On the Beat in Bluffton

Thursday, November 14, 2013

N-B Flashback: Stay safe from burglars

A man who was allegedly part of a team of four people responsible for burglarizing homes in several counties has been sentenced in Wells Circuit Court.

According to court documents, the four would drive around looking for houses in more remote, rural area, and target them for burglaries.

Upon finding a prime candidate for a burglary, one of the four would exit the vehicle and approach a door of the residence. If someone answered, he or she would ask for something trivial like directions to a nearby town. If no one would answer, they would break into the residence and steal money and items that would be easy to pawn, such as jewelry.

You can learn more in the Thursday, Nov. 14, News-Banner, but back in 2011, the News-Banner "On the Beat" blog published the following recommendations from State Farm Insurance to prevent burglaries.
  • Do not have money or jewelry lying out in view from a window. If possible, keep jewelry and other small valuables and important documents in a safe deposit box. Thieves who otherwise would have passed up your home might attempt a “smash and grab” to get at your valuables.
  • Don’t tell strangers your daily routines, and avoid telling others about the valuables in your home. If you’re at home working outside, leave all other doors that are out of sight locked.
  • Be wary about posting your vacation plans and updates on social media websites—even though you trust your friends, you never know who might learn that you’re not home.
  • If you have children, discuss home security with them, such as not talking with strangers about their home, its contents or family schedules.
  • When moving into a new residence, have the locks changed.
  • Consult a good locksmith to make sure you have the right types of locks on your doors and windows and that they’re all functioning. Don’t make assumptions. It’s always possible that previous owners or tenants improperly installed a lock, or that your locks are broken and need replacing.
  • Secure your exterior doors and any doors from attached garages by installing good quality deadbolt door locks, doorjamb reinforcement, security-type door strikes, and strong, properly installed doors and doorframes that cannot be spread apart.
  • Even if a garage is not attached, lock it. A burglar in your garage has access to tools to steal and ladders that can be used to gain entry onto the second floor.
  • Use ANSI Grade 1 locks—look for the designation on the packaging.
  • Secure your windows by installing additional locks and installing impact-resistant glass on any windows within 42" of a door lock. This will make it more difficult to break the glass, reach in, and unlock the lock.
  • Prune lower branches of trees near your house if they could help a burglar gain access to a second story window. Plant sharp and thorny bushes in vulnerable spots like under windows and around exterior doors.
  • Secure your patio door with a pin-type lock, a key lock, or a steel rod inserted into the door channel.
  • If possible, have your telephone calls forwarded when you are away from home. Burglars sometimes check to see if someone is home by making a telephone call.
  • Have a trusted neighbor pick up the mail and newspaper.
  • If away for an extended period, have a plan in place to have the grass mowed or snow shoveled.
  • If you are away from home on garbage pickup day, ask a trusted neighbor to put your garbage cans out to the street and take them back in. You may wish to have your neighbor use your garbage cans while you are out. Burglars sometimes check for empty cans as a sign the family is away.
  • Never leave notes your door such as "Gone shopping."
  • Use gravel or lava rock around your home instead of beauty bark. Gravel makes noise when stepped on.
  • Basements usually have the casement-style windows and are vulnerable to entry. Young people most responsible for burglary need very little space through which to enter a home, and poor window catches offer little resistance. Metal window bars or grills should be fastened to the inside of the window frame with an emergency latch release, to aid in exiting your home should a fire occur.
Finally, many online sources were divided on hiding house keys outside. All said not to use obvious spots, such as underneath a mat, flower pot or possibly even fake items, such as a rock (unless the fake item is group together with real items so as to not draw attention to itself). Many websites recommended, instead of hiding spare keys, that home owners give a spare key to a trusted neighbor.

However, the News-Banner did find two creative ideas from www.homesecurityadvice.com to hide spare keys in plain sight. We won't say that they necessarily work, but they are unique.
  • I heard about this family who gathered over 75 house keys and painted them different colors to make a wind chime. Only the family knew which color would allow them to open the front door. It’s an obvious location, but it’s creative and more than likely a criminal isn’t going to sit there and test 75+ keys to gain access.
  • I heard about another family who hid numerous keys around their property, but only one key allowed them access indoors. The point is to frustrate the criminal, and play a sort of mind game with them, so that they’ll eventually give up and go away.

No comments: