12/06/10 — Police offer tips on break-in prevention

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Police offer tips on break-in prevention

By Gary Popp
Published in News on December 6, 2010 1:46 PM

With breaking and enterings to homes and vehicles continuing to be a problem, the Goldsboro Police Department is reaching out to citizens and asking for help in reducing the problem.

The department is encouraging residents to take steps of their own to guard themselves from becoming victims of theft.

Capt. Al King, of the Goldsboro Police Department, said citizen awareness and willingness to involve the police are key elements in the battle to stop the break-ins.

"If something seems out of the normal, call us. We want people to make preventative calls," he said.

King said the public is often too hesitant to contact police.

"The police don't always know what is normal or not in your neighborhood," King said. "You do."

King said the majority of home breaking and enterings occur during the day, while the majority of vehicle break-ins take place at night.

Home electronics, primarily televisions, laptops and game consoles, are often the targets of criminals.

"Flat-screen televisions are the hot item of the year," King said.

Many victims report watching television with their doors and window blinds open, allowing passersby to see clearly into their homes, according to police reports.

Police are asking people to be aware of criminals who may be planning a break-in.

There have been reports of unknown persons knocking on doors and asking for money, air for bike tires or to use the phone. Shortly after, the homes were broken into, according to reports.

King said you can decrease the chance of your vehicle being broken into by taking a few simple steps, especially being sure to lock your vehicle before leaving it unattended.

"Over 50 percent of automobile thefts have no forced entry," King said.

The majority of vehicular break-ins start with thieves checking the handle to see if the car is unlocked, King said.

King added that thieves "look first," so don't leave valuables visible inside your vehicle.

"You would be surprised what people leave in their vehicles," King said.

The Goldsboro Police Departments released the following tips to help citizens protect themselves from breaking and enterings:

*Be aware of suspects loitering in areas or yards where they seem out of place. People may be posted as lookouts for others who are breaking into homes or vehicles. Also, be aware of cell phone use by these suspects.

*The department recovers stolen property frequently. Write down the serial numbers of the items in your home that may be stolen and keep the information in a secure place. This will increase the likelihood of the property being returned to you if recovered by police.

*Criminals are known to ring doorbells to check if anyone is home prior to breaking in. Victims have reported their doorbell ringing before the rear of their home is broken into. Don't treat "ring and runs" as simple pranks.

*Home break-ins often occur during the day when people leave there homes for short periods of time. Suspects watch homes and wait for victims to leave. Many victims have a single vehicle and suspects are easily aware when no one is home.