HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – The Douglas County Sheriff’s Department arrested one person accused of being involved in a series of burglaries. The thief was accessing houses through the doggie door.
Denver police are warning residents in Lowry that several burglaries have happened in that neighborhood. The criminals are entering through unlocked doors between 2 and 4 a.m.
Burglaries are happening throughout the metro area. Police say that homeowners can do some simple prevention that will go a long way to protecting their property. CBS4’s Britt Moreno got a security refresher from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department.
“Things you can do around your property that is of no cost, whatsoever, is be a good neighbor,” said Sgt. Ron Hanavan, public information officer for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department.
The number one problem police have is people leaving their garage doors open. A thief can grab high dollar items and be gone in mere seconds.
The second thing burglars look for is a place where no one is paying attention – newspapers left out, snow untouched, and garbage cans unattended.
“The criminal element is also looking for an opportunity where they may be able to hit as many houses or cars as possible in a small area,” Hanavan explained.
The key pad on your garage could offer clues to a criminal. If you use the same code over and over, those buttons will be worn. A burglar can figure out the four digits in mere minutes.
“When you look at the striker plates in the door jamb, you should pull these screws out and see the length of them. Generally, they’re about a half an inch long. You want that screw to be three inches long,” Hanavan demonstrated. “That makes the door jamb a lot more secure … makes it a lot more difficult for someone to push or even to possibly kick the door in.”
Glass next to a door could be an easy target, because a burglar could break the glass and unlock the door.
“What happens if the glass is that close?” Moreno asked Hanavan.
“What you need to do if the glass is in close proximity to a door, your dead bolt should really be changed out to a keyed dead bolt,” Hanavan responded.
Having a keyed deadbolt presents its own problems. You can’t keep the key in the lock, but you have to keep it handy so that you can get out of the house easily in case of an emergency.
Crooks will look at sliding glass windows and doors for easy access. Sometimes the locks on these units are weak and easily popped. A simple trick to back up the lock is to put a bar or wood dowel in the track behind the door or window. There are also bars you can buy for windows that slide up and down.
The keyed deadbolt is preferable when a nearby window gives intruders access to any door locks; when the window is broken, an intruder can simply reach in to turn any spindle locks.
Authorities recommend that whatever the design of the lock that is installed, homeowners and their families must coordinate and practice emergency evacuations.
The holidays are a time when many homeowners may have their guard down and criminals will be looking to take advantage, so taking a few simple steps could protect your property.
–Written for cbsdenver.com by Special Projects Producer Libby Smith