Mystery slips warn Ottawa County residents of advancing crime

Posted at 4:33 PM, Jan 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-07 16:34:28-05

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. -- Pictures of a white slip of paper reading “property check” are popping up all over Facebook.

The pictures, accompanied with comments such as “Never seen anything like this before” and “This sounds a bit invasive" are begging the question: What are these mystery forms?

"It’s a proactive attempt to alert people that we’ve found some issues that are concerning from a criminal standpoint, meaning they could be the victim of a crime," says Capt. Mark Bennett of the Ottawa County Sheriff Department.

This paper alert isn’t new. It has actually been done for years, only resurfacing now because of a rise in crime.

"We’ve been experiencing a large number of larceny and breaking and entering of cars in the Georgetown, Hudsonville area in the last two months," Bennett says. "We’ve had over 100 incidents reported."

The crime spree is an easy one for thieves. All they have to do is try to open your car door.

"They go around and just try the doors of vehicles, and if they’re open, they'll have access to whatever is in there, whether it be electronics, or money in some cases," recounts Bennett.

So, instead of waiting for you to call and tell the sheriff’s office you’ve been robbed, deputies are one step ahead. They're checking to make sure your belongings are safe, before the wrong people decide to check it out themselves.

There is "not an intent at all to infringe on citizens rights, just an intent on being proactive, doing a courtesy, and alerting people to circumstances," says Bennett.

There are more safety issues listed on these slips, such as "unlocked windows" and "opened garage doors."

The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department is looking out for you, but they’re also urging home owners to be smart and lock up before they turn in.