Monday, March 14, 2011

Help prevent burglaries: Tips for keeping your home and valuables safe.

Courtesy Maggie West; The Examiner

In the last two months, several residents in the City of Milton have experienced burglaries, said Community Outreach Coordinator Dennis Nelson. No one has been hurt, and officers are actively working to find the perpetrators.

These crimes -- while statistically in line with previous years -- nevertheless, highlight the importance of Milton's Police and Citizens Together (MPACT) program. MPACT trains residents to be the eyes of their neighborhood and establishes a reporting and information distribution system for important updates, said Nelson.

"The Outreach Program was developed in Mar. of 2010. I took over the program in the middle of Jan. 2011. I have revamped the entire program, as well as added seminar/community meeting Power Point presentations for meetings," stated Nelson.

"The Outreach Program was developed in Mar. of 2010. I took over the program in the middle of Jan. 2011. I have revamped the entire program, as well as added seminar/community meeting Power Point presentations for meetings," stated Nelson.

And signing up for the program is easy. The online form, named "Police Department Community Outreach Program" is available on the city's website,, under the "Find a form or permit" tab and listed under "Online forms."
Residents can also view all the crimes reported in the City of Milton and around a specific address using Crime Reports. Simply input your address and recent reported incidents are displayed on the map. This free service is always available at the City of Milton's website,, under "Your Government" > "Police" >"See reported incidents in your area." And it is also available as an iPhone app.
Let us continue with MPACT: "The MPACT Program, " Nelson continued, "is a neighborhood watch program that partners police and citizens to combat crime activity in the City of Milton. A Milton police officer is assigned to the neighborhood as a liaison between the community and the police department. MPACT absolutely has the potential to deter crime in the community, as well as apprehend criminals and clear cases. However, it requires an active and involved neoghborhood to be successful."
Nelson added that "It is important to note that there have been no home invasions, nor home robberies. Both of those imply a crime against a person occurred. What we have had are residential burglaries. Burglary is a crime against property. While burglary is certainly a serious crime, we want to make it clear up front that crimes are not happening 'against people,' which is much more serious."
In an effort to keep the community informed and safe, Nelson has compiled a wealth of tips to help keep homeowners protected. And these will benefit anyone in any town or city.
"When it comes to burglary prevention, you need to know the basics," said Nelson. "While some prevention techniques may cost you money, many are simple to do and are completely free. By making these simple changes around your home, you can make it a tough target for criminals."
First, always make your home look occupied:
  • Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed. Even if it is for a short time, lock your doors.
  • Leave lights on when you go out. If you are going to be away for a length of time, connect some lamps to automatic timers to turn them on in the evening and off during the day.
  • Keep your garage door closed and locked. Keep your cars locked, too. All a burglar has to do is take your garage remote control opener and he or she has a free key to your house.
  • Don't allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or flyers to build up while you are away. Arrange with the Post Office to hold your mail, or arrange for a friend or neighbor to take them regularly.
  • Arrange for your lawn to be mowed if you are going away for an extended time.
  • Have adequate exterior lighting. A motion-sensitive light is recommended for backyards.
  • Trim trees and shrubs so that they cannot be used as hiding places for intruders.
Make your home difficult to break into:
  • Check locks on doors and windows and replace them with secure devices as necessary. Push-button locks on doorknobs are easy for burglars to open and should not be considered. Install deadbolt locks on all your outside doors. Make sure your door hinges are on the inside.
  • No lock, regardless of its quality, can be truly effective. Key-in dead bolt locks provide minimum security. Ask a locksmith for advice on your situation.
  • Change locks immediately if your keys are lost or stolen. When moving into a new home, have all locks changed as soon as possible.
  • Sliding glass doors are vulnerable. Special locks are available for better security.
  • Other windows may need better locks. Check with a locksmith or hardware store for alternatives.
  • Most windows can be pinned for security. Drill a small 3/16-inch hole on a slight downward slant through the inside window frame and halfway into the outside frame - place a nail in the hole to secure the window.

Consider purchasing or leasing a monitored alarm system from a reputable company:

  • An alarm system is excellent for home security. It provides peace of mind to homeowners, especially while on vacation. There is a wide variety of alarm systems on the market.
  • Make several inquiries to different companies for the best security system available to you.

Other precautions you should take to protect your property:

  • Keep valuable jewelry in a safety deposit box or a heavy safe, if possible. Never leave your jewelry in plain sight or in a regular jewelry box out in the open.
  • Never leave keys under doormats or in flowerpots, mailboxes or other "secret" hiding places -- burglars know where to look for hidden keys.
  • Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and original value, and serial numbers. Keep a copy in a safe place away from home -- this is a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters. Make a photographic or video record of valuable objects, heirlooms and antiques. Your insurance company can provide assistance in making and keeping your inventory.
  • Mark your valuables with your driver's license number. Marked items are harder for a burglar to dispose of and easier for police to recover.
  • Consider owning a dog. Besides being a family pet they are a great deterrent to criminals!

What do I do if I discover my home has been broken into?

If you come home to find an unexplained open/broken window or door:

  • Do not enter - the perpetrator may still be inside.
  • Use a neighbor's phone to call police.
  • Do not touch anything or clean up until the police have inspected for evidence.
  • Write down the license plate numbers of any suspicious vehicles.
  • Note the descriptions of any suspicious persons.

And finally, the most important thing you can do is CALL THE POLICE and report the crime or any suspicious activity.


Anonymous said...

Rely on this council to ignore the need for more officers in Milton.

Anonymous said...

Buy a gun, take some lessons, and get a license to carry. U can now get licenses in Alpharetta instead of downtown. If we all have guns, they won't try to burglarize at least while we r home.

Or just hope one of three officers can get to your home and save you. Ask that couple last year in cc of the south who was tied up and duct taped and they stole their suv and fled.

James said...

First thing to consider should be general safety rate of place I am going to live in. Surprisingly, it is not all about population numbers, see the example of Toronto vs. Vancouver. Electronic dog barking alarms are clever when you are not a ´real-dog-person´...though, sometimes a warning label is enough to deter potential burglars.