Wellington County OPP are telling citizens that knowing how a thief thinks will help them avoid becoming a victim of theft.
“If you are like most people, you are concerned about the safety of your home and your community,” said OPP Constable Mark Cloes. “One particular type of crime that causes tremendous stress for the victims is breaking and entering, or burglary.”
Victims of home break-ins typically find the experience more than just a physical loss. They find it traumatic, disturbing, and intimidating. Many are anxious for weeks afterward, and have a feeling of being personally violated.
Cloes said that predictably, residential break-ins will happen more frequently in households where crime prevention measures have not been taken. It is relatively easy to take effective precautions without becoming a fortress.
He said that most home break-ins occur in daylight. Typically those crimes are often committed by young men between ages 16 and 25. Most occur on weekdays between 9am and 5pm when homeowners are most likely to be gone from the home at work.
“Amateur burglars are opportunists,” Cloes said. “They don’t choose homes randomly, but they look for opportunities – houses that can be approached without neighbours seeing or hearing anything; a door left ajar; or a window propped open for ventilation, a garage door left up when you are gone.
“Some crooks cruise a neighbourhood, looking for a house that seems unoccupied. If no one responds to the doorbell or knocking, they will examine the home more closely, looking at the type of windows; look for alarms; and so on.”
Cloes said that breaking into a home is not a sophisticated crime. To gain access to a building, crooks do not rely on skill, but on concealment, speed, and force. In most break-ins, they enter the house from a door or window located in the basement or on the ground floor.
Once in, they steal anything that might be valuable and can be easily carried, and sold. The thieves work quickly, often demonstrating an uncanny ability to locate hidden valuables.
Cloes said that consumer electronics, TVs, digital cameras, computers, laptops and so on, are the most popular stolen items. Cash, jewellery, and liquor are also favoured items.
The county OPP advises homeowners to be proactive in the safety and security of the home and make it less desirable to criminals. By knowing the conditions favourable to burglars and taking steps to eliminate those conditions, homeowners can greatly reduce the chances that their home will be targeted for a break-in.
Security tips that will help to reduce thieves targeting your home include:
– if someone comes to the door asking to use the phone to call for assistance, offer to place the call yourself and do not let them into the home;
– don’t give information about the household to telephone surveys; and
– if the house is equipped with an alarm, use it. Make sure all family members use the alarm as well.