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Law Enforcement Interview, Home Safety; V1

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

Recently I looked at the police and sheriff websites of 7 counties and 3 cities that make up my extended geographical area looking for crime prevention, home safety tips on their sites. I only found 2 sites that had such a section or document that was easily found. If the others had something posted I could not find it. So I began seeking out law enforcement personnel and asking a few basic questions about home break-ins/burglaries and how to protect against them.

My most recent discussion was with a deputy sheriff on the job for a couple of years. The deputy serves outside of an urban area and his experiences will not necessarily be the experiences in more urban environments.

In his experience burglaries largely fall into two categories random, where the perpetrators and victim do not know each other, and those that know each other, i.e. relative, boyfriend or girlfriend, neighbor, etc. The latter would be more intentional or targeted and therefore may be willing to go to greater lengths to get in, but the former, the random break-ins are more easily thwarted. These same people would rather ransack cars, which they do with much greater frequency. But when presented with an easy home burglary opportunity they will seize the moment. He mentions some of the obvious things to protect against this kind of perpetrator but puts a finer point on some of them. Lock your doors and windows and mentions specifically that the locks should be a sturdy lock, that is well installed. Alarms and cameras are important and do deter a significate percentage of burglaries. A survey I looked at a while back noted that 37% of burglars said the presence of a cameras would stop them from choosing that home. The deputy also mentioned putting safety bars on sliding doors that often have inferior locks.

The conversation then turned to communicating the importance of locking doors to your teenage residents of the home, who are often are given adult responsibilities by necessity, access to keys and or garage door codes to get into their homes after school. These teens often leave the doors open after entry. An open garage door is very tempting to the opportunist, would-be burglar. In the same vein, he mentioned; keeping commonly targeted items out of view; bicycles, purses, smart phones, laptops and other valuable items, out of sight and not next to windows or doors with windows.

As a closing question I asked what else would he recommend, or have we not covered? He said one word, diligence! Meaning it is not enough to know what to do, i.e., lock your doors, but that you and your household do the things that are commonly known ways of securing a home, as a regular practice. Checking Locks, arming alarms, and maintaining a camera systems need to become part of the household routine.

What I learned in this discussion is that it is the routine of common safety practices that is important. There is a lot of good safety information available out there. But it is up to the leaders of the household to communicate this information to its members, to create a truly safe home.

Plan for safety,

Andy, Senior Editor

Sources: NBC New York News Team survey, Deputy Sheriff interviewed and unnamed

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