We can take steps to deter burglars

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We recently reported about a rash of daytime burglaries occurring this month in the Carmichaels area.


Yet, home break-ins during the day are not unusual, according to crime statistics compiled by the FBI. Burglaries usually do occur in the daytime when occupants are at school or work, and the most frequent months for break-ins are July and August. Not surprisingly, the month with the fewest is February.


What concerns us, and the police and homeowners as well, we suspect, is the frequency and locations of the break-ins.


In a span of eight days, four burglaries took place within a mile of each other.


It would seem Cumberland Township police are dealing with a habitual criminal or a group because of the frequency and locations. More often than not, burglars are looking for items that are small, expensive and easily converted to cash. Favorite items include cash, jewelry, laptops, guns, digital cameras, small electronics and, of course, money that is often used to support a drug habit.


Cumberland police are keeping these incidents close to the vest, not releasing specific information about how entry was gained or what was taken.


We have no problem with that for, if nothing else, advertising how entry was gained and what was stolen could very well make these homeowners victims again.


But police did reveal general locations, which were Ceylon Road, Old Waynesburg Road and Maple Street. At least this will give residents in those areas a heads-up that someone is scoping out homes and breaking into them when no one is there.


Considering that 66 percent of all burglaries are residential (home) break-ins, and in the United States, one occurs every 13 seconds, it is paramount homeowners take adequate precautions. Police assistance usually comes about once the crime has taken place.


Cumberland Township police offered some valuable recommendations, such as securing doors, windows, garage doors and vehicles. Homeowners also should be on the lookout for suspicious behavior, such as someone knocking on multiple doors, walking close to homes or spending extended periods of time in an area with no apparent legitimate purpose.


Police advise residents to make note of specific details, including the sex and race of the person, type of clothing and a description of suspicious vehicles.


Police said it is helpful for homeowners to have photographs and documentation of their jewelry, firearms and other valuables. And while these ideas may seem time consuming, police also urge engraving your driver’s license number (and state) on televisions, stereos, computers and small electronic appliances. Make a list of make, model, serial numbers and value of important items. Give a copy of this list to a relative or close friend.


Home safety alarms and surveillance cameras should be turned on and all valuables secured when a homeowner leaves, police said.


We offer these additional suggestions:


• Get to know your neighbors.


• Agree to watch each other’s home and, if someone is on vacation, pick up mail, newspapers, packages and fliers, and put out their trash on trash day (and return empty barrels).


• Offer to park your car in their driveway and listen for a siren from their home security system.


• Water flowers, grass and plants.


• Communicate with each other.


We have one more suggestion that might be one of the best deterrents of all. Give the Greene County Humane Society a call. There is probably a dog desperate for a home and one that could bark its head off if some person began prying open a window or tried to jimmy a door lock.


Unfortunately, however, not all break-ins will be stopped, regardless of the precautions you take.


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