Chatham County deputies picking up patrols in evacuated areas - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Chatham County deputies picking up patrols in evacuated areas

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

As those who choose to - or have to - leave their homes behind to get away from the effects of Irma, police are having to watch out for criminals looking to take advantage.

It seems with every major storm that prompt evacuations there's an uptick in the number of break-ins and attempts to loot those properties.

Chatham County Sheriff's deputies are picking up patrols, especially in mandatory evacuation zones.

The areas east of Truman Parkway, that's a big focus for Sheriff John Wilcher starting tonight, going through the storm. He's dedicated nearly 90 deputies to check on homes in the mandatory evacuation zone. 

Major Tommy Tillman knows thieves will go great lengths to hit their target, especially when it's vulnerable. 

"They're looking for every little advantage they can have, in order to take what somebody else has worked hard for. And you know, it's a shame you can't leave your property and take care of your family, move your family out of harm's way for fear that somebody's gonna come in behind you and steal everything that you've worked hard for," said Maj. Tommy Tillman, Chatham County Sheriff's Deputy.

Tillman is part of a show of force - not only with his fellow deputies but also Metro Police, with hopes their presence can be enough to deter the crimes of opportunity. 

Officers are also getting a little help from neighbors staying behind.

One constant reminder coming from first responders as Irma approaches, though, there are limits to how they can help you.

"That's why we try and tell people, if you stay behind during the storm when it gets bad enough, there's going to come a point when we're not responding until conditions are favorable that our officers will not get hurt," said Tillman.

"You're not going to be able to help anybody if you kill yourself trying to get somewhere. And that's what we try to stress to the newer officers," said Tillman.

Metro Police also tweeted out tonight a call to action for those staying behind and not evacuating to help keep watch over their homes, and if you notice anything suspicious - call 911.

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