Some things to know about burglaries and what you can do

Burglaries are a significant part of our crime stats. Burglaries and thefts make up most of the FBI Part 1 crimes. Thefts are by far the most in numbers, but burglary is the most significant challenge.

By challenge, I mean a pain in the butt. Burglars are snakes. They break into your home and steal your stuff when you’re gone. Sometimes they think you’re gone, but they can make mistakes. And if you’re home when they break in, it can be a serious confrontation.

Most of these guys want your possessions and that’s all, but the “by-chance” meeting can be very dangerous. Chances are this will never happen to you. But it can happen, so don’t make the fatal mistake of assuming anything.

What to do when you hear a strange noise

Let’s say you are home watching “Dr. Oz.” You hear a noise that is definitely not something that sounds normal. A noise downstairs, upstairs, whatever — it’s a noise that shouldn’t be there.

First of all, it is most proper to hit the 9-1-1 button when this scenario presents itself. My advice: If you hear noises that raise the hair on the back of your neck, move away from the noise, grab the cell and keep moving out until the cops arrive. You do not need to engage someone who is burglarizing the home. Once they know you are home, it’s almost certain they will flee. But, again, never say never.

Here’s a fact about catching burglars

We catch burglars when people call 9-1-1. It’s a fact. The crime doesn’t have to unfold in front of you to raise enough suspicion to call the cops. Noises are enough to make the call.

Another fact, this one about how burglars work

Chances are the break-in will occur during the day, not night. The scenario of the cat burglar is unlikely. It happens, but the percentages say they’ll hit during the day. They like to break in when they think the resident is at work.

Some do their homework by casing the neighborhood. That means at some point, a car may drive down the street. Maybe the car doesn’t look right. Slow-driving car, maybe twice comes down the street with the driver just looking around.

Did you notice the car? If so, did you remember the color, the make and the occupant of the car? Grab the tag.

When something happens such as circumstances that make you suspicious, call 9-1-1 and get the cops into your neighborhood. Last week I got four e-mails from concerned residents who saw a car and a person loitering and it made them suspicious. Their intent was on the ball, but the delivery went to me via e-mail instead of 9-1-1.

Don’t be afraid to call. Get the cops out there and get it checked out.

When to e-mail, when to call

Stay in touch with one another and use that e-mail tool to get information out when the time comes — but stay with the facts. Confirm anything that you may doubt with your police agency. Crime prevention officers, COPS officers and even the neighborhood precinct is a good start.

Confirm rumors by e-mail, but when you see something going on, that’s when you call 9-1-1. It does make a difference. You’d be surprised what a phone call can be the start of!

16 comments Add your comment

Neighborhood Watch Coordinator in another City

September 3rd, 2010
10:22 pm

What a great article. It’s a lot of work getting people to notice things they overlooked before, and change their habits. Personally, I think this article is one that should be re-posted regularly. But you guys are doing such a great job in Sandy Springs, that one day, people WILL start “seeing” things, writing tag numbers down, and contribute more toward catching criminals. It just takes time to change the culture and the way people think about what they see.
And Happy Anniversary! But listen dude, pick up the poop once in awhile (you think it doesn’t make Det. Sandy gag too???) You might be surprised at the reward!!

Rambo's first cousin

September 3rd, 2010
10:28 pm

I live in the north georgia mtns in the country where we can’t see our neighbors house. When I hear a strange noise, I pick up the 40 semi-automatic, if I hear another noise, I put a bullet in the chamber and go investigate. If the noise is nothing I eject the bullet and clear the chamber, if I really think someone has been messing around my property, I will flail off 4 or 5 rounds just to let them know that I don’t mess around. The word seems to have gotten around because I have never had anything taken in this meth community and all my neighbors have several times over. I will call the cops only after the fact. I have a gun by the bed, one by the recliner and one in the car.


September 4th, 2010
2:27 am

houses with big dogs dont get burglarized.

September 4th, 2010
6:06 am

Security cameras and a long history of door repairs show – the vast majority of burglars – having targeted the house to break-in, walking up to the door trying to look “normal” (with a cover story if someone shows up), testing the door handle – and if weakness and shake are present – taking two steps back and with a single swift kick breaking the door, on which the latch and bolt strikes’ screws are flathead 5/8″ brass No. 8’s.

Ninety seconds later he, or his crew from the sidewalk, has come and gone.

Beyond having a dog and an adeptly-wielded firearm (a right and duty of every legal American citizen/parent/property holder/adult) on the other side of the door, all the sovereign resident or landlord needs is a door more secure than his or her neighbors’.

Burglary is a lazy person’s trade. If the entry is secure, with a properly placed and fitted locking latch and deadbolt on a properly hinged, sound door, with both jambs properly shimmed/blocked and the lock jamb – The Weakest Link – reinforced properly (appropriate to the threat level at the location), the vermin will crawl away in search of a softer target.

If the door handle feels like the Rock of Gilbralter – accomplished by locating precisely and securely the strike and latchlock on the frame and door – the burglar knows the noise and potentially futile effort, trying to break a door nothing but a police ram could, won’t be profitable, while alerting those within or near by.

Speed is key and a properly hinged and locked door is practically insurmountable when “Smash and Grab” is the “industry norm.”

Gun fantasy

September 4th, 2010
7:34 am

It’s like Mr. Rose says, the bad people are trying to steal your stuff. They are not looking to kill you. But, if you bring a gun, someone is gonna be sorry.

Maybe that crystal bowl that you only use on Thanksgiving for Aunt Edna’s famous waldorf salad is worth risking your life. Hey, it’s America you have the right to be as stupid as you want.


September 4th, 2010
2:40 pm

I called the Alpharetta police one night just before midnight after I heard men talking outside and the doorbell was rung repeatedly. Being home by myself and 7 months pregnant, I didn’t want to mess around. The A-retta police were fantastic and they were there within minutes. They walked around my whole house to make sure nobody was there and all the doors/windows were secured. I apologized for what I considered to be a false alarm but the cop assured me that they would ALWAYS rather someone call if they are uneasy. Thank you, Alpharetta police!

Three big dogs...

September 4th, 2010
5:02 pm

I used to feel secure with my three huge dogs…but my house was burglarized, with the three dogs inside. I was so shocked. Guess I lived in the neighborhood long enough that they knew my dogs would bark but aren’t vicious. I don’t know what happened, but my dogs are still stressed. As a single woman, I am doing everything I can to make my new home secure. Deadbolts and dogs are just not enough.

Gun Reality

September 4th, 2010
10:20 pm

If anyone is willing to allow a person who has already decided a felony is a good idea to determine how safe they get to be… well hey, it’s America you have the right to be as stupid as you want.

Lilburn Lady

September 6th, 2010
7:41 pm

My neighborhood has a COPS program (like neighborhood watch). We call our police when we see someone cruising slowly and randomly through the neighborhood. Just last week, three burglars in our neighborhood were arrested when two alert neighbors saw their unfamiliar car in the driveway of a family who was not home. They kicked in the back door, but were apprehended because neighbors got their tag no. and called 911.

Deadbolts are great, but don’t forget your windows. Home Depot and Lowe’s sell window bolts, pins, etc. that are easily removable if you need to get out, but impossible to remove from outside even if they break the window, unless you have a special tool. It cost us less than $20 to outfit all of our first floor windows.


September 6th, 2010
10:01 pm

For you folks who couldn’t stay on topic or stay civil, please take your political venom and hate comments elsewhere. There are plenty of other blogs, on plenty of other sites, where you’d feel welcome.


September 6th, 2010
11:52 pm

Great article! Please reprint this at least once a month. I agree with everything the officer stated above, but I do believe in arming yourself right after you call the police. I also think that you should place yourself somewhere safe yet with enough room to fire off a clear shot if need be. Working shifts whihc rotate every 40ur months has given me the ability to work over different scenarios to ensure both my place and my neighborhood remain safe. Keep your eyes and ears open. Their are some desperate people in our society right now. Be aware of what i sgoing on in your neighborhood!


September 7th, 2010
10:44 am

I understand wanting to protect your home but gun ownership is not a duty.

That said, I agree with warning them first that you’ve called the cops. Yelling “I’ve called the cops” will save you the trouble of having to repair/replace whatever you damage with a warning shot.

Sandy Springs Guy

September 7th, 2010
12:02 pm

All the folks in our neighborhood carry their cellphone when walking dogs and they snap pictures of any unfamiliar vehicles that travel our street. It only goes in a circle so no one should be on it unless they have business on the street. If we hear of any trouble, we can review and download any pictures of vehicles from that timeframe for leads for police. Also, criminals will not return to an area where they have had their picture taken.


September 7th, 2010
3:44 pm

What was that show that aired for a couple of years, “It takes a thief”??? You know, where the two ex-burglars would canvas a neighborhood and then work it out with the homeowner to let them “break into” the house. The homeowner would usually get a “security makeover” out of the deal.

The point of the whole program was to show how quickly and easily a burglar can get into your home and make away with your stuff.

What always amazed me though, was that they would return in a few weeks and found a lot of the security measures were not used and they could get back into the house very easily.

Who rules the streets?

September 8th, 2010
8:58 am

Lilburn Lady, you are truly fortunate. I have was recently battered and assaulted by the neighborhood thugs – oops, I mean angels. The youth also returned and smashed out both our car windshields. I have video of the teens when they banged on our door before they committed the assault but Dekalb police say the video will not help them identify the youth. Yesterday, a few of the kids returned to our area, I called the Dekalb police so they could get id’s of the young thugs – I mean angels – but youth left 15 minutes after I made the call to 911 and go away. What is a law abiding citizen to do? You follow the guidelines the police give you but nothing gets done. The crooks can kick down your door, smash your car windshields, and assault you and nothing gets done. However, If I were to knock the h@#l out of the teens, I was told I would get arrested. All the laws are really set up for the crooks to have a field day against the citizenry. It makes you wonder, who really rules the streets?


September 8th, 2010
1:26 pm

to the editor: if that’s what you want, cancel this blog or put some guidelines in place. Blogs are blogs and you are dumb.