We are all experiencing a different type of community issue with the COVID-19 pandemic. We are truly all in this together as no one is immune from this virus.

The message has come to us that we need to take special precautions to avoid getting infected. It is difficult to stay home and stay away from family and friends, but it is the safest way to avoid the continuing spread of the virus.

The Skagit County Sheriff’s Office has made adjustments to this and are calling people back on some complaints. Please don’t think that your local law enforcement doesn’t care or seems a little less customer friendly, but we are being cautious, as well, as we must be out there in the public performing our job.

I have been pondering what to write in this column, and it struck me that since the governor made the proclamation to “stay home, stay healthy,” it is a great opportunity to give you some ideas on how to prepare your house to be safe from crime.

Many times we investigate burglary complaints from homeowners who are not aware of the serial number, model number, brand and value of the item that was stolen. All of this is critical information to follow up on your items. Now would be a great time to take an inventory.

Go room to room documenting items of value throughout your home, including what room each item is in and each item’s brand, serial number, model number, color and value.

Use your phone to photograph these items if you can and save them to a file. Do the same inventory to valued items in your garage.

Engrave your initials or some other insignia so you could identify your item if needed.

Also, consider taking a look at your home’s security.

Check all windows to ensure the locking mechanisms are still functional. Put screens on all exterior windows so that if one is removed you’ll notice possible tampering.

Check your doors and ensure the locks are all still functional. Sliding glass doors may need a new locking system or a new stick for security.

Step outside in your front and back yards and look at your house. Are there shrubs or bushes concealing windows or doors? If so, those make great hiding spots for a burglar. Please consider cutting back some of those obstructions so that there is nothing to hide a potential burglar.

I know staying home is making a lot of us feel anxious and wanting to go out and do what we are so used to doing. Please stay home and do not visit people in person as we all work our way through this horrible virus. Working together on keeping a distance, we will get through this.

— Chad Clark is the undersheriff with the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office. Send questions to askpatrolchief@gmail.com.

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