Residential Burglary Prevention

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Neighborhood Safe Neighborhood, #14

by Staff Neighborhood Safety Reporter


Last week, our community safety feature was concerning “Porch Pirates.”

How long before the thief turns the knob on your front door? Or peeks through the window?

We’d like to believe burglaries aren’t happening all around us, but you can see the police reports on CrimeMapping.com for your area. There are statistics for burglary, as well as arson, assault, disturbing the peace, drugs/alcohol violations, DUI, fraud, homicide, motor vehicle theft, robbery, sex crimes, theft/larceny, vandalism, vehicle break & entry theft, and weapons.

With the holiday gift season approaching, it is even more important to be mindful to avoid attracting theft.

__ Gifts should not be visible through windows.

__ Flatten boxes and conceal product pictures when putting garbage outside.

Statistically, more residential burglaries occur during the day while families are at work or school. The most common entry technique is to hard kick any outside door, forcing the wooden jamb to give way. Simple household tools like hammers, screwdrivers, pry bars and pliers may be used to gain entry into your home (not unlike your mailbox on the street!) Once inside burglars look for small expensive items that are easily traded for cash; jewelry, laptops, CD/DVD players, game consoles, watches, guns and small electronic devices.

“Unfortunately,” the Bellevue Police advise, “it is hard to catch burglars in the act and harder to catch them after the fact.”

A very large percentage of the reported burglaries are preventable crimes, if the victims had used reasonable crime prevention techniques.

Look at your residence from the perspective of a would-be criminal. Where do you think your vulnerabilities are? Here are some ways to deter thieves:

EXTERIOR & LANDSCAPE:

__ Never post notes for family or friends, such as "Gone shopping."

__ Install lights by all exterior doors; leave them on at night.

__ Light fixtures should be high enough that the bulbs cannot be unscrewed.

__ Add motion sensor lighting -or- newer sensors that check for body heat using infrared rays.

https://www.thespruce.com/detecting-body-heat-with-motion-detectors-1152311

__ Trim shrubs: Don’t give burglars places to hide and make doors and windows visible from the street.

__ Never leave keys under flowerpots, doormats, or in other “secret” hiding places.

__ Do not leave ladders or tools outside, they can assist a person in gaining entry.

DOORS & WINDOWS:

__ Change locks immediately if your keys are lost or stolen; or in a recently purchased home.

__ Always lock your doors and windows.

__ Use deadbolt door locks on exterior doors and double-cylinder dead bolt locks if glass is within 3 feet of the lock.

__ Use solid core or metal exterior doors.

__ Install 4-screw strike plates with 3” screws to penetrate the wood door frame.

__ Sliding windows and doors; add track-type locks, removable drop bars/wooden dowels or pinning devices.

__ Upgrade door locks to defeat “bumping.” To bump a lock, a burglar inserts a specially cut key into the lock, then gently “bumps” it with a mallet or a screwdriver. This forces the pins in the lock to the shear line as the key turns and the door opens.

https://www.thespruce.com/dangers-of-lock-bumping-1835232

__ Keep your garage doors shut and lock the connecting doors inside the garage.

__ Make sure your door hinges are on the inside.

__ Use alarm decals, beware of dog decals, and/or community watch decals near doors.

INSIDE YOUR HOME:

__ Consider an alarm system. However, the police department could charge you for multiple false alarms. We had a motion sensor alarm that alerted police when an older helium balloon floated into range!

https://dev.bellevuewa.gov/sites/default/files/media/pdf_document/FAQ.pdf

https://www.ncpc.org/resources/home-neighborhood-safety/

__ Choose GOOD hiding places in your home for high-ticket items, especially jewelry. Jewelry boxes make things quick and easy for the burglar. Don’t use the typical places like under mattresses, in drawers, in desks/file cabinets, etc. A burglar in one neighbor’s home used a metal detector to quickly and easily find things hidden in drawers, closets, etc.

__ Secure guns in safes that are bolted to the floor or large enough that someone could not move without a lot of help or attracting attention.

__ Limit the amount of cash kept in the home, and store it in a creative hiding place.

ON VACATION:

__ Ask neighbors to park their car in your driveway.

__ Delay-or-hold any deliveries, mail and newspapers.

__ If it snows, ask/hire someone to clear the walkway or driveway. In the summer, hire someone to mow the lawn.

__ Create the illusion that you are home by using timers on lights, radios and televisions. In the evening, burglars look for darkened houses or lights that have been left on too long.

__ Never leave a message on social media, phone voice mail or email indicating you are away.

A burglary is often a crime of opportunity. The offenders generally look for an easy target. If you can make entry into your home more difficult, or more risky, it could reduce its appeal. They might not select your home if it has lighting, landscaping, access control, etc where they are likely to be seen.

Remember the three L’s of Crime Prevention: Lights, Locks & the Law.

Light up your residence, Lock your doors at all times, and call the Law when you see something suspicious.

REFERENCES:

https://bellevuewa.gov/sites/default/files/media/pdf_document/Residential_Burglary.pdf

https://www.safewise.com/home-security/wa/

https://www.safewise.com/blog/safest-cities-washington/#The_Safest_Cities

https://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1002&context=ccj_capstone

https://www.ncpc.org/resources/home-neighborhood-safety/

https://www.ncpc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/lock.pdf

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