Last week we covered a Burglary Awareness workshop with real, former burglars sharing their secrets. Keep reading for more!
Question 12: Is there anything that causes you to bypass a certain house?
Answers: Out of the 8 men, 5 of them said NOSY NEIGHBORS! One burglar said he hated being watched by the old people sitting on their porch, drinking their morning coffee as he was walking up and down the street surveying homes. They also mentioned they didn’t like neighborhoods with tons of kids playing outside, because this was an indication the community was pretty tight. Other deterrents included: well lit houses, trimmed shrubs, huge windows that showed a clear view inside the home. Officer Jointer pointed out that you need to LAYER YOUR DEFENSES! Don’t just rely on neighbors, a big dog, or security lighting, do as much as can! Make it difficult for burglars to rob your home! If you hear a big crash next door, check it out. You may be able to report a burglary in progress at your neighbor’s home, and PREVENT your home being the next victim.
Question 13: How did you check to see if people were home?
Answers: They would mostly check for a car in the driveway, or knock on the door. If you answered, they would ask for directions.
Question 14: Do you target high rise condos?
Answer: Yes. They would approach condos with a security guard holding shopping bags, to make it look like they live there. Or, if they needed access to the building, they would act like they are looking for a key.
Question 15: Are surveillance cameras a deterrent?
Answers: Just like the burglar alarm and dogs, they were very mixed in responses. Some said that security cameras “definitely bothered” them. Some said they would disguise their appearance, assume it is a dummy camera, knock it down, spray it with paint, take the tape, etc. One burglar shared a story that he was friends with the maintenance person on staff, and together they watched the security video of him stealing stuff.
Question 16: What are common mistakes a homeowner might make?
Answers: Don’t leave a fan or A/C unit in the window. It’s easy to push them out and climb through the open window. Lock your doors! Don’t leave attractive items in your car, like iPods, change, GPS system, etc. Don’t have a pet door that is big enough for an adult, or even a child, to climb through. Some gangs make children rob homes by climbing through a pet door as part of their initiation. Don’t leave keys under the plastic rocks or mats.
Question 17: Do the “Beware of Dogs” signs work?
Answers: No. They usually discovered there was no animal living there. They would scope out your home to see if anyone actually walks or takes a dog outside.
Question 18: Do the “door clubs”, or door reinforcements, work?
Answers: Yes. One burglar said he actually broke his foot trying to kick in a reinforced door. However, Officer Jointer warns you must choose matched windows and doors, for instance, don’t buy a steel frame and put a wood door in, or install brand new windows into rotted out frames.
Question 19: How did you get caught?
Answers: One was caught by a motion sensor in the basement- as soon as his knee moved down the stairs, the motion was triggered. One burglar worked with his cousin, who had a lot of drugs on him. The cousin gave up his burglar partner for a shortened sentence of being caught with drugs. Another was caught from a burglary in progress being called in by a neighbor. One claimed he “wasn’t fast enough”, and another claimed he was “too drunk and got caught”. Another was turned in from a pawn shop. Another got caught for possession of drugs, but additionally had a warrant for burglary. His DNA was matched to blood in a victim’s home. The last on the panel claimed his drug usage made him too careless and he got caught.
Question 20: Did any of them have full time jobs?
Answers: 3 out of the 8 men had a full time job.
Question 21: What drove you or motivated you to a life of burglary?
Answers: 5 of the 8 men claimed they had an addiction of some sort.
What other ways can you help to prevent burglaries?
- Be aware.
- Talk to your neighbors.
- Use your burglar alarm EVERY DAY!
- Install deadbolts that go in 2 inches.
- Be observant and report suspicious behavior.
- Close and lock all windows and doors.
- Remember the 7-3 rule. No shrubbery next to your house should grow taller than 3 feet, and tree limbs shouldn’t hang below 7 feet from the ground. It’s all about sight lines.
- When on vacation, have a family member or close friend pick up your mail, provide some activity in your home, etc.
- Remember the 4 L’s: landscape, locks, lighting, and layer your defenses!
Did You Know…?
- Nationwide, less than 2 percent of all burglaries occur in homes that have an alarm.
- A single family home that is alarmed is more than 60 percent LESS likely to be burglarized than a similar home without an alarm.
- Homes with monitored alarm systems are three times LESS likely to be burglarized as opposed to homes without the system. Similarly, businesses without alarm systems are 4.5 times MORE likely to be burglarized than the ones with an electronic security system.
- As much as 30 to 40 percent of burglars tend to avoid homes with burglar alarm systems.
- Property crimes make up more than three-quarters of all crime in the United States. In 2009, burglary offenses cost victims an estimated $4.6 billion in lost property.
Unfortunately, burglary crime is more common than you might think. Don’t wait until it is too late! Call VinTech today with any questions regarding the safety and protection of your home!