The bad guys have been caught! The crime of burglary carried out by a professional group of breakers-inners was rampant in our neighborhood. This was too close for comfort, so when the police department invited us to a neighborhood crime watch meeting we were anxious to go.
The police made a strong point that burglars do not want to enter a house when anyone is home. They want to get in, take their loot and leave immediately. They may do a surveillance of the neighborhood, parking a car and watching patterns of homeowners coming and going. People with regular hours, leaving and returning home at the same time every day may be attractive marks for burglars, since it becomes clear when they can break in without anyone being home. If you see a strange car parked in your neighborhood call the police to report it. If you see strange men carrying TV sets and computers out of a neighbor’s house definitely call the police.
The doorbell rings and you look through to see who is there.You don’t recognize the person, what should you do? Ignore the person? If children are in the house with instructions not to open the door for anyone, what should they do? If you don’t respond you may send the message that nobody is home, making your house a target. Speak through the door, without opening it. A ploy often used is the delivery man bringing a package to the wrong address. It is possible to correct the address with the door still closed.
It is a good idea to invest in timers for lights. Set them to put on and shut off lights, radios or TVs at different times. Dogs are great announcers of people coming on your property.
If you see a home having a teen agers’ party with no adults present, report it to the police. There are often older kids there, possible with drug problems. While the party is going on, they may wander around the house and take anything they could sell for some quick drug money. Often a theft is not noticed until months after the evening of the party, when an adult searches for a piece of jewelry.
Neighbors can cooperate and report any suspicious activity in the area. It helps the police do their jobs more effectively when they have the cooperation of people aware of their surroundings.
But please don’t report ME; I often walk around the neighborhood for exercise, and not to “case” your house!