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Warm weather safety tips

Updated December 23, 2009

According to FBI statistics, a house, apartment or condominium is burglarized once every 15 seconds.

Fortunately, burglary is one of the most preventable crimes. By taking a few simple precautions, you can dramatically reduce the risks.

With the onset of warmer weather, many residents open windows and garage doors to ventilate their homes. However, leaving windows and garage doors open and unattended provides a would-be thief with the opportunity to inventory your belongings for future reference, or even gain access to your home. The average burglar will spend no more than four to five minutes trying to break into a residence. An open window or door provides a burglar with direct access in a few seconds.

Many thieves are capable of stealing property in a very short amount of time. People who are walking or driving by a residence can steal bicycles, lawn care products, tools and other items in a matter of seconds. Even worse, a burglar could enter a garage, close the door and have more than enough time to pry open the inner door to a residence while remaining hidden from the street.

Shrubbery also provides a burglar with a place to hide, and should never block the view of your exterior doors or windows.

Cerritos Sheriff’s deputies stress the need for a constant homeowner presence when any exterior doors are open. If you need to ventilate your garage, remain inside of the garage or in the front yard where activities can be monitored.

Even when owners have been in the backyard, there have been incidents where perpetrators entered the garage to steal items. Make it a point to properly close your garage door if you are not planning on maintaining visual contact with the front of your house. If you see that your neighbor’s garage door is open, try to contact them and pass on this important message. If you are unable to contact them, be a vigilant neighbor and keep an eye on their property. This will help prevent opportunistic would-be thieves from being converted into spontaneous criminals.

An additional method of protection is the use of deadbolt locks on all exterior doors. Side garage doors that are not visible from the street should be constructed of a solid core and should not contain any glass. Locking pins should be installed and used on all sliding windows and doors.

Don’t hesitate to make eye contact with anyone you suspect may be “casing” your property. This makes burglars extremely uncomfortable. If you see a suspicious individual, call the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station immediately at (562) 860-0044. If possible, write down a description of the individual and the vehicle’s license plate number.

Remember, it takes less time to open a window and cool down a home after you have returned to your residence than it does to replace all of your stolen property.

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