Contact: Gerald Vetter, Division Chief of Investigations
How to Avoid Becoming a Burglary Victim
1. Every 15 seconds, a residential burglary occurs somewhere in the United States.
2. Some of these burglaries are Ruse Burglaries, scam artists who pose as legitimate workers who will talk their way into the victims’ home. Some even unlock a window or a door for illegitimate entry at a later date and time. Some are opportunists who just happen to spot an easy target, such as the elderly, or an open door or window.
3. The neighborhood is our best defense, don’t hesitate to be nosy. Obtain descriptions of vehicles and license plates. If you see anything out of the ordinary, call the Police.
4. Tell close neighbors that you trust if you plan to be away or expect any deliveries. If they are in the know, they may notice something you didn’t mention and spot unexpected callers at your home. Burglars often stop at the front door of a home, ring several times then knock to see if anyone is there.
5. Use timers on interior lights if you are away from the home. Cancel newspapers and mail delivery or have a trusted friend pick them up daily.
6. A dog is an asset and deterrent. Burglars are more likely to avoid a house with a dog. Small dogs make a lot of noise and bark longer and louder than some big dogs.
7. Survey your property, inside and out to determine any weak links in your home security. High risk areas are windows and doors in secluded spots, the door from your garage into the house, side breezeways where a burglar can’t be seen. Keep landscaping trimmed and remove large shrubs that can provide cover for a burglar.
8. Take action to increase protection in these vulnerable areas. Install keyed locks on windows and use deadbolts on doors. If windows are left open on the second floor, make sure your ladder is locked away.
9. Be wary of who you allow into your home. Do not give any information to those you don’t know such as what you own and your travel schedule. This applies to neighbors as well, those you know little about or don’t trust. Do not leave valuables in plain view from inside the home or outside.
10. When you can, vary the times you enter and leave your home. If you own several cars, switch drivers frequently making it more difficult for an observer to know who is home and when.
11. Residential security systems are becoming more available and less costly. You can research these on-line to determine what may best suit your needs. Even fake cameras can be a deterrent but only if they resemble the real thing. Fake signs and stickers don’t work but if you do have an alarm, real stickers and signs help.
12. Install and utilize motion detector lighting on your garage, rear yard, and front door. Motion activated cameras are another powerful weapon as a burglary deterrent and can be linked to a computer. Deer and trail cams are inexpensive and can be hung high and out of direct sight. Some of these cameras can be linked to your cell phone and can store pictures on an off-site back up such as your G-Mail account.
13. A visible alarm system linked to your local police is also an effective deterrent.
14. Avoid creating temptation for the thieves. Don’t leave valuable property such as lawnmowers, snow blowers, and bikes unattended in the yard. These items are easily stolen and easily sold by the offender.
15. Do not leave a key hidden anywhere on the outside of a home. The burglars know all the "Secret" hiding places. (Elicka Peterson-Sparks , 2015)
16. If you have ever been burglarized, you are six times more likely to be victimized again. Do take extra precautions. Burglaries can be much more than that, if your personal identifiers are taken, you could wind up being an Identity Theft victim as well.