There are several things which scare away burglars that home or business owners should remember when they look at their vulnerability to criminals, according to Capt. Charles Borchers of the Sheriff’s Office.
“They don’t like to be slowed down, and they don’t like noise or lights,’’ Borchers told participants in the annual Refuse to be a Victim class recently held by the Sheriff’s Office. “They don’t want anything that attracts attention.’’
Alarm systems that make noise, lighting around a home or business, motion detectors and anything that would slow down a burglary increase an owner’s chance of avoiding becoming a victim, Borchers said.
That was some of the numerous tips Borchers and Dep. Eric Eilers had for St. Bernard Parish residents who turned out Dec. 7 for the Sheriff’s Office free crime prevention program called Refuse to be a Victim.
Capt. Borchers, longtime crime prevention director for the department, and Eilers engaged participants and gave tips on strategies for being aware of your surroundings to avoid becoming a crime victim.
Call Borchers at (504) 278-7628 or Eilers at 278-7799 to start a Neighborhood Watch group in your area or learn about other free programs the Sheriff’s Office holds for residents.
Borchers stresses in the Refuse to be a Victim course that, “You have to have a mental plan of action’’ at home or when traveling in order to be alert for potential criminals. Seminar topics include safety at home, as well as phone, technology, travel and personal security.
He recommends double cylinder deadbolt locks with large screws put an inch into a large, solid frame so a door can’t be easily kicked open.
Use strong locks and place peep holes on home doors, Borchers said. Light-timers such as for lamps, alarm systems, video surveillance and motion sensors are all sound anti-crime strategies, he said.
“Why did we ever get away from chain locks?’’ he asked. “They let you open a door a small ways so you can see who is there.’’
And he said peep holes made for doors today offer a much wider view of the outside area to better see who is there.
Residents should consider having sticker bushes near windows at home to discourage anyone from trying to get inside that way.
The laundry room in a home is often the most vulnerable spot for an intruder to enter because it rarely faces the front, Borchers said. But using a stick-on alarm on a window provides some protection against easy entry.
Never leave a garage door opener in an easily spotted place in an unlocked car outside the home, Borchers said. Once an intruder gets into the garage they can work unseen to get into the residence.
Borchers added, “I’m a proponent of alarm systems’’ at home but said he doesn’t see a great advantage to having one that is monitored by a company that charges a fee and says it will call authorities if they detect a problem.
Instead, an alarm system that loudly goes off at a home will both likely scare away an intruder and, if you aren’t home at the time, will alert any neighbor who is home, making it probable the Sheriff’s Office will be called, Borchers said.
And he said there are motion sensors now that when tripped make a sound like a dog barking in the residence, giving a would-be intruder something to think about.
Eilers addressed the fact that in today’s world people are often walking while having a conversation on a cell phone, paying little or no attention to their surroundings and making themselves more vulnerable to being assaulted.
Paying attention as you walk about makes it much less likely of becoming a victim of crime, Eilers said.
Borchers and Eilers also went over various situations with participants, such as asking what they would do if they are home and someone came to the door saying they had a package for them to sign for – but there wasn’t a delivery truck outside.
Or what if a stranger comes to your door and asks to use a phone?
Borchers said if there is no delivery truck near-by it is reasonable to ask someone wanting you to sign for a package to leave what they have at your door while they stand at the sidewalk.
Same thing for someone asking to use a phone, he said. Tell them to give you the number and you will call. “You don’t have to let a stranger in your home, especially if you are alone.’’