With owning a home comes the need to keep it secure. While no house can be completely burglar-proofed, local police said there are steps homeowners can take to reduce the risk of becoming a victim.
Just as vehicle owners should always lock car doors, so too should homeowners keep house doors secured. Sherman Police Sgt. D.M. Hampton said criminals are looking for an easy way in, so an unlocked door and an unlatched window makes the crime that easy.
“The more layers that you have as far protection, the better off you are,” Hampton said.
Most criminals want a theft to be easy, and they don’t want to be seen or heard while committing the crime. So adding levels of security can deter criminals from wanting to even attempt the crime at a particular property. Denison Police Lt. Mike Eppler said having good locks on doors and windows and having a secondary locking device on sliding glass doors can slow down crooks and dissuade them from pursuing the crime.
“If you can slow somebody down 20 to 30 seconds, a lot of times that’s enough to make them want to go somewhere else,” Eppler said. “They don’t want to be seen, and they don’t want to be heard.”
While burglaries can occur at any time, including daylight hours, well-lit areas and security lighting can be effective deterrents to nighttime thieves. Eppler said lights with motion sensors that activate should someone walk within a certain distance are useful tools.
And loud pets can keep the criminals at bay, Eppler said.
“A lot of folks have dogs and that’s a really big deterrent whenever a dog starts barking,” Eppler said.
Alarms systems add levels of deterrence to potential burglars, and Eppler said homeowners with the systems should post that they have it as the sign can be a deterrent as well. Security cameras make for a useful deterrent, and if a burglar should come calling, the camera footage may lead police to the suspect.
“Of course we wish we could live in a world where people wouldn’t have to have cameras, but it is a big benefit to have them,” Eppler said. “If somebody does come around we can see who it is. It gives us an idea of who it is we’re dealing with.”
With images taken from security cameras, Hampton said police are able to share that information on social media and with other departments and intelligence centers throughout the region and state, so police can sometimes find out if that person is involved in similar burglaries. With more eyes on the suspect, it could lead to a positive identification and hopefully an arrest.
Vehicles, even those parked outside homes, are a common target for burglars, and the simplest deterrent is to keep it locked. If somebody really wants to enter a vehicle, they will, but Hampton said they’re much less likely to break a window. Breaking a window, he said, is going to cause noise, and it’s going to attract attention. Criminals want to just walk up to a vehicle, pull the handle and open it up, so that’s what they’re looking for. Hampton said bystanders are more likely to call police on someone breaking into a vehicle than someone opening a door.
“They’re more likely to call in on a person who is busting it out with a rock or some type of object verses somebody just getting into a car,” Hampton said. “They’re going to assume that that’s their vehicle.”
For external buildings like sheds and detached garages, Eppler said the same rules apply. The buildings should be secured with strong locks that can’t be severed with bolt-cutters and the structures should have good exterior lighting.
Hampton said it’s useful for residents to think about how they would break in to their own property, and that could show them where they need to focus their security efforts. Should a homeowner experience a burglary, call police.
“If it looks like it’s been entered — if they can see that before they go into the home, they don’t even need to enter the house,” Eppler said. “They need to back away and call us right then. They don’t even need to go in and check.”
While none of these measures guarantee a property is safe from burglary, Hampton said these steps add work for a thief, which makes a burglary less likely.
“If anybody really wanted to get in there they could, but if you make it more and more work for them, then there’s a chance they’re less likely going to take that chance,” Hampton said.