Target Selection (what burglars look for):
- Near pool of offenders (is there a parolee halfway home nearby).
- Near major thoroughfare.
- On outskirts of neighborhoods (greater exposure to strangers).
- Previously burglarized (4x more likely to get burglarized again compared to non-burglarized homes (reason-burglars return to get property left behind or tell others of desirable houses, offer cues for a good payoff or easy access. Burglars may return months later to steal property, which owners have presumably replaced through insurance proceeds. Most concentrated in lower-income areas, where burglaries are more numerous).
- Houses near burglarized homes (burglar may return and if previous house is hardened, select another nearby house).
- Houses vacant for extended period.
- Routinely vacant during the day.
- Houses of new residents.
- Houses w/o dogs (a dogs presence is a close substitute for human occupancy and most burglars avoid houses with dogs).
- Houses with cover (tall bushes, sprawling, dense trees that block view of house from street) are more appealing to burglars.
- Houses that are secluded are more appealing to burglars.
- Houses with poor lighting are more appealing to burglars.
- Corner houses are more vulnerable (fewer immediate neighbors).
- Houses with doors and windows that face other houses appear to be less vulnerable to burglary.
- Houses easily entered through side or back doors/windows.
- Hostile vegetation, such as rosebushes or cacti, below windows is good deterrent or window locks.
- Houses with weakened entry points.
- Houses whose residents are careless about security (leaving windows open) studies show houses with alarms combined with other security devices reduce burglaries (including window locks, dead bolts, security lights and alarms).
- Houses displaying signs of wealth (though burglars avoid the most expensive houses).
- See goods through windows of buildings or autos.
What Burglars are After:
- Easily portable items (not usually art, fine china, etc).
1999 statistics show burglars are:
- 87% male.
- 63% under 25.
What do burglars do:
- Burglarize 2+ houses a week.
- Burglars typically dispose of stolen property within 24 hours.
- 2/3 of burglars force entry, 1/3 enter through openings.
- Burglar swill be caught approx. 1 in 30 times.
- Most burglars motivated to get quick cash to support drug/alcohol habit.
Responses for homeowner (should be used in collaboration with each other, not all have to be used):
- Report all incidents to OPD using the on-line OPD Citizen’s Crime Report.
- Install a burglar alarm (Burglars steal less from houses with alarms).
- Install a CCTV system (Help more in identifying burglars and vehicles).
- Harden your target (Sturdy front door with deadbolt, window locks (no latches), double pane windows.
- Increase occupancy indicators (Interior/exterior lights left on, closed curtains, noise (from TV/stereo), cars in driveway, and
- electrics on timers, anything else to make it appear as if someone is home).
- Avoid leaving clues when you are away on extended vacations-collect mail/newspapers
- Improve visibility to the house from street/neighbors.
- Implement or participate in your Neighborhood Watch Program (and follow advice of program).
- Reduce House access.
- Reduce ways into the house, into the yard.
- Mark your property
- Engrave items:
- Use etching liquids
- Owner applied number
- Write down serial numbers and keep in secure spot, etc.
- Take photos of all equipment serial numbers using your smart cell phone.
- Engrave items:
- Install fake alarm signs (or real ones if you have a system).
- Install “Beware of Dog” signs (even if no dog).
- Place dog bowls in front of your property.
- Install locked gates in your yard’s rear access points.
Residents should use all installed security devices.
From US Dept of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services- www.cops.usdoj.gov
In addition to light timers, a burglar deterrent CD or MP3 can be played to mimic home occupancy while the owner is away.