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Ask The Chief: 3 things you can do to increase your personal safety

KPD Chief Paul Noel says Knoxvillians can take steps to protect themselves and their neighbors.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Knoxvillians can take three simple steps that'll improve safety for them, their families and their neighborhoods, according to Knoxville Police Chief Paul Noel.

First, always lock your cars when they're unattended. And don't leave firearms in your vehicle!

Noel told WBIR so far there have been 115 vehicle break-ins in which firearms inside were taken. In 80 percent of those instances, the vehicles were unlocked.

"Please take your weapons out of the vehicle," said Noel, making his monthly appearance in WBIR's "Ask The Chief" segment.

The chief said thieves look for such opportunities. Often those same stolen guns end up being used in crimes of violence, he said.

Second, the chief said security cameras today can make a huge difference in solving break-ins or attempted break-ins if they happen in your neighborhood.

A home security camera not only can help keep your house safe but it's a tool to help keep the neighborhood safe. If a crime happens up the street from you, chances are your street-facing camera could capture the suspect or suspects coming or going through the neighborhood.

Quality cameras are fairly affordable -- from about $100 to $150, he said. One that can capture good images at night is best.

"That could be the last piece of the puzzle that helps us solve that crime," he said.

Many people today shop online and receive their packages at home. That also provides opportunity for "porch pirates."

There are steps you can take to foil such thieves, he said. If you've got a security camera, that'll capture the thief in action.

Also, if you can, have the package delivered to your work or to a location where you know someone will be on hand to get it, in case you're away at work.

You can also sign up for alerts that let you know when the package has been delivered to your home. You could ask a neighbor to go pick it up once you get the alert.

Noel appears on WBIR once a month to talk about police matters relevant to the community. He'll be back on WBIR in December.

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