It’s the holiday season and while it may be a time for giving, some burglars see it as a time for taking.
Shopping for presents peaks towards this time of the year — tempting the Grinches in Long Beach to break in homes full of brand-new merchandise. According to the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD), residential burglaries spike during the winter months. The neighborhoods most victimized by breaking and entering are in southwest Long Beach, especially in Districts 1 and 2, according to an interactive map by CrimeReports.com.
To help prevent this happen to you, here are some tips from the LBPD and others to prevent burglary in your home:
- Lock those windows (or find a way to). According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the nearly 40 percent of burglars enter a home through a window because they are the least conspicuous. Besides, what’s the point of having a window lock if you don’t use it? However, for those of us who don’t have window locks, you can buy indoor window stoppers from a hardware store, or, if you can’t afford that, just put a broomstick to block the window from opening.
Property owners are obligated the provide windows with locks for their tenants upon request, according to the Fair Housing Foundation. If locks aren’t enough, you can try asking for window bars, too, but it’ll up to the owner whether they go up.
- Keep presents away from plain site. Piggybacking off secured windows, don’t tempt potential burglars by teasing them with a brand new PS4 or the newest Jordan’s sitting shiny next to the window. This also includes keeping presents away from doorways so that outsiders won’t see what you have once you come in or out the door.
- Don’t let mail pile up if you’re traveling. Having a pile of mail or newspapers outside your home is a dead giveaway for potential burglars. It tells them that there is no one home to take in the deliveries. One way to solve this problem is to ask a neighbor to pick up any deliveries for you while you’re away. Another preventative approach can be to postpone the packages (such as requesting for delayed shipping if you shop online) or send them to an address you know is more secure — like grandma’s house if she’s home most of the day.
- Trick burglars into thinking you’re home. Most of us have school, work, or lives outside our home, so that’s a huge time frame for a burglar to work with. Leaving the radio on during the day or a TV on at night can help create the illusion that you’re home, since a burglar is less likely to get caught if no one is home.
- Get renter’s insurance. An absolutely last resort should all else fail, purchase renter’s insurance. Yes, that’s a thing. Although the LBPD didn’t list this tip or the next, since most residents in Long Beach are renters getting insurance can cover your losses if someone manages to break into your home. So, it wouldn’t be a bad idea. Some insurance plans can be as low as $15 per month, which many can afford.
Here’s one last tip:
- Reduce poverty and addiction. Scholars suggest that poorer neighborhoods have higher rates of crime, particularly in regards to burglary. Law enforcement experts also note that many addicts steal to finance their drug habits. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has long reported that drug rehabilitation often leads to less crime. Fortunately for those suffering with addiction, President Obama recently signed a bill to provide $1 billion for treatment.
Hopefully these tips will give some insight and peace of mind, most importantly. The holidays are meant for good times, so apply these tips and have one less thing to worry about this season.
For more tips from the Long Beach Police Department, click here.