Criminal Secrets: Protecting your home

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Your home is supposed to be your most safe, most personal space – but maybe it’s not as secure as you might think.

You set your alarms and you lock your doors. But house-breakings continue to be a problem.

So what can you do to avoid becoming a target? We decided to ask someone who might know best.

Police arrested twenty-two-year-old Billy for breaking and entering. He spent a month and a half in the county jail.

“They’re everywhere,” Billy said. “People look for opportunity. People you least suspect; And you don’t even know that they’re watching you. And they’ve been watching you… for days or weeks.”

This graph shows the total of breaking and entering reports as well as residential burglaries in the city of Dayton for 2016 and 2017. Source: Dayton Police Department

Billy said criminals will stake out a home for days or weeks, watching your routine, waiting for the right moment to strike.

“They see how many people come in and out of the house at a time, and how many people live there,” Billy said. “And they see you leave and they don’t think anyone else is around and they’re going to go in.”

He said: “Anybody can become a victim.”

Homeowner and mother of three, Lindsay Kelley says she does what she can to keep her young family safe.

Kelley says her neighborhood has seen a recent spike in car break-ins and mail theft.

Police are investigating a suspected burglary at a home just two doors down.

“You just never know when something could happen to you or it could happen to somebody you know,” Kelley said. “We had the security cameras installed for the front door and the back door after a couple different instances throughout the summer. It kind of gives me peace of mind.”

And if you’re planning on traveling this holiday season there are some common mistakes, Billy says homeowners should avoid.

“They see the grass overgrown or you see all kinds of mail on the porch or in the mailbox, overflowed,” Billy said. “Or the car ain’t been there for a while or there ain’t been lights on for weeks at a time. That’s what makes a house vulnerable.”

And if you’re going holiday shopping, Billy says, keep your valuables out of sight.

“They leave their presents in the car, or they’re not there and somebody sees them in the house,” Bill said. “They break the window or something, get them and take off.”

With the holiday season fast approaching, Kelley says she’s going to be sure to take extra care to secure her property and valuables to avoid becoming a target of crime.

“I’m making sure just to get mail out of the mailbox every day rather than every other day or every two days,” Kelley said. “Making sure the doors are locked at night and that we have lights on. Make it look like people are home.”

All things Billy says will make a criminal think twice.

“Keep your lights on or have your neighbor watch it real good or something like that,” Billy said. “Or just come by every now and then so nobody don’t see nobody there all the time.”

Billy says open or damaged windows or doors also make homes an easy target.

And if you’re going to be home, this holiday, it doesn’t hurt to switch up your routine, just in case.

2 NEWS obtained a list of reported break-ins and residential burglaries for the months of November 2016 through January 2017 from the Dayton Police Department. Below is a map that shows the locations of the more than 500 incidents reported in those time periods.

How well is your home protected from potential burglars?  Take our quiz and see how knowledgeable you are. When you’re done head over to the Dayton Police Department website and get more tips to protect your home, your car and yourself from potential thieves.

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