The on-going financial crisis affects more than budgets and your pocketbook. Now more than ever criminals are turning to crimes of opportunity. In the past few months Palm Bay has seen a widespread increase in burglaries of unsecured cars and homes. It is not financially or physically possible to have an officer patrol every street corner. But there are several tips and measures you can follow to help decrease your risk of becoming a theft victim.
- Always close your windows and lock all doors. It may sound easy, but make it a nightly routine. A two minute walk around the house or your car is the first step in preventing a possible burglary.
- Don’t keep valuables in plain sight. These items include wallets, cell phones, mp3 players, GPS systems or laptops. Car burglars feel like they’ve struck gold when they see valuables left in an unattended car. If the item is easy to grab and run with, no locked window will keep a burglar from breaking it and taking off with your valuables. Don’t forget to keep your garage door opener hidden as well. Once a burglar gets their hands on it they will have easy access to your home.
- Park in well lit areas. If you are traveling at night, even a quick run to the grocery store, make sure you park in well lit areas. Burglars work in secrecy and are less likely to strike an area of the parking lot that is clearly visible. If you park your car in the driveway consider installing motion detector lights. This preventative measure will help alert you and your neighbors if someone is in your driveway in the middle of the night. Not to mention the light coming on may also deter the burglar from continuing any farther.
- Secure all outside storage units and equipment. Keep lawn mowers, barbeque grills, bicycles and other outdoor equipment stored out of sight from passersby. And when you are making your nightly rounds checking locked doors, don’t forget the garden shed.
- Don’t leave spare keys out in the open. Hide-a-keys and door mats are not secure ways of leaving an extra house key around. If you need to have a spare, get with a trusted neighbor and swap keys. This way they can identify the appropriate people who can have access to your home while you are away.
When it comes to crime there are no guarantees; anyone can be a victim. If you are burglarized in the future there is one final step you can take now to help the police recover your items. Keep an up-to-date list of serial numbers and descriptions for all your electronic devices and other valuables. The list should include the make/brand, model number, serial number and physical description of each item including the color, size and other identifying characteristics. Follow these few simple steps and start taking a proactive stance against burglars and crimes of opportunity.