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Protect Yourself From Residential Burglaries: Tips From Howard County Police

Police have some tips for residents "before the burglar comes."

Howard County Police Capt. Daniel Coon visited with residents in Ellicott City's Dunloggin Neighborhood earlier this week to talk to people about residential burglaries. 

Along with specific information about their neighborhood, he shared some general advice for people to keep their homes safe, including a brochure from Maryland Crime Watch

Make your home look (and sound) occupied:

  • By day, leave drapes in a normal position
  • At night, leave on some inside lights 
  • Never leave garage doors open

Be a good neighbor:

  • Keep an eye on your neighbors' homes, get them to do the same for you

Install good locks ... and lock them:

  • Test your spring-latch door lock: open your front door part way, then push the button or twist the knob that should lock it. Try to push in the bolt that sticks out and would normally fit in the door frame if it were closed. If the bolt yields with just the resistance of a spring, you need a new lock. Police suggest a one-inch deadbolt. 

Secure your windows:

  • Window latches do not provide ideal security. To secure your windows further, police suggest window pinning.
  • Contact the police (410) 313-3200 or sheriff's office about a free home security survey.

Change the locks 'at the drop of a threat':

  • When you move to a new house or apartment, change the locks.
  • Don't be generous in passing around extra keys.
  • Keep car keys and house keys seperate
  • Never have a name or license tag attched to your keys

Don't welcome burglars by telephone:

  • If you get several suspicious 'wrong number' or 'no one on the line' calls, tell police and warn family members.
  • Do not leave your name on the mailbox, that just makes it harder for burglars to look your number up.

Don't open your door to anyone with no business inside:

  • Ask repairmen and others to show identificaion. 
  • Ask solicitors for their license.
  • If you want to help a stranded motorist, you make the call while he or she waits outside. 

Man's best friend repels burglars:

  • Have a dog at your house if you can -- the dog doesn't need to be big or ferocious, just make noise.

Don't advertise your vacation plans:

  • Let one person know your vacation plans. 
  • When gone, stop mail and newspaper delivery.

Tell the police:

  • If you'll be away, tell the police. They won't guard your door, but they may make a run by your home from time to time.

Write down the serial numbers for you electronic devices:

  • If your valuables are recovered, not only will you get them back, but police will be able to more easily connect stolen goods to a suspect.
william bittner February 10, 2013 at 01:31 PM
REMEMBER: A GUN IN THE HAND IS BETTER THAN A COP ON THE PHONE
MG42 February 10, 2013 at 04:40 PM
Best to have both. Loudly shouting to the perp (perhaps from another room) that you feel threatened, are armed and they need to leave while being recorded by the 911 dispatcher makes self defense a no brainer if you need to shoot someone.
MG42 February 10, 2013 at 04:46 PM
Writing down the serial numbers of your electronic devices is a stupid waste of time. The police do absolutely nothing with that info, they only even ask for the info to make you feel like they're doing *something*. After my iPhone was stolen I even suggested to the Ulman administration that the broadband network that Ken Ulman loves so much (and cost more than $100 million tax dollars) be used to create a database of serial number of stolen goods, so people anywhere in Maryland who want to buy electronics and stuff on Craigslist or wherever can check the serial number to make sure the goods have not been reported stolen in (at least in Maryland). Either through technical inability, incompetence or just plain laziness, the suggestion went nowhere.
Lorraine Kelly February 10, 2013 at 08:24 PM
Use common sense. Lock your cars and home. Do not leave items in place sight in car or home ( garage door open). Leave a light or two on when you go out, it cost much less than being burgled or robbed or worse. Appreciate the value of a caring neighbor, no not nosy Nancy, the other neighbors. The other suggestion listed in this article by the police department are all worthy. By taking some additional precautions you may not have to be spending your time contemplating shooting someone!
Dave A. February 13, 2013 at 07:30 PM
I disagree with you on the serial number recording. My outbuilding was burglarized in 2005. My portable generator was stolen and was recovered by police at a pawnshop in laurel due to the record of the serial number.
Keith B. February 14, 2013 at 05:50 PM
That's because no one takes H. R. Pufnsuf seriously...are u serious?
MG42 February 14, 2013 at 05:54 PM
A pawn shop is the place in which that would happen. If the person who stole it put it on craigslist you never would have seen it again.
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