October is Crime Prevention Month, and a very important topic for all of us here at NCPC is neighborhood and home safety. Did you know that burglaries can happen during the daytime or even while you are home? Burglary is the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or a theft. A person can be convicted of burglary even if nothing is actually stolen. According to the Burglary Statistics on the Discovery Channel™ website, a burglary occurs approximately every 15 seconds in the United States. Nearly 66 percent of all burglaries are residential, and of those, 62 percent occur during the daytime. Most burglaries occur between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., when no one is likely to be at home. About 30 percent of all burglaries are classified as "unlawful entry," meaning the burglar was able to gain entry without using force — often through an unlocked door or window. Scary statistics, however, most burglaries are preventable.
Being burglarized is a very real threat to you and your family, especially if you live in one of the larger metropolitan areas. In the Federal Bureau of Investigation's "Crime in the United States" Report in 2010, victims of burglary offenses suffered a collective estimated loss of $4.6 billion in property in 2010; overall, the average dollar loss per burglary offense was $2,119.
In Burglary of Single-Family Houses, a publication produced by the Community Oriented Policing Services Office of the U.S. Department of Justice, it was shown that burglars select targets based on a number of key factors, including the following:
- Familiarity with the target and convenience of the location
- Visibility or surveillability
- Vulnerability or security
- Potential rewards.
Below are some helpful crime and burglary prevention steps you can take to help combat crime and make a difference in your community.
- Use common sense—don’t be an easy target.
- Install quality locks on doors and windows and use them. Lock and close your doors and windows even when you're home. Do not rely on thumb-turn locks on windows, as they can be unlocked through a broken window.
- Install deadbolt locks and peepholes on exterior doors and any interior door between the garage and house. Do not leave your garage door open or unlocked if you are not in the immediate area.
- Pay attention to suspicious activity or anything that appears out of place. Immediately report any and all suspicious activity by calling your local 24-hour non-emergency number or 911 in the event of an emergency.
- If you have an alarm, set it!
- Lighting is one of the best deterrents to nightime burglary—indoor and outdoor lighting are important. Install lights by all exterior doors and make bulbs hard to reach.
- Beware of solicitors. Door-to-door salespeople have a business license or permit issued by the City, so always ask to see it for verification.
- Don't let strangers into your home—this includes workers and other—if you are not with them. Never give keys to people making improvements to your home.
- If you are going to be out of town have family, friends, or neighbors check on your home. Do not hide spare house keys outside your home but leave them with a trusted neighbor instead.
- Photograph your valuables and engrave your property with a form of identification, such as your driver's license number.
- Have locks changed or re-keyed when moving into a new home or apartment.
- Install track-type locks, drop bars, wooden dowels, or pinning devices on sliding glass doors.
- Trim shrubs around doors and windows so burglars don't have a sheltered place to work.
- Store ladders in the garage or padlock them to fixed objects so burglars can't use them to reach upper floor windows.