The Houston Police Department held in a press conference today to bring higher awareness to local residents of the risks of being a victim of a burglary and tips on how to prevent being the target of burglars.
According to HPD, burglaries have decreased about 8 percent in the city for the first six months of 2014, after dropping more than 10 percent in 2013, but prevention efforts are key in continuing this crime’s down trend.
Many intruders or burglars enter through weak doors, so HPD’s Community Services Unit advises citizens to have strong doors and door frames, including garage doors.
“Steel doors and frames provide better security because they are harder to get past. If you have hollow-wood type doors, they are easier to destroy,” said Sr. Police Officer James Byrd, a crime prevention specialist.
There are different types of doors that withstand a tremendous amount of pressure from break-in attempts, and they are affordable too. Residents should make sure all windows in their home are locked, even on higher levels. Byrd noted that people must be conscious of burglars who might be the athletic type and can enter through openings hard to reach for many.
HPD also says special attention must be paid to glass sliding doors too because they are usually secluded from public view in back doors areas or patios. A long stick like a broomstick or a metal rod can work to lock a sliding door if placed on the track between the door frame and the door.
“But be more careful to secure these types of back entrances. Extended bolt locks can be installed to help prevent the door from being unhinged or removed from its track,” Byrd said.
Metal bars or rails could be placed on glass entrances as long they’re not bolted on the wall and they are removable in case of a fire.
“Also, don't advertise you're going out of town in social media like Facebook or tell people you don’t know well,” Byrd said. “But you can tell reliable neighbors and ask them to watch your property while you are gone.”
HPD notes that burglars will sometimes log your departure and arrival times from and to your home. Careful residents can ruin their plot with the following tips:
-Leave a few lights on or use timers that will turn lights on and off periodically.
-Leave drapes in a normal position. Drapes or shades fully closed give a deserted look or open wide can give potential burglars a view of what’s inside a home.
-Use an etching device to mark your valuables with an identifying mark known only to you.
-Make an inventory list of all your belongings, include serial numbers.
-Stop all newspaper deliveries and have someone pick up your mail.
-Store an inventory of your smaller valuables in a safe deposit box or fire safe, or file it with your insurance company.
-Share this safety information with your neighbors verbally and through social media.
To see an HPD home security demonstration by crime prevention experts on how to best protect your home, go to the HPD YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n0qtTORGII. To schedule a home security check by an officer at your home, call HPD Public Affairs at 713 308 3200 or your local law enforcement agency.