Skip to Content

Home Burglary

Statistics:

  • There were 677 reported residential burglaries in Norman in 2009
  • There were 587 reported residential burglaries in Norman in 2008

Facts:

  • The majority of home and apartment burglaries occur during the daytime when most people are away at work or at school.
  • Burglaries also occur at night when there are obvious signs that no one is home.
  • Most home burglars are young males looking for things that are small, expensive, and can easily be converted to cash. Items like cash, jewelry, guns, watches, laptop computers, and other small electronic devices are high on the list.
  • Most home burglars gain entry into a house through an unlocked window or by forcing a door open by kicking it or prying it open with a tool.

Prevention suggestions:

Although home burglaries may seem random in occurrence, they actually involve a selection process. The burglar's selection process is simple. Choose an unoccupied home with the easiest access, the greatest amount of cover, and with the best escape routes. What follows is a list of suggestions to minimize your risk by making your home unattractive to potential burglars.

DOORS AND LOCKS

The first step is to "harden the target" or make your home more difficult to enter. Remember the burglar will simply bypass your home if it requires too much effort or requires more skill and tools than they possess. Most burglars enter via the front, back, or garage doors. Experienced burglars know that the garage door is usually the weakest followed by the back door. Use a solid core or metal door for all entrance points

  • Use a quality, heavy-duty, deadbolt lock with a one-inch throw bolt
  • Use a quality, heavy-duty, knob-in-lock set with a dead latch mechanism
  • Use a heavy-duty strike plate with 3-inch screws to penetrate into a wooden door frame
  • Use a wide-angle 160° peephole mounted no higher than 58 inches

SLIDING GLASS DOORS

Sliding glass doors are usually installed at the rear of a home or apartment making them good candidates for entry by a burglar. Place highly visible decals on the glass door near the latch mechanism that indicates that an alarm system, a dog, or block watch/operation identification is in place. Burglars dislike alarm systems and definitely dogs.

  • Use a secondary blocking device on all sliding glass doors
  • Keep the latch mechanism in good condition and properly adjusted
  • Keep sliding door rollers in good condition and properly adjusted
  • Use anti-lift devices such as through-the-door pins
  • Use highly visible alarm decals, beware of dog decals, or block watch decal

WINDOWS

Ground floor windows are more susceptible to break-ins for obvious reasons. Upper floor windows become attractive if they can be accessed from a stairway, tree, fence, or by climbing on balconies. Windows have latches, not locks, therefore should have secondary blocking devices to prevent sliding them open from the outside. Inexpensive wooden dowels and sticks work well for horizontal sliding windows and through-the-frame pins work well for vertical sliding windows. For ventilation, block the window open no more than six inches and make sure you can't reach in from the outside and remove the blocking device. These window blocking devices should be capable of being removed easily from the inside to comply with fire codes. Like sliding glass doors, anti-lift devices are necessary for ground level and accessible aluminum windows that slide horizontally. The least expensive and easiest method is to install screws half-way into the upper track of the movable glass panel to prevent it from being lifted out in the closed position.

  • Secure all accessible windows with secondary blocking devices
  • Block accessible windows open no more than 6 inches for ventilation
  • Use anti-lift devises to prevent window from being lifted out
  • Use crime prevention or alarm decals on accessible windows

BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR

Good neighbors should look out for each other. Get to know your neighbors on each side of your home and the three directly across the street. Invite them into your home, communicate often, and establish trust. Good neighbors will watch out for your home or apartment when you are away, if you ask them.

  • Get to know all your adjacent neighbors
  • Agree to watch out for each other's home
  • While on vacation, request that your neighbor pick up newspapers, and flyers
  • Offer to park your car in their driveway

LIGHTING

Interior lighting is necessary to show signs of life and activity inside a residence. A darken home night after night sends the message to burglars that you are away on a trip. Light timers are inexpensive and can be found everywhere. They should be used on a daily basis, not just when you’re away. Exterior lighting is also very important. It becomes critical if you must park in a common area parking lot or underground garage and need to walk to your front door. The purpose of good lighting is to allow you to see if a threat or suspicious person is lurking in your path.

Another important area to be well-lighted is the perimeter of your home or apartment especially at the entryway. Exterior lighting on the front of a property should always be on a timer to establish a routine and appearance of occupancy at all times. Garage or porch lights left on all day on a single-family home are a dead giveaway that you are out of town. Exterior lighting at the rear of a home or apartment are usually on a switch because of the proximity to the sleeping rooms. The resident can choose to leave these lights on or off. Security lights with infra-red motion sensors are relatively inexpensive and can easily replace an exterior porch light or side door light on single family homes. The heat-motion sensor can be adjusted to detect body heat and can be programmed to reset after one minute. These security lights are highly recommended for single family homes.

  • Use interior light timers to establish a pattern of occupancy
  • Exterior lighting should allow 100 foot visibility
  • Use good lighting along the pathway and at your door
  • Use light timers or photo-cells to turn on/off lights automatically
  • Use infra-red motion sensor lights on the rear of single family homes

ALARM SYSTEMS

Alarm systems definitely have a place in a home security plan and are effective, if used properly. The reason why alarms systems deter burglaries is because they increase the potential and fear of being caught and arrested by the police. The deterrent value comes from the alarm company lawn sign and from the alarm decals on the windows. Home and apartment burglars will usually bypass a property with visible alarm signs and will go to another property without such a sign. Some people, with alarm systems, feel that these signs and decals are unsightly and will not display them. The risk here is that an uninformed burglar might break a window or door and grab a few quick items before the police can respond. Also, don't write your alarm pass code on or near the alarm keypad.

  • Alarm systems are effective deterrents with visible signage
  • Alarm systems need to be properly installed, programmed, and maintained
  • Use a central station to monitor your alarm
  • Alarm systems need to have an audible horn or bell to be effective
  • Make sure your alarm response call list is up to date
  • Instruct your neighbor how to respond to an alarm bell

OPERATION IDENTIFICATION

Photograph your valuables and make a list of the make, model, and serial numbers. You should keep this list in a safety deposit box or with a relative for safe keeping. Beyond that, it is recommended that you photocopy important documents and the contents of your wallet. You will be thankful that you took these steps in case your home is ever destroyed by fire or flood, is ransacked, or if your wallet is lost or stolen.

  • Identify your valuables by engraving an identifying number
  • Photograph and record the serial numbers of all valuables
  • Photocopy the contents of your wallet and other documents
  • Store the copies in a safe deposit box or with a relative

What to do if your home is burglarized

  • Do not enter the house if you find a door or window open or damaged
  • Do not attempt to check your house for burglars, as the person may be armed or anticipating a confrontation
  • Back away from the house and call the Norman Police Department immediately
  • Once the officers have ensured your house is safe to enter, be prepared to provide the officers a list of items taken from your house as well as any known serial numbers
  • Replace any damaged window or door as soon as possible
  • Inform your neighbors of the incident
  • If credit cards, checks, or items containing your personally identifying information were stolen from your house, contact your financial institutions and close the applicable account as soon as possible. Contact the three credit bureaus in order to place a fraud alert on your credit report:
    • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
    • Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
    • Experian: 1-888-397-3742