Fairland has left law enforcement giving residents this simple piece of advice- stay vigilant.

Fairland Police Chief Aaron Richardson said that Fairland is lucky to have had only one burglary incident within town limits but those within county limits haven't been so fortunate.

“Inside town, we've only had one burglary, but the county is getting obliterated,” Richardson said. “We actually recovered another stolen vehicle for the county on Tuesday just outside of town that was stolen at the same time frame right outside of town.”

The burglary inside town occurred at the business office of Crafton Pump Service on South Hwy. 125. Richardson said the robbery took place on Dec. 23 in the early morning hours.

The door of the business had been kicked in, and several items were stolen. This incident is currently under investigation and Richardson declined any further comments.

The Fairland Police Department is working on strong leads with other law enforcement agencies to solve the crimes.

“We're working closely with the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office on this,” Richardson said. “The burglaries are all around Fairland, so we're working hand-in-hand with them.”

According to Richardson, burglaries and thefts out of vehicles and homes increase during the Christmas season.

“People have been shopping and have items in their car,” Richardson said. “It's also a good time to have their credit cards stolen if they leave them laying out or leave the receipts. Statistically, the numbers do go up around this time of year.”

Another tip is to decrease valuable visibility. Perpetrators will dig through the trash, so be aware of throwing out certain boxes and other items like receipts.

To prevent credit card fraud or identity theft, one can request a free copy of their credit report from three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion® – throughout the year, at AnnualCreditReport.com. Richardson recommends to split the reports up and do one every four months. If an error is spotted, request a dispute form from the agency within 30 days of receiving the report.

“They can check to make sure their identity hasn't been stolen and accounts aren't being open in their name that they're not aware of,” Richardson said.

To be safe, Richardson also advised destroying all receipts and mail before throwing them away.

“Instead of throwing those in the trash, we encourage people to either shred them or burn them,” Richardson said. “Sometimes they have credit card information or checking information on them. Any financial information like bills, personal paperwork, receipts can't just be thrown away. You have to be proactive and protect yourself. There are dumpster divers out there.”

SafeWise reported that the majority of home burglaries take place during daylight hours, not at night. That’s because most people are at work or school, which reduces the chance the burglar will be noticed. Most burglaries take place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

“People aren't home during the day, and they don't want to be caught or have a confrontation,” Richardson said. “They want to be able to steal the stuff when you're not there. Approximately 90 percent of business burglaries are at night because they're closed.”

Richardson said if the burglars want in a home, they will stop at nothing to break in.

“You cannot keep them out,” Richardson said. “The only thing you can do is make it harder for them to get in. Most burglars will kick the front door in and bust the frame or the window. They don't care to be nice to your property.”

He recommended having an alarm or a system that makes a loud noise and a secure deadbolt lock.

“They need to get the deadbolts from the hardware store, not ones at Wal-Mart,” Richarson said. “Those only go in a quarter or half inch into the door frame, so if the door is kicked in, the whole door will come off. You need to get it where the dead bolt lock actually goes into the stud wall.

“Most burglars are only going to be in a residence for less than two minutes,” he added. “It's real quick. They will go in and grab what they can. The business burglaries tend to last a bit longer but homes, they don't want to get caught.”

Richardson said state law says that homeowners are allowed to protect themselves from imminent harm.

“We encourage them not to use deadly force, of course, but they do have the right to protect themselves,” Richardson said. “It's the same amount of force as a police officer can use- reasonable force.

“We encourage people if they're going to be gone, have someone pick up their papers,” he added. “Notify a friend or neighbor to check the house and mail. Leave a light on and keep a car parked in the driveway. Neighbors need to watch out for neighbors. If they see something, write a license plate number down. We've had observant neighbors who have given us great leads, and we encourage them to continue to do that and watch out for each other.”

Another tip is to be careful what content is posted on social media sites.

“I’ve seen people posting pictures on Christmas morning with their kids, and they’re taking pictures in their house with their computers, televisions and all of that stuff in the background,” Richardson said.

Fairland city council member Lisa Jewett said one of the only positive outcomes from the recent string of crimes is that it has brought the community of Fairland closer together.

“I can tell you that the citizens of this town have come together, whether it’s calling each other, on Facebook and watching each other,” Jewett said. “It has been very helpful. People have used Facebook as a tool to show what has happened. The city is limited on their funding, and we don’t have the police department the size of the county, but people really pull together and watch each other’s back.”

Richardson said that patrol has increased in and around the Town of Fairland.

If anyone has information or leads on the recent burglaries, contact Fairland PD at 918-676-3005 or 918-542-5585.

Kimberly W. Barker is a staff writer for the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at kbarker@miaminewsrecord.com. Follow her on Twitter @MiamiNews_hound.