Police department offers tips to fend off burglary

The holiday season can see an increase in the number of burglaries. There are many measures that can be taken to fend off burglary, including keeping a watchful eye in the neighborhood. According to Boonville Police Chief Bobby Welliver, there were 46 burglaries in Boonville in 2010. Burglaries fell by 16 in 2011 and in 2012 38 have been reported thus far. Welliver stated burglaries remain steady from year-to-year and that they sometimes see more burglaries during the holiday season. Welliver stated people going door-to -door may be gathering information for future break-ins. Keeping an eye for unknown persons or vehicles in the neighborhood may help reduce this activity. Below are important tips from the Boonville Police Department to discourage an attempted burglary. • Make your home look occupied and make it difficult to break in. • Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed. Even if it is for a short time, lock your doors. • Leave lights on when you go out. If you are going to be away for a length of time, connect some lamps to automatic timers to turn them on in the evening and off during the day. • Keep your garage door closed and locked. • Don't allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or flyers to build up while you are away. Arrange with the Post Office to hold your mail, or arrange for a friend or neighbor to take them regularly. • Arrange for your lawn to be mowed if you are going away for an extended time. • Check locks on doors and windows and replace them with secure devices as necessary. • Push-button locks on doorknobs are easy for burglars to open. Install deadbolt locks on all your outside doors. • Sliding glass doors are vulnerable. Special locks are available for better security. • Other windows may need better locks. Check with a locksmith or hardware store for alternatives. The BPD stated burglars often look for items easy to steal. These tips offer a way to secure those items which will make them less likely to be stolen. • Lawn mowers, barbecues and bicycles are best stored out of sight • Always lock your garden sheds and garages. • Use curtains on garage and basement windows. • Never leave notes on your door such as “gone shopping.” According to the BPD, the best locks are more secure. • No lock, regardless of its quality, can be truly effective. Key-in dead bolt locks provide minimum security. Ask a locksmith for advice on your situation. • Change locks immediately if your keys are lost or stolen. • When moving into a new home, have all locks changed. A well-kept yard and home can make it seem less enticing to burglarize. • Have adequate exterior lighting. A motion-sensitive light is recommended for backyards. • Trim trees and shrubs so that they cannot be used as hiding places for intruders. • Make sure your door hinges are on the inside. The BPD stated keeping windows secure are also key in keeping burglars out of the home. • Most windows can be pinned for security. • Drill a 3/16" hole on a slight downward slant through the inside window frame and halfway into the outside frame — place a nail in the hole to secure the window. Alarms are another way to secure property. • An alarm system is excellent for home security. It provides peace of mind to homeowners, especially while on vacation. There are a wide variety of alarm systems on the market. • Make several inquiries to different companies for the best security system available to you. • If you have a home alarm system, use it! Activate your alarm system — alarm systems are only useful when you remember to activate them. • Many individuals have alarm systems but do not arm them because it is inconvenient. Many burglars know this and will not be deterred by a window sticker or sign indicating that the home has an alarm system. If your home is broken into, do not enter it. • Do not enter — the perpetrator may still be inside. • Use your cell phone or a neighbor's phone to call police. • Do not touch anything or clean up until the police have inspected for evidence. • Write down the license plate numbers of any suspicious vehicles. • Note the descriptions of any suspicious persons. The BPD offered other measures to follow to keep burglars away. • Never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes or other “secret” hiding places — burglars know where to look for hidden keys. • Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and original value, and serial numbers, and keep a copy in a safe place away from home — this is a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters. Make a photographic or video record of valuable objects, heirlooms and antiques. Your insurance company can provide assistance in making and keeping your inventory.. • Be a good neighbor. If you notice anything suspicious in your neighborhood, call 9-1-1 immediately. • Mark your valuables with your driver's license number with an engraver you can borrow from your precinct. Marked items are harder for a burglar to dispose of and easier for police to recover. • Form a Neighborhood Watch Group. We can help you work with your neighbors to improve security and reduce risk of burglary. • Consider installing a burglar alarm system. The BPD also offered tips on how to avoid a car break-in. • Do not leave valuables in plain view: (GPS devices, lap tops, PDAs, cell phones, MP3s, wallets, purses) • Do not leave windows or sunroof open. • Do not leave doors unlocked. • Do not leave keys in the vehicle. •  Do not leave the garage door opener in plain view. • Do not leave out items with personal information. • Do not move valuable items to the trunk while in public view. • Slow down and use common sense before you leave your car.