Last week, a husband and wife team that have been volunteers for the Manteca Seniors Helping Area Residents and Police unit for almost a decade, returned home from an outing to realize that they were victims of a burglary. Some of their valuables had been dumped on a front room chair and as that was sinking into their minds, they heard a noise coming from a bedroom.
While investigating the noise, they surprised a burglar rummaging through an overturned jewelry box. The thief, estimated to be 16 to 20 years old, fled out a bedroom door with the victims in pursuit. The suspect got away through a back alley with some of the victim’s valuables wrapped up in some type of black cloth.
Included in those valuables was a Black Hills Gold Ring that the husband had given his wife when they were teenagers.
A search of the area by police and neighbors found no trace of the burglar that had been wearing a hoodie covering his head. The couple felt that if they had been a little quicker, they would have been able to tackle the suspect, but instead now feel very violated from the home invasion in the place they felt safe and secure for 35 years.
This case sounds similar to home invasion and burglaries I worked as a detective in the 1980’s. Victims felt the loss of irreplaceable valuables and the fact that the one place you feel safe and relaxed in has been taken away from you. Victims said that they couldn’t sleep and jumped at every noise; some had to move away.
To help keep burglary and home invasion from happening to you there are a few things to consider:
Make your home look like it will be hard to get into without being noticed. Cut down shrubs that can hide a burglar from view while he/she breaks a window or door. If there are easier pickings somewhere else, that is where the burglar is likely to go.
Don’t leave any windows, garage or doggy doors open. Two of the most common entry points for a burglar are open garage doors and small rear bathroom windows.
Install an alarm system. If you don’t want to pay for monitoring, there are inexpensive models with auto dialers. When a detector is tripped, these will dial a set of preprogrammed phone numbers and alert the call receiver that there is an alarm. Some models allow the room to be monitored for sound and talk through the dialer into the room.
Join, or set up a neighborhood watch. Your neighbors can be your best eyes and ears. Most police agencies have information on this program and will help set them up.
Notice what is going on in your neighborhood. Are there cars that don’t belong, door to door salesmen walking around, a gut feeling that something is not right? Jot down information like license numbers, descriptions of people, and the date and time.
Going on vacation? Make your house look lived in. Use light timers at night, have mail and news papers stopped or picked up daily by a neighbor or family member.
Install video surveillance systems or hidden cameras with digital video recorders (DVR). There are a number of diferent types that range from under $200.00 to several thousand for complete systems that can be accessed from the internet.
Don’t allow any uninvited person to enter your house to use the phone, bathroom, or any other excuse. Some can turn into home invasion robberies or a return to your home for a burglary at a later time. Remember just because the doorbell rings, does not mean you need to open the door. You can say no thank you through the closed door to let them know your home and prepared.
Hide valuables in a diversion safe. These normal looking household items are hollowed out for you to store money, Jewelry and other small posessions.
These are a some of the main things that can be done for securitry sake to help you keep from becoming a victim of home invasion and burglary. As you can see in the above true story, it can happen to anyone.