301 W. Franklin Street
Taylorville, IL 62568
CALL 911 FOR EMERGENCY
FROM THE SHERIFFíS DESK VOL. 2, NUMBER 6
By Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp
HOW YOU CAN REDUCE THE CHANCE OF HOME INVASIONS:
Home invasions have been growing steadily. In troublesome economic times, that is not surprising. Still the FBI estimates that over 1.5 million occur each year. Thatís about one every 15 seconds. The thieves in these actions net about $1,500 to $2,000 each.
These home invasions may be robbery, which is theft of money or property from an individual by force or by threat of force, or burglary, which does not expect or anticipate that a victim will be at the scene.
Thieves who favor invasions of empty houses, generally survey neighborhoods looking for homes that appear to be empty at the time. Consequently, if our homes are vulnerable, we can reduce chances of the criminalís success by using techniques and strategies that make the condition less obvious.
Here are some ideas that help create that impression:
Bring trashcans in from the street, or ask neighbors to do so. That suggests that someone is home.
If the house is going to be empty for a while, leave some lights on, preferably on timers. The idea is to make it appear someone is indeed home. It will be difficult for someone surveying the area to quickly determine whether a house is empty or not. Some newer versions of these lights are especially effective because they appear be from a television set thatís currently in use.
Install a burglar alarm. When an alarm goes off, burglars tend to disappear very quickly.
When parking your car, put it in the garage and keep the garage doors closed. If you have to park outside, donít park directly in front of the house. Park it down the street a little. The idea is to stop your car from being an accurate indicator of whether the house is empty or not.
If you have children, teach them to keep toys and bikes out of the front yard.
Also work with your kids to understand that when they are home alone, they are not, ever to open the door except to you.
Senior Citizens or women living alone should consider leaving items such as a pair of menís boots or other garments lying about.
Think about getting a dog for protection. If that can't be done, how about leaving an empty dog bowl (make it a big one) on the porch or a "Beware of Dog" sign to give the impression that Fido is there.
Keep track of all of your keys to the house. Donít leave a key under the doormat or any other likely hiding place like a mailbox or a flowerpot. Don't have any item on a key ring that contains your name or address
Lock away your valuables. Make a list of them and keep them and receipts somewhere safe. Taking photographs of these items is a good idea. Take digital photos of belongings and keep them on a flash drive. If you have a laptop, itís probably more likely to be stolen, so keep the record photos on a desktop computer. If you can engrave your name on valuable items, it tends to make them somewhat less likely to be taken. Get a list of serial numbers as well. These steps can be helpful if someone steals them and takes them to a pawnshop. Theyíll also help identify recovered items.
If you receive a telephone call from someone who asks "what number is this?" don't tell them. Instead ask them what number they're calling.
Don't leave on your phone message system any information concerning the time you may be away. And be very careful about putting any travel plans or dates on any social media.
If you are going away for a number of days, be sure to stop mail delivery by notifying your post office. Cancel newspaper delivery as well.
If someone is at your door, when you get close to it, say loudly "Iíll get it!" That indicates someone else is in the house with you. Talk to any such person only through the closed and locked door. Demand identification from anyone you do not know if itís likely they are legitimate. If someone claims they are in distress or need help, tell them you are calling the police.
I am going to publish a full listing of these steps plus some others that can prove helpful. The complete listing will be on the Sheriffís web site where you can download it. If you don't have computer access, you'll be able to get a copy from our office.
When you get the whole program, you'll find such things as appropriate phone numbers to call and organizations which can provide some services which would be useful to you. The listing will also be very helpful when you wish to review it with your family members.
The more of this we can do, the better our chances of reducing these crimes.
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