East Valley residents can call upon a number of cheap and easy measures to protect themselves from burglaries, according to various area police officers.
Chandler police Officer Marvis Floyd said the little things that are most overlooked can be the best deterrents for burglars.
Floyd recommended locking windows, either with conventional locks or even with a wooden wedge placed inside the frame to make it impossible to open from the outside.
Floyd said lights are an under-used but effective way to deter burglars from attempting to get in.
Once it gets dark, he said, houses in his neighborhood “don’t have any lights on inside the residence, and they don’t have any lights on outside.” Conversely, Floyd said that his personal residence “almost looks like Christmas.”
KGW News in Portland, Oregon interviewed 86 convicted burglars drew mixed results on whether lights are an effective deterrent.
Some said lights on in a house made them think twice, while others looked for a combination of porch lights turned on and closed blinds as an ideal target.
Tempe police Det. Gabriel Gomez also suggested to start with the smaller steps to ensure safety.
He said an alarm system whose presence is advertised with a sign outside the house can dissuade a burglar. Security companies provide stickers and signs to be placed in a front yard or porch window notifying people of an alarm system’s presence, Gomez said.
“Even if you don’t have an alarm at your house, see if you can get an ADT sticker that says you have an alarm,” Floyd suggested,
The sticker’s presence can be enough to stop a burglar from attempting to break in, Floyd added.
Gomez also suggested being mindful of anything that could be a security risk.
“They’re looking for crimes of opportunity,” he said. “Anything that makes your home appear easier to get to, that’s what they’re going to look for.”
Gomez said break-in risks can be significantly reduced by keeping garage doors closed, locking parked cars and removing any valuables from them and leaving a radio or TV on while away to create the illusion that someone is present.
Officials said they are doing their part to curb the rate of home invasions in the Valley as well.
Floyd said Chandler police focus on what they call ‘frequent patrol,’ meaning, “patrolling in and out of different neighborhoods at a low rate of speed, monitoring to see if you notice anything abnormal.”
He said officers will look for any suspicious behavior, such as a van parked outside someone’s house, and confront the driver.
Floyd said home invasions are considered a “priority one call,” in which police will be at the scene in five minutes or less. Typically, though, he said that one officer can be at any scene within 90 seconds.
Chandler experiences about 23 instances of property crime per 1,000 residents, or one in every 44 residents, according to statistics provided by Neighborhood Scout, an online data collection and analysis site that is used by real estate professionals and home buyers to examine neighborhoods’ safety and other characteristics.
The state average is about 29 per 1000, while the national median is more in line with Chandler at 24, the statistics show.
One in every 323 Chandler homes will be victimized by burglars, according to Neighborhood Scout.
In 2003, one in every 114 Chandler residents was a victim of burglary, according to city-data.com.
There has been a slow but consistent decline in the burglary rate each year since, leading to where the statistics stand today, the site says.
One in 27 homes will be victimized of some kind of property crime in Phoenix, according to Neighborhood Scout — and one in every 127 victimized by a burglary.