Rural Home Break-Ins: How to Minimize Your Risk
Residential burglaries have been on the rise in rural areas.Police say it’s been a steady problem over the years and a high number are drug related.So how can you minimize the risk of your house getting broken into?Detective Bill Flagg of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department has been investigating property crimes for more than twenty years.He says the common denominator of all home burglaries is that they are crimes of opportunity.”The thing that they’re looking for is an unoccupied home. It looks like nobody is home. They can get easy access to get in, get as much valuables they can carry and get out,” he said. He says the more people do to protect themselves, the less likely they’re going to be a victim. “So there are things that we can recommend to people to do, such as if you have multiple vehicles in the driveway. If you’re gone to work and there’s another car at home, leave that car in the driveway, but don’t leave it parked in the same place move it around. And of course, locks on your windows. Beautiful summer day like this, people want to leave their windows open, a screen is no deterrent to a burglar. They’re going to be in there in seconds, where a locked window is a little more difficult. Never impossible, but a little more difficult. One of the things we recommend to people is leave a radio or a television on. For the little added expense it’s going to be on the light bill, it’s a good security measure,” he said. He also says if you do plan to go away for a few days, hold your mail and newspaper deliveries. “Three newspapers in a box is telling a burglar that someone hasn’t been home for a few days, so those are some things that would indicate to a would be criminal that this might be a good place to hit,” said Detective Flagg. If you do come home and find your home broken into, call authorities immediately. “Two things they can remember. Don’t go inside, don’t put yourself at risk. Let us do that for you. And number two, don’t walk over any evidence that might be important to us,” he said. And make an inventory of your property, take pictures, or inscribe your name on your valuables. “The more information we have about your property, the better odds are were going to get it back,” said Detective Flagg.