Did you know that a burglary occurs approximately every 15 seconds in the United States?
Even though the average burglary results in a loss of less than $1,600, most people tell me that being the victim of a burglary can feel very intrusive; imagine someone you don’t know going through your dresser drawers and looking at your most private possessions.
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.
I am happy to report that here in Ukiah we do not experience a burglary every 15 seconds, but I am worried because the number of burglaries being reported by businesses has been on the rise recently.
I can assure you that one of the most important priorities for law enforcement is to identify and arrest the people committing these burglaries. To help prevent these crimes, I’ve included some tips 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. The fact is that homes and businesses without security systems are two to three times more likely to be broken into. 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 offer discounts 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.
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.
Use an engraving pen to write your current driver's license number on your belongings. Burglars don't want marked merchandise.
Keep bushes and trees near your house well-trimmed.
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—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.
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 to deter and prevent 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. Sometimes, you may just have a feeling that something’s wrong. Something may seem out of place or a little suspicious. Trust your instincts and contact us.
If you’d like help surveying your home or business to protect yourself from becoming a burglary victim, our Crime Prevention Officer Nancy Sawyer can help. You can reach Nancy by calling 707-467-5708 or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org .
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com