Many citizens often ask
police personnel the most common forms of home burglary. Here are
a few scenarios that are often reported. No one likes the thought
of someone else entering their domain and plundering through their
hard-earned investments and belongings. You may have already been
a victim, or know someone else who has. Please read and consider
the Crime Prevention tips below to possibly gain knowledge in order to
protect your home and belongings.
Element #1...The Burglar
Before attempting to
protect your home from attack consider the criminal element that may
attempt to violate your space. The majority, but not all, home
burglaries occur during daylight hours. These burglaries occur
while people are at work, away running errands, etc.
Surprisingly enough, burglaries have occurred in as little time as
it takes a victim to run to the corner store, pick up children from
school or daycare, and believe it or not, even when the victim is
preoccupied in the front or back yard doing chores! The
burglar who enters your home during these incidences, are burglars
of opportunity. They more than likely will not "stake out"
your place in advance, they just saw an open opportunity. Some
burglars do invest some time observing your work schedule and errand
habits, then will take that time frame to do their work. These
types of burglars look for soft and east targets, after all, if they
wanted to work, they would get a job. It is easier for them to
steal your valuables than to work for their own. Sadly, many
of your valuables that you paid good money for are resold or traded
for hundreds of dollars less or for something else they wanted.
So do not make a burglar's job easy, target harden your property.
Burglars want to get in FAST and EASY, remove those possibilities
and chances are they will move to a softer and easier target.
The home burglar will
most likely enter through an area that you may have thought as
secure. Have you heard the expression "locks keep honest
people out?" It is true in most cases. Locks that are
standard issue for today's home and apartments are simply not built
or designed to withstand the forceful impact that burglars dole out.
Usually, standard issue locks are easily bypassed with a minimum of
effort. Sliding glass doors and windows are particularly easy
to gain entry from. Without proper reinforcement, all doors
are easily "kicked in." Your best defense against is thorough
RESEARCH of products that are available as reinforcement. Go
to your local hardware store and ask about "auxiliary locks" for
doors and windows. Compare products and the applications of
each. The last thing you want to do is purchase unnecessary
hardware. BE CAREFUL TO CONSIDER FIRE ESCAPE REQUIREMENTS!
Element #3...Location of Entry
This element is most
times the back of the home. A door or window that is hidden
from view from the front or roadside of the home is extremely
vulnerable. This is the favorite location of the burglar
because it offers concealment. Privacy fences as well as large
overgrown shrubbery offers burglars cover. Shrubbery should be
no higher than 2 feet. The canopy of trees should be no lower
than 6 feet from the ground. To give more visibility into
backyards, every other slat can be removed from wooden privacy
fences. Most importantly, you should fortify rear and side
entrances into your home. That being said, do not neglect the
front of your home, burglars also have used many front doors and
windows in broad daylight as entry points.
Element #4...Burglary Alarms & "Operation Inventory"
Hands down, many law
enforcement officers agree that an "Audible & Monitored" burglary
system is best. It sounds loudly when there has been a breach,
then the alarm company contacts the police department if the proper
codes were not given by the resident or if no answer was received
from the home. Alarm companies offer many options of services.
As an example, if you had a audible monitored alarm, but did not
have "glass break sensors," an intruder could feasibly enter your
home through a window by breaking it, but not opening it.
Therefore, the alarm was not activated since the contacts on the
window have not been moved. As you can see, depending on the
"layers" of protection you add, so could the cost. You have to
weigh the benefits and see if it is a reasonable option for your
family. As earlier stated...RESEARCH. Compare different
alarm companies and see what they offer.
"Operation Inventory" is
a brochure that the Tampa Police Department designed and promotes to
encourage residents to document the model, serial number, and
descriptions of their valuables. You can download an
"Operation Inventory" brochure. Please take the time to
fill out the brochure and then keep it in a safe place for later
reference if needed. Many valuables could be returned to
the proper owners if they had documented the model and serial
numbers when reporting stolen items.
Neighborhood Watch is a program promoted by the Tampa Police
Department that enlists citizens to actively participate in the
betterment and safety of their community. In today's
hustle and hurry, people seem to be reluctant to "get involved."
It very well may be that the neighbor 3 doors down from you is a
burglary victim too and information "hidden" in the neighborhood
could solve the crimes! Utilizing others available time
and talents has a strong possibility of turning around crime
trends in neighborhoods. There are many people that are
stay at home Moms and Dads, professionals working from their
homes, and our most under utilized resource, retired senior
citizens. All of these individuals could potentially be
the "eyes & ears" of the neighborhood by joining an established
Neighborhood Watch group, or starting one themselves. If
you would be interested in Neighborhood Watch, or would like
additional Crime Prevention tips, please contact your
Neighborhood Affairs Liaison.
Please share these tips
with friends, family, and neighbors. Unfortunately, sometimes
even the best efforts you take to protect your home may fail,
depending upon the determination of the burglar. Make your
home the most uninviting house on the block to a burglar, and the
hardest target to hit.