The number of residential burglaries spiked last week in Concord, marking the start of a season usually marred by an increase in home break-ins.
According to the Concord Police Department, most residential burglaries occur during the daytime, while residents are away from the house — either at work or on vacation.
"It is very rare to have a nighttime burglary of an occupied residence," said Lt. David Hughes. "The single greatest thing residents can do to prevent a burglary is to create the round-the-clock appearance that their home is being lived-in, and people are actually home."
Here are a few tips from the Concord PD for reducing the chances of a break-in:
- Avoid announcing or publicizing vacation plans, work schedules, and the like to anyone but trusted friends, family, neighbors, etc.
- Instruct family members (children, teens, etc.) to use discretion when talking about upcoming vacations, or extended trips. There will be plenty of time after a vacation to share the experiences with others.
- Trusted neighbors, family, etc. should know who should be at your home while you are away. This includes which cars belong in front of your house or in the driveway.
- Arrange for a trusted friend, family member, or neighbor to collect your mail and newspaper, as well as check out the security of your house while you are away. Big surprise, but mail piled up on the front porch is a clue that no one is home to take it inside.
- Verify that ALL doors and windows are closed and latched. This may seem like an obvious step, but it only takes one unlatched window to offer a burglar a workable point of entry into a residence.
- Consider securing all small valuables (jewelry, etc.), credit cards/checks, cars keys to vehicles, and any unloaded and locked firearms in the securest location you can find. Not everyone has a large, heavy safe to use, but most houses have places they can at least hide this stuff away (securely!).
- Consider leaving some lights and/or a radio on inside the house. Timers can help with turning them on/off at appropriate times of the day.
- Park your vehicles conspicuously in the driveway.
- Consider installing an audible, residential alarm system – from a licensed, reputable businesses. Modern alarm systems commonly offer not just exterior signage and physical and motion sensors, they can email/text/voice call you when an activation occurs, as well as offer real-time video capabilities to remotely monitor your house via Smart Device (phone, tablet, etc.).
The Concord Police Department offers free "Vacation House Checks" for residents who are leaving town over the holidays. Trained volunteers will perform house inspections, inclusing a perimeter check, a physical and/or visual check of all doors and windows, verification of vehicles left on the property, and verification of any people found on the property.
Enroll in the house check program by downloading an application and return it to CPD headquarters at 1350 Galindo Street. More information about Vacation House Checks can be found on the city's website.
False alarms are a big problem for the police department, with thousands of incidents a year. Visit CPD's website for tips on how to avoid wasting police time and resources on false alarms.