Q: I am a stay-at-home mom who is always playing outside with my 2-year-old son. Our driveway is gated, and our yard is fenced in, but our alley gets a lot of use. My question is, is my home a target for thieves because they know I am there, probably alone, or a deterrent because I am home? What are some precautions I can take, if any?
A: In most cases, thieves who target residential dwellings for burglary do not want to have a confrontation with anyone. They desire to enter the property and take items without being noticed. Burglars will usually not target homes where the owners are home.
This does not preclude anyone from being victim of what is called a “home invasion robbery.” This is where suspects enter the home by force and take property. This type of crime is rare, but you should always take precautions.
The number one thing to keep in mind is not to live in fear, but to live smart. One way is to be alert and report suspicious activity to 911. Get the description of suspects, suspect vehicles and direction of travel. Never tell yourself that what you feel or see is probably no big deal. You need to rely on your intuition.
If people in your neighborhood are acting in a suspicious manner, it’s better for the Police Department to check it out and make sure that a crime is not being committed.
Residential burglary is a serious problem, and the police department cannot fight it alone. Anything you can do to make forced entry into your home more difficult is a step in the right direction. Good security will protect your family and possibly save a life.
The first step to improve security for your home is to first perform a thorough inspection. The Dallas Police Department has officers who will perform an inspection free of charge. Contact your local Interactive Community Policing officer at 214-670-7770 for information.
Also, get into the habit of surveying your home as you approach it. If you find evidence that someone has broken in, DO NOT ENTER and CALL THE POLICE! Should you confront a burglar, GET OUT OF THE WAY! Do not get between the burglar and the exit and do not attempt to stop him. Your life is more valuable than anything that is being stolen!
If someone is prowling around outside your home, do not let the person know you are alone. Call out to a companion in the house, “Honey, I think someone is outside,” and dial 911 immediately. Turn on the outside lights. If you are in your home and hear someone in your home, get out as quickly and safely as possible, or put as many doors as you can between you and them (a dead bolt in an interior door is a good idea.) Again, dial 911 immediately.
If the intruder is armed, and you cannot escape, do as he says. Instruct your children to do as he says. Remain calm. A burglar is more interested in taking your property than your life.
Memorize a description of the intruder and write it down. Do not rely on your memory. When making a report to 911, give the operator your name and address, the reason for your call, the location of the activity and a description of the suspect and any vehicle involved.