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Burglaries increase; safety measures should, too

In the most densely-populated area of Falcon, north of Judge Orr Road and south of County Line Road, between Meridian Road and Elbert Road, the El Paso County Sheriff reported that from 2012 to 2013, the number of homes burglarized increased by 10. ìWe see spikes in burglaries every once in a while throughout the county,î said Lt. Jeff Kramer, public information officer with the sheriffís office. ìThe most recent and notable one was in Security.î That rash of incidents involved an individual approaching a house and ringing the doorbell to see if someone was home, Kramer said. When no one answered, the person would break through the sliding glass door at the rear of the house or even through the picture window in the front.ìItís not uncommon for one approach to be to knock or ring the doorbell before trying to gain entry,î he said. Kramer said itís common that the burglar wants to know if there is someone at home. ìThey donít want to encounter someone,î he said.Kramer said crimes occur when three variables work together: Someone has the desire to commit the crime; there is an available target; and there is an opportunity to commit the crime. ìThe only things that we control as the victims are the target and opportunity,î he said. ìLetís not give them an opportunity to target us for a crime, and letís make sure that weíre doing everything we can to make our home a much more difficult target.îKramer discussed ways that people can safeguard their homes.Installing alarms is one option. Having large dogs on the property is another. Just their bark deters a burglar. ìHaving a higher level of awareness in your neighborhood or being involved in an organized neighborhood watch are other options,î Kramer said. ìJust knowing that neighbors are looking out for you and that you are looking out for them can help.îAssess the homeís vulnerability like lighting. Burglars tend to hit in the dark, so having ample lighting is important, Kramer said. Donít landscape to allow hiding areas for burglars. Secure entry points such as doors and windows on the ground level.ìThere are a lot of after-market products to enhance locks and deadbolts or to add them,î he said. ìWhen homes are first built, if you consider your door frame, that little latch plate where your doorknob closes, those are initially installed with screws that are extremely short. If someone were to kick that door open, that latch plate can be torn from the door frame. Those screws that you need to use should be longer, more sturdy screws to provide stability.ìSliding-glass doors also have a normal latch lock. A person can often just grab hold of the door; the door will have some slack in it, and sometimes the lock will drop below where it catches ñ and the door will open. You should consider a dowel or stick, something that holds about midway up on the door.îSecure doggie doors and install wide-angle door viewers or peepholes. Lock the door between the garage and the house.ìWeíve seen car break-ins where the only intent was to steal the garage door opener to come back later,î Kramer said. ìIf you notice that someone has rummaged through your glove box but not taken anything, sometimes theyíre looking to see your registration information to get your address and then they steal the opener. They have your opener and your address, and that makes for super easy access.îIn the event that something like that happens, Kramer said itís best to disconnect the electric opener to the garage and raise it manually until the opener can be reprogrammed. He said, if possible, donít leave the garage door opener or registration information in the car when itís not in use.Kramer also said to watch out for strange cars that might be stopped on the street near the house, especially in the morning hours. Many burglars wait for people to leave their homes to go to work.ìWe would love a phone call on that to come out and check it out,î he said. ìI donít think that point can be overstated. We would rather have you call us and have it be nothing. If you see suspicious activity, donít hesitate to call.î

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