Home Burglary Prevention
The Hopkins Police Department urges residents to take some simple precautions that will reduce your chances of becoming a victim of a home burglary.
When do most break-ins occur?
- Daytime when occupants are at school or work
- July and August are the most the frequent months for break-ins—February is the least common.
How are homes targeted?
An unoccupied home with easy access, the greatest amount of cover and the best escape routes is most often chosen. Homeowners often make this selection process easy for thieves by failing to take simple precautions
What can you do to prevent becoming a victim?
- Make your home less inviting to a burglar; by installing good locks, trimming landscape and making good use of exterior lighting. Burglars will usually bypass a house if it requires too much effort or more skills or tools than they possess.
- Most break-ins are through front or back doors. Keep outside doors locked (unlocked outer doors to common hallways give thieves a chance to break in through inner doors while remaining out of sight of neighbors and police).
- Always lock the door that leads from your attached garage into your home.
Doors and Locks
The most common method of forced entry is to simply kick in the door. The weakest point is usually the lock strike plate.
- Use a solid core or metal door at entrance points.
- Use a heavy-duty deadbolt with a one-inch throw bolt.
- Use a heavy-duty strike plate with a minimum of four 3-inch screws that go into the frame of the door
- Use a wide angle peephole.
- When you move into a new house or apartment, change the door locks.
- Sliding glass doors are very vulnerable to attack. Insert a wooden dowel or stick into the door track to prevent movement or by using a “charlie bar.” There are also metal track blockers (screws installed into the track) or secondary locks available.
Windows are the most frequent point of entry during warm weather months. Windows are left unlocked at a much higher rate than doors. An open window that is visible from the street may be the sole reason that a house is targeted. An open window with only a locked window screen is particularly inviting to thieves—access is quick, easy and silent.
- Windows that have latches, not locks; should have secondary locking devices.
- Wooden sticks/dowels work well with horizontal sliding windows.
- For vertical windows, installing pins into the frame works well.
- For ventilation, leave no more than a 4 – 6 inch window opening.
- Make sure that opening is not large enough to allow someone to reach through to unlock the door or remove window lock.
Be a good neighbor
- Get to know your neighbors and communicate with each other regularly.
- Agree to watch each other’s home.
- While on vacation, pick up mail, newspapers, packages and flyers; put out their trash on trash day (and return empty barrels) and offer to park your car in their driveway.
What if you see something of someone acting suspicious?
If you see anyone acting suspicious around your house or a neighbor’s house, call 911 immediately.
If your house is broken into:
- Call police immediately. Don’t touch anything that the criminal may have touched.
- Don’t go in…wait outside for police to arrive.
- Write down plate numbers of suspicious vehicles.
Not all break-ins will be stopped, regardless of the precautions that you take. Talk to your insurance agent to make sure that your valuables will be covered in the event of a theft.
Contact the Police Department for your personal Operation ID number. Engrave your Operation ID number on televisions, stereos, computers and electronic devices. Photograph your valuables, especially jewelry and electronics. Make a list of make, model, serial numbers and value of important items and give a copy of this list to a relative or close friend or keep it locked in a safe.