Having something valuable stolen can really be frustrating.
Having something priceless taken from you can be devastating.
We all have things that would be hard, if not impossible, to replace. Maybe it’s a favorite family picture, or a gift your deceased grandmother gave you after high school graduation. Maybe it’s an important document like your will or a treasured family heirloom that has been handed down through many generations. When people are robbed, victims tell us what hurts the most isn’t losing money or expensive items; it’s loosing something that can’t be replaced.
Some things truly are priceless.
Along with loosing these valuables, most people say that being the victim of a burglary is one of the most intrusive events they have ever experienced.
Imagine for a moment what it would feel like to have someone you don’t know going through the most private areas of your business or home – like your dresser drawers or bedside table. That just isn’t right.
During the last few weeks, a number of businesses and homes here in the Ukiah and Redwood Valley areas have been burglarized.
During a typical month, the Ukiah Police Department (UPD) investigates about 15 home and business burglaries, and more than 30 significant thefts. That’s more than one invasive burglary or felony theft every single day.
But during the month of January, the number of burglaries – especially of businesses – has risen significantly. Here in the City of Ukiah, more than 20 businesses have been burglarized since the start of the year, and this new string of burglaries has stretched throughout the Ukiah Valley and Redwood Valley areas.
Burglaries are becoming way too common.
Did you know that a burglary occurs approximately every 15 seconds in the United States?
Although the items you may lose are priceless to you, the average burglary results in a loss of less than $1,600. 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. Nearly 66 percent of all burglaries are residential, and of those, 62 percent occur during the daytime between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., when no one is likely to be home.
And, homes and businesses without security systems are two to three times more likely to be broken into.
I can assure you that one of most important priorities for our police officers and sheriff’s deputies is to identify and arrest those who are committing these burglaries. To help prevent these crimes, I’ve included some ways to protect both your home and your business.
First, keep thieves out.
A home security system can deter thieves with noise or an automatic call to the police. Good outside lighting also helps keep thieves away. Another barrier to entry is a strong exterior door; solid wood or metal provides better protection against break-ins than doors with lots of glass.
And, don’t forget about locks for pet doors and windows. A simple pet door or an open window can become a point of entry for a thief.
Most insurance companies will offer you a discount if you take steps to prevent burglaries (including installing an alarm system). Some insurance companies offer checklists to help you protect your home and office. Here’s a list of common recommendations:
¨ Secure sliding doors. Put a steel rod in the door channel. Install two or three screws in the overhead track to reduce the chance of the door being lifted out of the track.
¨ Install a burglar alarm system.
¨ Have a wide-angle door viewer (peephole) installed in your front door, so you can see who is at the door. Cover it when you’re not using it so people cannot use a reverse lens to look inside your home.
¨ Use an engraving pen to write your current driver's license number on your property. Burglars don't want marked merchandise.
¨ Keep bushes and trees near your house well trimmed. Thick, tall shrubbery provides cover for a burglar, allowing them to work undetected.
¨ Keep the area around your house well lit. This will discourage burglars.
¨ Talk with your neighbors. Neighbors working together make one of the best crime-fighting teams around.
¨ Make sure that the locks on your doors and windows are strong and secure, and then use them.
¨ Display "Beware" signs. If you have a dog or an alarm system, put up signs that say so. They deter thieves.
¨ Make a home inventory list, complete with photos or video. Store this list away from your home.
¨ Never leave a house key in an obvious place such as a mailbox or under a doormat.
¨ Be careful with your keys. Put your house and car keys on separate key rings, and don't put identification tags on keys.
¨ Have a security plan for when you are on vacation. Ask a trusted neighbor to pick up your mail and keep an eye on things.
We need your help.
The best tool law enforcement has in deterring and preventing crimes is the help we get from the eyes and ears of people in local neighborhoods and business districts (day and night). We need your help; when you think something’s wrong, call us, whether it’s a burglary, auto theft, car break-in, vandalism, graffiti, drug dealing or gang activity. Sometimes, you may just have a feeling that something’s wrong; something may seem out of place or seem a little suspicious. Trust your instincts and contact us.
Calling law enforcement could be the difference between us knowing or not knowing about criminal activity. To report suspicious activity or a crime occurring within Mendocino County call the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office at 463-4086, or 911 for in-progress crimes.
To report suspicious activity or a crime occurring within the City of Ukiah, call the Ukiah Police Department at 463-6262, or 911 for in-progress crimes.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have any suggestions or comments about how we can improve, please feel free to call me, complete our online survey, or leave a crime tip on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.