Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Wichita police are launching a new campaign to curb home break-ins before they become a problem this summer.
In 2009, the city recorded a 9.6% increase in the number of home burglaries, mostly during the summer months. However, overall numbers were slightly down because of a drop in business-related break-ins.
Lt. Barry Von Fange said most home burglaries are crimes of opportunity. Burglars find an easy target and strike quickly.
"If you have ever locked yourself out of the house, you may have found yourself walking around the exterior of your home looking for the easiest way in," Von Fange said. "Burglars do the same thing."
Von Fange said as warmer weather settles in, many homeowners open their windows, doors and garages. Some forget to close or lock them at the end of the day.
Garages are an especially easy target, Von Fange said.
"It only takes 30 seconds or less for a burglar to come in and take what's yours," Von Fange told KAKE News.
To help keep homeowners from becoming victims, Wichita police will begin hanging yellow notices on the doors of homes that could be potential targets, especially those with open garages.
Von Fange said electronics are the most common target for thieves. Televisions and gaming systems top the list. Taking photos and recording serial numbers, along with engraving your name and contact information, can make it easier to locate and return stolen property.
In 2008, the FBI estimates citizens lost about $4.6 billion to burglars.
Von Fange said it's not uncommon to receive more than 400 burglary reports during the peak summer months.
"It's a good thing if we have ten or less in any given day," Von Fange said.
Police offer these tips to help keep you from becoming a victim:
* Leave indoor lights on when you are out. Leave outdoor lights on in the evenings
* Install motion sensor lights on the front of your house.
* Don't leave anything of value, or anything that looks like it may have value, in plain view in your car.
* Lock all doors at night and every time you leave the house - even if it's just to work in the yard.
* Store grills, lawn mowers, bicycles, and other valuables in a locked garage or shed.
* Clearly display house numbers so police and other emergency vehicles can quickly locate your home.
* Call 911 to report ALL suspicious activity or persons.
* Record serial numbers of all valuables, like TVs, camcorders, lawn mowers, etc. since serial numbers make it easier to track stolen items.