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East District Blotter

Captain Schauf's Updates: Safety Prevention in the Home

October 1, 2012 8:36 AM

The focus of this article will be burglary, or the entry into a locked space to steal or commit a felony. Most of the burglaries in our district are residential burglaries to single family homes. Business related burglaries have been less frequent lately, but when they do occur it tends to be in clusters with a similar approach by an individual or group
of offenders.

I will share some general information regarding burglaries in the district, as well as what we know from some of the research how burglars choose targets so we can work together toward prevention.

Burglars are making a choice between the potential reward they receive when entering anothers home to steal and the potential to be apprehended.

A review of the research shows that generally burglars are very familiar with and comfortable operating in the targeted neighborhood. This may be because they frequently travel through or live in the area. An area with larger foot and vehicle traffic volumes allow burglars to blend in with other users of the neighborhood space. It can be more difficult to identify burglars targeting potential homes for entry. For the most part burglars avoid residences that are occupied by either humans or dogs. Houses that appear vacant during the day or into the evening are normally targeted at a higher rate. Areas around homes that allow intruders to have uninterrupted, out of view access to doors or windows run a high risk of providing a suitable access point. Easy access is also an issue. Open windows and unlocked doors provide an opportunity for quick, quiet access. Open garage doors are another quick route to access. (Weisel, Deborah Lamm, 2002)

Our local burglars target small items such as jewelry, cash, purses/wallets or easily concealable electronicst hat can include computers, phones and gaming system components. So what can you do to help with prevention? The first step is to make sure that you secure your home when you are away. Keep the garage door closed unless you are in the immediate area, it makes a very obvious large target for burglars. Lock the door between your garage and residence. Keep bushes and trees trimmed so they do not block windows and doors. Consider motion lights, burglars generally do not like to have lights on at night. Keep handbags and electronics away from windows so they are out of view and close your blinds after dark.

Get to know your neighbors. It can help to have "eyes" in the neighborhood who know what is normal and what is not. Do you know your neighbors cars? Children? Look at forming a neighborhood watch program. If you leave for an extended time, let a trusted neighbor know so someone keeps track of your home and has a way to reach you in case of emergency.
If you notice unusual behavior in your neighborhood call for the police to check the problem. Get a good description of the people involved; note the direction of travel and call. Keep track of serial numbers on valuables, or mark them with a unique number. If the objects are pawned and end up in an electronic system it can make recovery possible, and increase the chances of an arrest.

While there is a huge frustration with burglars stealing your valuable items, the psychological impacts of someone breaking into your house are unsettling. It will take police and neighbors working together to continue to try and prevent this crime.

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