Published on Wednesday, 29 August 2012 01:00
Written by – Diego Abeloos
Short of installing a moat with hungry alligators, Los Altos Police Sgt. Scott McCrossin is quick to point out that residents can’t entirely prevent criminals from breaking into their homes – especially while the owners are on vacation or business trips. He recommends the following simple steps to minimize the risk of being targeted for burglary. • Smile for the camera. In Los Altos, homes are typically a multimillion-dollar investment. Why not protect that investment with the installation of a surveillance system? The standard home-surveillance system can be purchased and installed for $1,000 or less, according to McCrossin. It serves as a deterrent to burglars and assists police in solving crimes. In one recent case, police received credible evidence after a neighbor’s surveillance system filmed suspects breaking into a nearby home. • The porch light’s on, but nobody’s home. Leaving the porch light on during the day is one of the most common signs that the resident is not in. Invest in timers for some lights to throw burglars off. • Be a good neighbor. Several areas of Los Altos have active Neighborhood Watch programs. Meet the local Neighborhood Watch captain and notify him or her ahead of time if you plan to be away from home. Another common indicator that a resident is absent is a full mailbox or newspapers piled in view. Stop your newspaper, have the U.S. Postal Service hold your mail or ask your neighbor to collect deliveries daily. • Don’t let the grass grow. An overgrown lawn is another common sign that someone is out of town. Make arrangements to have your lawn mowed by a landscaping service or neighbor while you’re gone. • Lock the doors. Despite the relatively low number of burglaries in Los Altos, residents should lock their doors and windows before leaving their homes or exiting their vehicles. In several cases, residents have reported burglaries where suspects easily entered through unlocked doors. The police frequently receive reports of thefts of valuable items like electronics left visible in unlocked cars.