Special Report: Think like a thief

Special Report: Think like a thief
APD offers free resources to Albany residents and business owners to help prevent crime. (Source: WALB)
APD offers free resources to Albany residents and business owners to help prevent crime. (Source: WALB)
Officer Dillard Glover (Source: WALB)
Officer Dillard Glover (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Home burglaries are something every homeowner fears. When you become a victim, you lose that sense of security in your own home.

And as we get further into summer, Albany Police said it's more likely burglars will be out on the prowl looking for those easy targets.

When you're away, the burglars will play.

So how can you protect yourself? Try thinking like a thief.

Once you know what they're looking for, you know what to do to keep your home and your valuables safe.

APD Crime Prevention Officer Dillard Glover said, "They get out and they watch.  They're very good at what they do."

The best way to beat these burglars at their own game?

Learn how to play.

From the greenery outside your home, to the lights on your back porch, there are several steps you can take to protect your home.

So let's start from the beginning, the burglar's scoping process.

"They'll walk right up (to the door), just like they know the people that live in the house," he said.

Officer Glover said thieves are bold. They want to know if anyone's home before they make their move.

"They'll knock on the door, they'll keep listening," he said. "They'll listen for the TV to be on because that's a sign that people may be home."

If you answer the door, they may make an excuse like, they have the wrong house.

But if you're not home, that burglar just found his next target. So what can you do to let this thief know he or she picked the wrong house to mess with?

Let's start with the basics: Always, always lock your doors.

Next, your lights.

Whether they're on a timer, or motion sensored, they need to be installed.

"If my outside lights are off, and somebody does walk up under my carport and my lights come on, I'm kind of the person to get up, look out the blinds, just to make sure that somebody's not walking up in my driveway," said Officer Glover.

So after you've locked your doors, and installed your lights, now's the time to check your shrubs.

"This is an example, if somebody's going to break in, say they're going to go in through the window, this gives them good cover," he said.

Cutting the greenery back will up the chances someone will see the thief from the street or from a house next door.

And if you are a handyman, or in the middle of construction, keep those tools and bricks away from your home.

Those items could actually be used against you.

They walk up and there it is, that's a perfect opportunity to take that, go back here, and bust out the window.

Officer Glover said a home security system provides an added level of protection. And if you want to take it one step further, install some surveillance cameras.

"What you have to try to do is post it up kind of high and get an angle where you can get the best view," he said. "What you want is the person's face."

If you don't want to shell out the money for a surveillance system, ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye out for you while you're gone.

You can also call APD to let them know you're away and need an officer to check on your property.

Now that you've checked everything on the outside of your home, you should focus on the valuables inside.

Luckily, APD has a free service to help you do that.

"We will come out and we basically will engrave your electronics with identifying markers that are yours.  You will get a copy, we will file a copy," he said.

If you are a victim of a burglary, you can easily track your items.

"If it's pawned or caught through investigations, it's a way to track it and identify them as being the owner, and get the property back to them," added Officer Glover.

He said the chances of you getting your stolen property back increase if you have the serial numbers.

After you take all those steps, and you want a second opinion, you can call APD to come out and survey your property.

They can tell you what changes need to be made to prevent you from becoming a victim.  And the best part, it's all free.

For more crime prevention tips, click here.

You can contact the Albany Police Department by calling (229) 431-2100.

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