By U.S. Army Europe Public AffairsMay 12, 2014
WIESBADEN, Germany (May 12, 2014) -- Burglaries are one of the most common crimes and a constant focus for local and military police. Burglars look for easy entry into a house so they can steal high-value items quickly and effortlessly.
"Many thieves will spend no longer than 60 seconds trying to break into a home," said Capt. Matthew Sperber, law enforcement staff officer at the USAREUR Office of the Provost Marshal. "Good locks and good neighbors who watch out for each other can be big deterrents to burglars," he added.
"Did you know that in almost half of all completed residential burglaries, thieves simply breezed in through unlocked doors or crawled through unlocked windows?" Sperber said.
He recommends people lock their doors whenever they leave their house, apartment or barracks room, even if it is only for a short time.
Sperber recommends you keep keys and other valuables safely hidden away at all times. Burglars have been known to quickly steal house and car keys and use them to steal the car or enter the house at a later date.
He also advises people to look for strange markings around the gate area or on the mail box. Some gangs of burglars employ scouts who mark houses with secret symbols that indicate who lives there, if they have a dog and if they appear wealthy.
Some burglars will also stick tape to door handles or shove pieces of plastic between the door and door frame so, when they come back, they can see if someone has been home. Call your local MP station if you think burglars are targeting your home.
"When you travel, leave shades, blinds and curtains in normal positions and have a neighbor pick your mail up," Sperber advised.
Sperber also suggests you create the illusion that you're at home using trusted neighbors or timers that will turn lights on and off in different areas of your house throughout the evening. Lights burning 24 hours a day signal an empty house. He also offers the following tips:
• Don't advertise that you will be away from your home. Give the information only to people who need to know such as your landlord or trusted neighbor.
• Never leave a message on your answering machine that indicates you will be away for a specific time. Say "I'm not available right now."
More tips on home and neighborhood safety are available from the National Crime Prevention Council at www.ncpc.org/topics/home-and-neighborhood-safety.