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The FBI estimates that nationally there is a burglary every 15 seconds. That results in millions of dollars of loss of property. According to a 1994 LA Times article, after a burglary, it's normal to experience a variety of emotions, including a feeling of being violated, helplessness, anger, sadness and fear.  Information that may help you avoid being the victim of a burglary is below.

What do burglars want and how can I keep them out?

Most burglars want easy to carry items (cash and small electronics for example), may not carry a weapon and do NOT want a confrontation. Many will start by knocking on the front door to assess if anybody is home. If you are home, make your presence known! Most burglars enter the property from the rear of the home where it’s more isolated. Ensure your doors and windows are made of solid material and locked. Consider keeping your trees and shrubs well-trimmed so that a burglar does not have a hiding place and consider installing motion-activated lights.

If you are going to be out of town, consider asking a trusted neighbor or friend to retrieve your mail and/or newspapers. Put lights on timers. Stopping your mail/newspapers can be effective but also notifies others that you will be gone.

What about a home alarm?

A home alarm system – especially an unmonitored one – may not necessarily deter a burglar from entering your home but it can limit the amount of time a burglar is in your home and thus lessen what they can steal. 

Create a home inventory

Make a list of your valuables including make, model, serial number and approximate worth. Take pictures of the items. Keep the list in a secure location.  If you are the victim of a burglary and any of these items are stolen, you will want to provide this information to law enforcement and possibly your insurance company. 

Personal safety tips

Always be aware of your surroundings. Walk in pairs or groups if possible. Avoid using your phone when in crowded, public spaces. Park in well-lit areas and remember where you park. Either avoid or hide any valuables that remain in your car. Lock your car doors even when driving. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Keep purses close to your body and in easy sight. Keep wallets in an inside coat or front pants pocket. Remove unnecessary items from your purse or wallet.

Where can I go to get more help?

  1. Montgomery County Police Department at: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/pol/index.html or call them at 240-773-5625
  2. Montgomery County States Attorney Office at: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/sao/index.html or call them at 240-777-7300
  3. If you’ve been the victim of a crime call 911 (if in a life threatening or emergency situation) or 301-279-8000 (for routine, non-emergency help).