Home & Neighborhood Safety
- Burglary Prevention & Tips
- Suspicious Activity - What to Look For
- Lock Crime Out of Your Home
- Burglars and Pest Control
- Burglars and Dogs
- Cluster Mailboxes
- Door Hinges
- 13 Things a Burglar Won't Tell You (Plus 8 More Too)
Did you know that on average approximately 70% of residential burglaries occur during the daytime? Did you also know that on average more than 60% of the incidents are the result of doors, windows, or garage doors, being left open or unlocked?
Below are some helpful crime fighting burglary prevention steps you can take to help combat crime and make a difference in our community.
- Use common sense - don't be an easy target
- LOCK and close your doors and windows. Yes, even when you're home
- Do not leave your garage door open or unlocked if you are not in the immediate area.
- Immediately report any and all suspicious activity by calling our 24 hr, non-emergency number at 805.650.8010 or 911 in the event of an emergency
- If you have an alarm set it!
- Install quality locks on doors and windows and USE them.
- Lighting is one of the best deterrents to nightime burglary - indoor and outdoor lighting is important.
- Beware of solicitors. Door-to-door sales people in the City of Ventura must have a business license issued by the City and to have registered in person with our department. The following link provides information on door-to-door permits, licenses, and the process. http://www.cityofventura.net/businesslicense#door
- Don't let strangers into your home - this includes workers and others - if you are not with them.
- Photograph your valuables and engrave your property with a form of identification, such as your driver's license number.
- Start and participate in Neighborhood Watch Program by calling 339-4423.
- If you are going to be out of town have family, freinds, or neighbors check on your home or place of business. You can also call our Volunteer Coordinator at 805.339.4320 and ask for a Vacation to Check to be conducted while you are gone.
- Solicitors going house to house
- Suspicious/unfamiliar subjects walking or loitering in the area
- Suspicious/unfamiliar subjects parked in a car on the street, alleyway, side of a home, etc.
- Subject parked on the street and talking on a cell phone.
- Subjects casing homes
- Occupied suspicious vehicles that appear out of place and are not normally parked in the area, or you are not familiar with the vehicle
- Anyone carrying property that seems suspicious or out of place
Making your home safer from crime doesn't always mean having to install expensive alarms - effective home security starts with properly locked doors and windows and visible, well lighted entryways.
All exterior doors should be either metal or solid wood. For added security, use strong door hinges on the inside of the door, with non-removable or hidden pins. Every entry door should be well lighted and have a wide-angle door viewer so you can see who is outside without opening the door.
Strong, reliable locks are essential to effective home security. Always keep doors and windows locked - even a five-minute trip to the store is long enough for a burglar to enter your home.
Use quality keyed knobs as well as deadbolts. Deadbolts can withstand the twisting, turning, prying, and pounding that regular keyed knobs can't.
When choosing a deadbolt, look for features such as:
- * a bolt that extends at least one inch when in the locked position, to resist ramming and kicking;
- * hardened steel inserts to prevent the lock from being sawed off;
- * a reinforced strike plate with extra-long mounting screws to anchor the lock effectively.
Most deadbolts are a single cylinder that operates from the outside with a key and from the inside with a thumb latch. Double-cylinder deadbolts require a key to open the lock from both outside and inside your home. These locks are especially effective for doors with glass within 40 inches of the lock - an intruder cannot break the glass and unlock the door by reaching through.
Some jurisdictions do not allow double-cylinder deadbolts - check with your local law enforcement or building code authority before installing a double-cylinder deadbolt. As an alternative, security glazing can be applied to glass panels in or near the door, or shatterproof glass can be installed, although these options can be expensive.
Sliding Glass Doors
Sliding glass doors can offer easy entry into your home. To improve security on existing sliding glass doors, you can:
- * install keyed locking devices that secure the door to the frame;
- * adjust the track clearances on the doors so they can't be pushed out of their tracks;
- * put a piece of wood or a metal bar in the track of the closed door to prevent the door from opening even if the lock is jimmied or removed.
Most standard double-hung windows have thumb-turn locks between the two window panels. Don't rely on these! They can be pried open or reached easily through a broken windowpane. Instead, install keyed locking devices to prevent the window from being raised from the outside. Make sure everyone in the house knows where to find the keys in case of an emergency. Again, some jurisdictions have restrictions on this type of lock, so check with your local law enforcement before you install them.
An easy, inexpensive way to secure your windows is to use the "pin" trick. Drill an angled hole through the top frame of the lower window partially into the frame of the upper window. Then insert a nail or eyebolt. The window can't be opened until you remove the nail. Make a second set of holes with the windows partly opened so you can have ventilation without intruders.
Lighting is one of the most cost-effective deterrents to burglary. Indoor lighting gives the impression that a home is occupied. If you are going to be away from your home, consider using automatic timers to switch interior lights on and off at preset times.
Outdoor lighting can eliminate hiding places. Install exterior lighting near porches, rear and side doorways, garage doors, and all other points of entry. Entryways to your home always should be well lighted. Place lights out of reach from the ground so the bulbs cannot be removed or broken. Aim some lights away from the house so you can see if anyone is approaching, or install motion-sensing lights that will turn on automatically as someone approaches.
Shrubs and Landscaping
Your home's walkways and landscaping should direct visitors to the main entrance and away from private areas. The landscaping should provide maximum visibility to and from your house. Trim shrubbery that could conceal criminal activity near doors and windows. Provide light on areas of dense shrubs and trees that could serve as hiding places. Cut back tree limbs that could help thieves climb into windows, and keep yard fencing low enough to avoid giving criminals places to hide.
Tenting your home for pest control applications can make you vulnerable to burglary. The crooks know that no one will be in the residence, and that it's likely the owners have left most of their possessions inside. In addition, several days may pass before a break-in is even detected and reported.
You'd think the big skull and cross bones signs all around your property indicating the presence of toxic poisons would deter anyone from entering, but that is not always the case. Although not common, we do receive reports of incidents that have occurred under these circumstances, and in fact responded to a similar call recently where entry was made by breaking a back window.
What to do? A few extra precautions can go a long way:
- Take the smaller of your most valued possessions with you.
- Alert your neighbors, ask them to watch for, AND report, any suspicious activity.
- Call 339-4320 to request a "vacation" check. Our Volunteers in Policing will put your address on their route and check on your residence periodically as their time allows.
- If you have any type of security system in place, be sure to advertise it with a lawn sign or other indicator that may discourage bad guys.
- If you have access to an RV, you might consider staying in it on your property so you can keep an eye on things. If you will be parking it on the street, be sure to call our Traffic Division at 339-4401 to get a waiver so you don't get cited or towed under the Oversized Vehicle Ordinance.
It's true. At least they hate coming across dogs at their victim's residences. Interviews with crooks show that having a dog, or at least appearing to have a dog, is one of the greatest deterrents to a break-in.
If you have ever considered owning a dog, here's one more good excuse. Ventura County Animal Control has a wide selection to choose from who would love to be given charge of your home.
However, if you are not interested in actually owning (and feeding, and playing with and cleaning up after) a real live dog, here are some other ideas you might consider:
- Put up a "Danger, Dog on Duty" sign. Cheap, not messy, and just might be convincing.
- Get a couple of big, emphasis on BIG dog bowls, fill one with water and put them in your yard.
- Peruse your local do-it-yourself or electronics store (or the internet) for a doorbell that, when rung, sounds like a doberman pincher launching into attack.
- Even higher tech, and probably proportionately higher priced, is a nifty motion sensing gadget that begins barking as someone approaches your house and then gets louder and more frantic the closer the person comes. Search for "electronic watch dog".
"Cluster" mailboxes are those that house mail receptacles for several residences. These are common, but not exclusive to, apartment and condominium complexes. They make particularly attractive targets for thieves, as once the back of the box is breached, all of the individual sections become accessible and mail from many households can be taken in a very short period of time.
The information contained in both incoming and outgoing mail can often be used for fraudulent purposes, most notably Identity Theft type crimes.
To minimize your risk:
- Make sure your mail is picked up every day, the sooner after it arrives the better.
- Do not leave outgoing mail in a cluster mailbox. Use public mail receptacles as they are more secure, or perhaps mailing from your place of employment would be a good option.
- Most banks will allow you to arrange to pick up your checks from the bank in person instead of having them mailed to your home.
Shred your mail before disposing of it in the trash or recycle bin.
We recently had a report of someone removing the hinges from a garage door in order to gain entry and steal valuable tools. Although most people don't give a second thought to the securing their door hinges, it is an important part of your overall home security plan.
This is particularly true for doors that swing outward. On this type of door, the hinge pins are typically exposed on the outside of the house. This could allow an intruder to tap the hinge pins up and out, and lift the door off its hinges, removing the door without unlocking it.
Here are some suggestions from the California Attorney Generals Office describing how to rectify problems with outward swinging doors:
Have the hinges remounted on the inside of the frame so that the door swings inward.
- Install a set of hinges with non-removable hinge pins.
Install a locking pin in the existing hinge plate. Here is how: Once this is done, as the door closes, the pin in the jamb will penetrate the hole in the door and the door will be held in position even if the hinge pins are removed.
- Remove the center screws from the plates of each hinge.
- Insert a “headless” screw, bolt or nail into the doorjamb through the hole in the hinge plate.
- Leave 1/2 inch of the screw, bolt or nail protruding.
- Drill a 3/4-inch hole through the opening in the opposite hinge plate on the door.