Criminal activity is dynamic. I say that because I like to say “dynamic.” But it’s also because criminal activity is, well, dynamic.
Dynamic in this case means constantly changing, which is a different way of saying “things change a lot.”
Burglary is the “entering the dwelling of another…” Dwelling can be your home or storage shed. The act creates little change, but the method is something that keeps us all employed here. We have analysts who crunch numbers and look for patterns, probability of patterns and where and when a similar pattern or even single incidents will occur.
For every pattern, series or trend, there seems to be an “X” factor, which to me can go either way. If you’re a burglar and — by the way, when someone breaks into your home, you’ve been burglarized, not robbed. Robbed is when someone pulls a gun so they can take your cell phone. (It’s amazing how we got to the top of the food chain.)
OK, back to the “X” factor and burglars. Most burglars will at least plan to some extent. They need to know which house, where the best entry point is at the house and so on. Even if it’s planned out to the tiny details, something could go wrong.
A neighbor shows up or a dog barks or the teenage son decides to skip school and return home after mom and dad leave for work — all part of what could go wrong for the perfect burglary. From time to time we get the burglar who meets the man of the house after opening the basement door to the kitchen and finding the man sipping coffee and reading the paper.
Talk about awkward silence.
Burglaries will often occur in groups, specific to one general area. It’s not that there are groups of burglars, but there are maybe one or two who had some success and figure their luck will hold out a bit more.
The greatest ally to any criminal is people assuming and second-guessing their first instinct. You see something and then think about it and decide it’s nothing. You’ll never know, of course, but what if it wasn’t nothing and later you find that what you saw was really something significant?
We get calls from residents who said they saw a car or person acting somehow out of the norm and, although they thought about it, didn’t do anything. Later when they heard a neighbor was burglarized and we’re looking for a blue Chevy Tahoe, for instance, they realize they saw that car. It seemed odd at the time, but they dismissed it.
We all do it.
Be alert and get involved, before the holidays come
As we get closer to the holiday period, burglary patterns will be — you guessed it — dynamic. And what they hope is you’ll give those little changes little thought and go on with whatever it is you were doing.
By far, the majority of our arrests come from 9-1-1 calls and the conversation starts: “I’m not sure, but this guy seemed a little suspicious.” You would be surprised how many burglaries can be cleared up by one arrest.
With the holidays approaching, it’s a great time to either get involved with or start Neighborhood Watch. Even if that isn’t going to happen, remember that most burglars will target homes with some cover, such as “mature” landscaping, meaning lots of bushes. Daytime is preferred over night. Most burglars will, at some point, look suspicious because they’re looking for the right house — meaning they look like they’re looking for the right house.
You might see this somewhat “different” posture or just a little suspicious behavior. If so, forget second-guessing. A car or truck backed up in the driveway of a home is not normal. It may be nothing, but it should get your attention.
Are there people around the vehicle and, if so, how do they act? If they’re looking around and moving with a sense of urgency, that may be a tip-off. Of course, we’d especially like a call if you see them actually carrying the 62-inch flat screen out the front door, please.
Just take a second and take a second look at what looks out of place. It may be nothing, but it may be where you become the “X” factor.
Be the “X” factor.