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Common crimes to be aware of after a weather disaster

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Ida Damage

HOUSTONTexas (KIAH) “We have several extra deputies on the streets. To protect the people and their property from those criminals who will try to take advantage of people who have already lost so much.”, says Major Terry Daigre, Chief Criminal Deputy of the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office. Daigre was on staff, witnessing the good and the bad that followed in the days post Ida.

After any natural disaster, necessary supplies like fuel, food, water, and generators are scarce.  Even tools to repair your own home are hard to come by.  Tarps were one of the most needed commodities post Hurricane Ida as most homes in the River Parishes suffered extensive roof damage.  Out of towners, and business owners noticed this dilemma. Some having good intentions; others not so much. 

Major Terry Daigre, Chief Criminal Deputy, says that contractor fraud and looting were two of the most common crimes to occur post hurricane Ida. “We have arrested over 20 people for looting. We will continue our focus in this direction”, says Daigre.

The Terrebonne parish sheriff’s office has suffered damage to buildings and equipment just like everyone else. They worked through the storm and the aftermath. Continually serving the community to the best of their ability.  Local and out of state contractors are working relentlessly to rebuild homes. Most are honest, but Major Terry warns of cases that have been reported to the sheriff’s office for contractor fraud.  Be extra cautious if a roofing company is from far outside your area, not found online, or if they request payment up front.  

Most roofing companies charge by square feet of coverage, you should know the measurements of your roof beforehand, so you know that you are being charged correctly. According to the Better Business Bureau “Price gouging is a term referring to when a seller spikes the prices of goods or services to a level much higher than is considered reasonable ….” 

They recommend these three tips for reporting a suspected case: 

  • Be as specific about the transaction as possible 
  • Gather together documentation 
  • Compare pricing of similar products with other sellers in the area 

It is important to note that after a disaster, naturally costs may rise slightly due to an increase in transportation costs, lack of labor, and supplies. HOWEVER, this increase in price should not be extreme, unreasonable, or exponential. That is when you should report an incident.  

“Anyone needing to report criminal activity is asked to call the sheriff’s office. We are here to serve you”, says Major Terry Daigre.

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