Sgt. Rich Stahnke
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Dept.
Response Area One
THINGS YOUR BURGLAR WON’T TELL YOU:
1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your
carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.
I am unaware of any cases in our area tied to legitimate repair or delivery persons, but some homeowners do utilize people who approach their homes offering to do yard work. I don’t recommend hiring people “off the street”.
2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your
yard last week.. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to
make my return a little easier.
Again, don’t hire random people for yard work or gutter cleaning and don’t allow strangers into your home.
3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste … and taste means
there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always
make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.
Toys left outside will also indicate that a woman likely lives in the home. A woman in the home may indicate the presence of jewelry. Secure children’s toys at night, especially bikes.
4.. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I
might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you
to remove it.
5.. If it snows while you’re out of town, get a neighbor to create car
and foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead
giveaway. Snow isn’t much of an issue here, but un-mowed grass during the summer is a giveaway.
6. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don’t let your
alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it’s set. That
makes it too easy. Thieves know, just as you do, that the little green light means the alarm isn’t activated and the red light means it is.
7. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the
windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom-and
your jewelry. It’s not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.
Some thieves will target the master bedroom only, knowing that there will be no motion sensor there and they will not enter the hallway outside the bedroom, because of the likelihood of encountering a sensor.
8. It’s raining, you’re fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to
lock your door-understandable. But understand this: I don’t take a day
off because of bad weather.
9. I always knock first. If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere
or offer to clean your gutters. (Don’t take me up on it.) You don’t have to open the door to speak with someone.
10. Do you really think I won’t look in your sock drawer? I always check
dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.
11. Here’s a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids’ rooms.
12. You’re right: I won’t have enough time to break into that safe where
you keep your valuables. But if it’s not bolted down, I’ll take it with me.
13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm
Timers can be utilized for appliances like televisions, just as they can be used for lamps. Consult your TV manual. It may have a timer feature built into it.
8 MORE THINGS A BURGLAR WON’T TELL YOU:
1. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and
carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.
2. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.
3. I’ll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If
your neighbor hears one loud sound, he’ll stop what he’s doing and wait
to hear it again. If he doesn’t hear it again, he’ll just go back to
what he was doing. It’s human nature.
See #2 directly above-if you hear a noise, look out your windows. Investigate. Call 911 if you see anything unusual.
4. I’m not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy
alarm system and leave your house without setting it?
5. I love looking in your windows. I’m looking for signs that you’re
home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I’d like. I’ll drive or
walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds,
just to pick my targets. Many homes can be easily viewed at night from the street due to interior lighting and a lack of window treatments. The glow of computer and television screens are particularly easy to spot.
6. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It’s easier than
you think to look up your address.
7. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way
to let in a little fresh air. To me, it’s an invitation.
8. If you don’t answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit
the jackpot and walk right in.
At least one burglary in the past month in our area was due to a criminal seizing the opportunity of finding a door unlocked to a home after coming there with the intent of stealing from vehicles in the driveway.