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Burglary Prevention Tips Be Safe, Be Alert

The Park Ridge Police Department Community Strategies Section wants to remind residents about some burglary prevention tips. Although the burglary crime index rate in Park Ridge is the lowest it has been in five years, residents are urged to remain diligent in their efforts to prevent crime in our community. Here are some tips that when followed can reduce your chances of being a victim and help get the rate even lower.

Check the Locks
Did you know that in almost half of all residential burglaries, thieves simply breezed in through unlocked doors or crawled through unlocked windows?

• Make sure every external door has a sturdy, well-installed dead bolt lock. Key-in -the-knob locks alone are not enough.
• Sliding glass doors should be secured by installing commercially available locks or by putting a broomstick or wooden dowel in the inside track to jam the door. To prevent the door from being lifted off the track, drill a hole through the sliding door frame and the fixed frame. Then insert a pin in the hole.
• Lock double-hung windows with key locks or "pin" the windows by drilling a small hole, at a 45-degree angle between the inner and outer frames, and inserting a nail to act as the pin. Secure basement windows from inside with locking grills or grates.
• Do not hide keys around the outside of the residence; give a spare key to a trusted neighbor.
• Whenever you move into a new residence, rekey the locks.

Check the Doors
A lock on a flimsy door is about as effective as locking your car door but leaving a window down.

• All exterior doors should be constructed of metal or solid wood.
• Install a peephole or wide-angle viewer in all entry doors so you can see who is outside without opening the door. Door chains are easily broken and will not keep out intruders.

Check the Outside
Look at your house from the outside and follow these tips.

• Install outside lights and keep them on at night.
• Prune back shrubbery so it doesn't block doors and windows. Don't allow the burglar a place to hide while he breaks into your residence. Cut back tree limbs that could be used to climb to an upper level window.
• Clearly display your house number so police and other emergency personnel can quickly locate your residence.
• If you are travelling, create the illusion that you are still at home by using timers that will turn lights on and off in different areas of the house throughout the evening. Lights left on 24 hours a day signal an empty house. Or consider purchasing wi-fi outlets that can be controlled from your smart phone to turn lights on and off at random times.
• Leave shades, blinds, and curtains in normal positions.
• Do not allow newspapers and mail to pile up. Have a trusted neighbor collect these items until you return or call the news companies and post office and have deliveries stopped while you are away.

Consider Installing an Alarm
Alarms can be a good investment, especially if you have valuables in your residence or have experienced a history of burglaries.

• Check with several companies before you buy so you can decide what level of security best fit your needs. Do business with an established company and check references before signing a contract.
• Learn how to use your system properly! Don't "cry wolf" by setting off false alarms. Neighbors will stop paying attention and you will receive a fine from the police department. Remember to register your alarm with the police department.
• Some less expensive options…a sound detecting socket that plugs into a light fixture and makes the light flash when it detects certain noises, motion sensing outdoor lights that activate when someone approaches, or lights with photo cells that turn on when it's dark and off when it's light.

Burglars do More Than Steal
Burglars can commit other crimes if someone coming home surprises them or they break into an occupied residence.

• Upon returning home you notice something isn't right - a slit screen, a broken window, or an open door - DO NOT go inside. Call the police immediately from the safety of a neighbor's house, or use your cell phone from a safe location.
• At night, if you think you hear someone breaking in, leave the residence safely if you can, then call the police. If you can't leave, lock yourself in a room with a phone and call the police.
• Guns are responsible for many accidental deaths every year. If you own one, learn how to safely store it and safely use it.

Help the Police Help You

• If you observe criminal activity or any type of activity that you feel is suspicious in nature, do not hesitate to call the police.
• If possible provide the police with as much information as possible. Information such as, descriptions of suspects containing clothing type and color, as well as vehicle descriptions that provide make, model, color, and license plate information are very helpful.
• Never place you or a loved one in danger by attempting to obtain this type of information. Provide only the information you can safely gather.
• Make a list of valuable - jewelry, figurines, computers, cell phones and other electronic equipment. Take photographs of these items and make a list containing serial numbers and descriptions. Call the police department about engraving your valuables with an identifying number, like your driver's license.
• Call the police and ask about receiving a free home security inspection.

The Park Ridge Police Department and the National Crime Prevention Council have provided this information to you.


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