Special Report: Protection Plan pt. 1

Your family and your home are two things you want to make sure are safe

At any given moment, someone could be watching your home. Seeing when you leave, and planning their next move. Of course, you want to protect them, but what works and what doesn't? There are several practices you can put in place that will help ease your mind. Eric Roney is a security guard at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport and knows all about safety.

"We had burglary here, we actually had different individuals knocking on doors who are not supposed to be in the area. Individuals just going up to doors and looking in without knocking and going away," said Roney.

So, taking matters into his own hands, he called the Albany Police Department and asked about starting a neighborhood watch in Devon Village. They've been meeting for almost two years now, and they say crime has significantly decreased. Roney says the best part is becoming better friends with others in the community, and having those extra set of eyes on your home.

"We let our next door neighbor know that we're gonna be on vacation and so anything strange, then. So they always have a lookout for us".

Being a part of a watch also puts you in closer connection with the police, who often visit watch meetings--which you can hold for free at one of their locations--and give residents helpful crime prevention tips.

"Locking up your homes, cutting bushes from around your windows so that they don't make it inviting for folks to steal from you," said Police Chief John Proctor.

If you call, an officer will actually come out to your home and take a look at it, giving you tips on what you can do, free of charge. And Chief John Proctor actually has plans to help residents even more.

"My hope though is to eventually have a crime prevention unit of one or two folks that are specifically trained in crime prevention techniques," said Proctor.

Another option, if you're willing to open your wallet, is to get an alarm system. Police suggest one that makes noise, scaring away burglars and notifying you and neighbors of a break-in. And you may think that buying a fake alarm system sign will help protect your home, but in fact, police and experts say you're better off shelling out the extra cash for the real deal.

"A monitored system, in my opinion, is better than just the sign. The sign may deter a lot of people, but it's not going to deter everybody," said Mike White, Service Manager at Central Monitoring.

"If you look at it this way, you buy insurance on your car, you buy insurance for you, you buy insurance for your home, why not just go to one extra step of putting a working alarm system in your home. In this day and age, I think that's a small price to pay," said Proctor.

And a bonus--a monitored system can even call the fire department if your house catches fire while you're out of town.

At Central Monitoring, systems start around $450, with a $19 a month charge.

Truth is, no one is immune from crime, but everyone can do something to help prevent it.

To contact police about starting a neighborhood watch, call the non-emergency number at 229-430-2100.