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Aug. 14, 2018
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Dock thefts increase around Lake Lanier

By Pamela A. Keene
 
There are two kinds of pirates – good pirates, like the Pirates of Lanier who raise money for children’s charities through the annual Family Poker Run each summer; and bad, bad pirates, like those who made the airwaves on WSB-TV in January. 
 
Those bad pirates got their minute of fame because they have been stealing property from docks around the lake. Not good.
 
But, the Lake Lanier Association must be clairvoyant, because through the LLA’s actions, the US Army Corps of Engineers recently revoked its ban of surveillance cameras on docks. This opens the way for homeowners to install surveillance equipment on their docks to help keep an eye on kayaks, life jackets, fishing gear, wakeboards, boats, furniture and other recreational items.
 
“In many ways, Lake Lanier is like a big public park,” said Joanna Cloud, executive director of the Lake Lanier Association. “It’s just so easy for people to approach docks and private property, so we are pleased that the Corps now allows homeowners to install surveillance equipment.” 
 
Experts agree that an ounce of prevention …
“The best line of defense is to bring your equipment up from the dock when you’re not using it,” said Ryan Locke, game warden with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. “Or at least keep it under secure lock and key.”
 
Doug Rainwater, public information officer with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s office, said his office hadn’t received notice about the rash of thefts in January, but that they did investigate thefts last August, when paddles, fishing poles and even a generator were taken from private docks in Forsyth. 
 
“We can solve a lot of crimes based on people’s cameras at their homes and businesses,” Rainwater said. “In fact, before Christmas someone was stealing packages off people’s front porches and we were able to get still photographs from surveillance footage. We posted the pictures of the thief on Facebook and very shortly arrested him.”
 
Locke suggests installing wireless cameras, being careful to only aim them at your own property. “Use a trail camera or something that doesn’t depend on wires or cables, because the thief can cut those,” he said. “And be mindful of where you aim the cameras and respect the privacy of your neighbors.” 
 
In the winter months, property and docks are more vulnerable, because owners aren’t back and forth as frequently as they are in the spring, summer and fall. If you suspect theft of your property, contact the Sheriff’s Office in your county.

Posted online 1/29/18
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