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A West Side couple called 911 earlier this week after hearing a sawing or cutting noise coming from their bathroom window. It was around 10:00 p.m., they were in bed, and their Hammersley Road area house was dark. It was discovered that a would-be burglar had leaned the property owner's ladder against the house and had sliced the window screen prior to being scared off.

The MPD's West District is currently experiencing many cut-screen burglaries, or attempted burglaries. Residents are urged to make sure all windows are locked and secure.

In addition, many families - citywide - will be traveling over the upcoming holiday period.

Refreshing your burglary prevention knowledge is not a bad idea:

1. Lock your doors.

Deadbolts locks are best, but whatever type you have - use them, even when you are at home. In many of our burglaries, there is no forced entrysomeone just didn't lock the door.

2. Keep garage doors closed and locked.

Once again, burglars are often opportunistic, and an unsecured attached garage can give criminals easy access into homes. Also, lock your vehicles, even if they are inside the garage. Don't leave valuables, like GPS units, in plain view. Bring them inside, or put them in the trunk.

3. Secure sliding doors and windows.

Cut a broom's handle to the length of the bottom track so that the window or door will not slide open when forced.

4. Vertical sliding windows.

Beyond locks, secondary blocking devices (through-the-frame pins) can keep windows from being opened all the way.

5. Mark your property.

Mark valuables with an engraver. Using your driver's license number works well. Marking property serves as a deterrent to would-be burglars and it helps police in identifying and returning stolen property. Make a property identification list, or take pictures of your valuables, their identification numbers, and model numbers with a digital camera. Burn the photos onto a flash drive and give it to a trusted friend or relative. Put highly visible warning stickers on doors and windows.

6. You may want to consider the purchase a burglar alarm.

A home alarm system can be a very effective burglary deterrent and fit into many people's needs. Remember to test your system monthly. Burglars also often shy away from big barking dogs.

7. Leave a light on.

When leaving on trips use light timers or leave a light on in the bathroom. In the bedroom, attach a lamp and radio to a 24-hour electric timer set to go on at dusk and off at your bedtime. Close bedroom drapes or blinds.

8. Use proper exterior lighting.

Motion activated lights work well.

9. Work together with your neighbors.

When you are going to be away, tell trusted neighbors and ask them to watch your property. Have neighbors maintain your yard and sidewalks. Have someone pick up newspapers and mail, or have it held. Tell neighbors to call police if they notice anything suspicious.

10. Don't advertise your assets. Hide laptop computers and other small electronic items when you are not using them. They are frequently the targets of burglars.

11. Don't post your vacation plans on Facebook or other social media sites.


  • Joel DeSpain, 266-4897