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Protect your home from residential burglaries

Updated January 26, 2017

In December, there were 52 residential burglaries, exceeding the 35 in May that had marked the previous 2016 monthly high. There are several variables that could explain this increase, including the holiday season and the existence of a couple of prolific teams of burglars that were identified as responsible for multiple cases. While some arrests have been made and multiple crimes cleared as a result, vigilance and immediate reporting is crucial to help prevent residential burglaries.

Entry to the homes of victims was predominantly accomplished by either locating a rear window or door that was unlocked (this is a burglar's first preference) or by shattering a rear sliding glass door or window. Entry into the backyard is usually preceded by knocking at the front door for a period of time or returning after doing so for a second time to help ensure that a home is unoccupied.

Oftentimes residents will not answer the door to avoid what can be uncomfortable contact with a solicitor. In other instances, residents may peer through the peephole, not recognize the individual on their porch and therefore not open the door to find out what the person's business is. Since burglars are for the most part non-confrontational, in either case, these actions could send the wrong signal to a potential burglar. They could interpret no answer as no one being at home, and an attempt to enter could follow.

The Cerritos Sheriff's Station/Community Safety Center recommends that if you do not want to answer the door, that you somehow let the person know that the home is occupied. Make some noise that you know can be heard through the front door. This could include playing loud music or the television, shutting a door or even hitting two pans together. There is nothing wrong with approaching the door from the inside and announcing that this is not a good time for you and that you are not interested. All of these methods relay to the person at the front door that the home is occupied and NOT a good target for a residential burglary. Make sure that you observe the person so you know if he or she comes around to the side of the house, attempts to open a gate or goes next door. If the person does not go away, call 911 immediately and be prepared to provide a description of the suspect when talking to Sheriff's Station personnel. Listen to the directions given, which may include leaving the home.

Steps have been taken by the Cerritos Sheriff's Station to reduce the residential burglary rate, but catching burglars relies on a partnership between law enforcement and residents. Don't hesitate to call the Cerritos Sheriff's Station at (562) 860-0044 when a person is going door-to-door, or 911 to report what you believe is a crime in progress. You could just help prevent a residential burglary.


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