Burglars count on you to think nothing’s wrong

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.

12 comments Add your comment

Big Al

October 12th, 2010
7:50 am

Another good, and timely, article. But I have a complaint to register.

You have not written an article in several days which is bad enough. In the meantime, you left that awful looking picture of Nancy Grace on your page. Every day when I check for a new article, I see that scary mug looking at me. You have subjected your readers to cruel and unusual punishment. It is bad enough this time of year with Halloween coming soon but to be scared every day by the fright mask of all times is a bit to much.

Keep up the good work.

Cop Supporter

October 12th, 2010
1:10 pm

Great article..keep up the good work. :)

SafetyDaveG

October 12th, 2010
2:28 pm

So, what’s the difference between blackmail and extortion?

Black Bart

October 12th, 2010
2:58 pm

Actually, burglary is the “entering of a dwelling of another with the intent of commiting a felony therein.” If you break in and commit a misdemeanor or take a nap, that’s “breaking and entering.”

Drawing Black Lines

October 12th, 2010
3:02 pm

So, is it true in GA that if a burglar is in your home you can only shoot at him if he’s facing you?

BIG GEORGE

October 13th, 2010
7:48 am

DITTO with Big Al…………

Biteme

October 13th, 2010
1:07 pm

Big Al, that is hilarious as I had the same exact problem! That is one very scary woman……

osolomio

October 13th, 2010
1:24 pm

Some teenage burglars recently busted in Cobb said there MO was to listen ‘real hard’ in school for info on trips out of town etc., then hit classmates houses. Always be looking!

Fred

October 15th, 2010
12:40 am

Shoot the teenagers oslomio, nip that gene pool in the bud.

Although…….. if they hit my nasty neighbor, I’ll let them. Another tip, don’t be a bad neighbor………

Whatever

October 15th, 2010
2:17 pm

Not like the cops will do anything to find said people that break into your house. They’ll pretty much tell you its your fault. Thanks for nothing as usual police.

Jerry

October 18th, 2010
12:02 am

First time reader, the last thing I expected was humor! I had several good chuckles over your
“dynamic” use of the word “dynamic”! You must write this piece on your own time otherwise
there would be a column every day! Regardless, a very good tongue-in-cheek look at some
very good tips about the reality of crime where we live, and what we can do to lessen our
chances of becoming a crime victim. I can’t wait to read future column’s to see if the humor
was a “fluke” or if you might actually have A TALENT! In which case you will probably take
early retirement and the good ol APD will lose another good officer to the decent wages
syndrome! AND…speaking of Nancy Grace, if you think she is awful now, embrace this thought…someday the “twins” will grow up, get married and she will become…
A MOTHER-IN-LAW !

Sharath Mekala

October 18th, 2010
6:34 pm

One way that a community can increase its safety, as mentioned in this article is to drastically increase its efficiency in communication. For that reason, I started a company a year and a half ago focusing on just that. My door was kicked in while i was at work, and no one in my 800+ neighbor community saw or knew anything. I created Village Defense as a result (www.villagedefense.com) and now that we are in neighborhoods throughout Atlanta, we are building some results. We have already led to 2 arrests related to copper theft. Please visit us on the web, and call us to learn more. We are grassroots based, and would like to present this community grown solution.