Coming home to see your home or apartment torn apart is a feeling no person should ever have to endure, it is a violation of your property and your person as well. Your home is your safe place and once it has been violated, it is a traumatic experience. Fortunately, there are steps you can take that will discourage someone from entering your home.
What is a Burglary?
Most times when we think of robbery or home invasion it involves a weapon and violent behavior, but a burglary is the opposite. It is a nonviolent crime that usually takes place when you are not home or in a separate part of the house.
There is no set age range, from early teen to late sixties and older. A person who makes his living on breaking into people’s homes is generally non-violent and prefers no human contact whatsoever. They typically are not armed because the penalty or possessing a weapon is a lot stiffer.
How Do They Get In Your Home?
- Unlocked doors and windows from the basement up to the second floor.
- Forcible entry through doors by kicking, prying or simply throwing a heavy object through a rear sliding glass door.
What Do When If You Are A Victim of Burglary.
- If you come home and you see that your home has been robbed, Leave Immediately.
- Call 911.
- If you’re trapped in your home, get to a safe room or out of the house, call 911.
- Do not touch or move anything, your house is now a crime scene.
- Expect to Wait A While. It will take several hours to process it and there will be fingerprint dust.
- Resist the instinct to clean your house and repair the damage.
When Do They Strike?
Burglaries can happen any day of the week but if there was a time of day it is more likely your home will be broken into it is late afternoon to early evening. This is when it starts to get dark and most people are traveling, picking up kids from school or coming home from work.
How Long Does It Take To Rob Your Home?
A seasoned professional can be in and out of your home in 4 minutes. There are cases were burglars kick the front door in, even if an alarm is on and go to work. They know the most likely places you will hide your valuables.
Where Do They Target?
Dining Room and Master Bedroom are where you keep most of your prized possessions.
What Do They Steal?
Jewelry and jewelry boxes, safes, cash, personal paper work (pass ports, driver’s license, birth certificates, social security cards), laptops, flatware, fur coats and collectibles are all on their shopping list.
How Can You Prevent Them From Entering Your Home?
The criminal, violent or nonviolent, makes a risk reward decision based on ability, desire and opportunity. In order to prevent yourself from becoming a victim, you must present a challenge.
Prepare the outside. Look at your home and ask yourself, “Where can I get into my home without anyone seeing me?”
- Lock doors and windows.
- Have an alarm on with inside motion detectors activated.
- Establish your territory. This will send a clear message. Provide clear border definition between public and private property. This lets them know that they are trespassing. This can be done with signage like alarm company logos or “No Trespassing”, fences or landscaping.
- Lighting with motion sensors. Criminals will look to enter your home in an area not in view of the public.
Prepare the inside
- Take pictures or video your stuff.
- Get your valuables out of the dining room and master bedroom.
- Get a safe.
- Make photocopies of your credit card, passports and identification and put them in your safe.
- Place firearms, safes and valuables in the attic or basement.
If you see a suspicious vehicle in your area or someone loitering where they shouldn’t be, don’t hesitate to call the police. A lot of crimes are prevented because people react to suspicious behavior. It is never a bother to law enforcement. The police depend on the community’s eyes and ears. It’s their duty to respond to what you see, they can’t be everywhere. When you choose to work with them it makes their job easier and your community safer.
Agencies that are here to help you:
National Center for Victims of Crime
Downloadable “GetHelp” bulletins on all types of crime and victimization, victims’ rights, compensation, and civil justice, among many others. Toll-free helpline and e-mail address for victims to receive information and referrals to services. Special information for teen victims of crime.
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Information for victims on safety planning, violence at the workplace, internet safety, and identity theft.
National Organization for Victim Assistance
Information on victimization, trauma, and how to find help. Specific information on crime victims with disabilities, elderly victims, and domestic violence. Criminal justice system glossary. Links to national and state victim resources.
National Sexual Violence Resource Center
Articles and other materials about sexual violence. Links to other victim resources.