August 3, 2011 - It takes some burglars only 60 seconds to break into a home and in half of all residential burglaries the thieves have simply walked through unlocked doors or crawled through unlocked windows. Lt. Nancy Burns of the Crime Prevention Unit at the Leon County Sheriff’s Office says "crime is crime, it's everywhere. It doesn't matter if you are a big city, small town, or a medium sized city because there's always going to be people that have the need for something."
According to the US Department of Justice, American homes are victims of burglary about every 15 seconds. Judge Baity, a security consultant at Safe Touch in Tallahassee states "I've been doing security for more than 20 years and I have seen crime and break-ins and more widespread in the last probably couple years than we've ever had it before." He says homeowners and business owners may want to consider protecting their home and businesses with a security system. According to Baity, ”when you have an alarm system, you have a perimeter protection that covers your windows and doors so when the alarm system is armed, no one can breach it without activating that alarm system."
Experts also say one of the best deterrents in addition to your alarm system are yard signs and window decals because it's less likely that someone will breach your property knowing that it's protected.
The Leon County Sheriff's Office says that between April 1st and July 1st of 2012, there were 325 residential burglaries, 189 vehicle burglaries and 63 commercial burglaries. These numbers historically decrease with the start of each school year. Lt. Nancy Burns says "sometimes our kids are out of school, specifically maybe teenagers. They're looking for that easy money as well and they have idle time on their hands. They're not working or have a summertime job or a camp where they are at."
Residential burglaries typically occur during daytime hours when people are away from their homes. Burns says, "I think people don't realize sometimes, most burglars come from your own neighborhood. They're home grown because who knows you better than the people that live in your neighborhood so they know what cars belong there, they know when you come and go from work, and the average time for the average burglar is between 10 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon because that's when we are gone.”
The Leon County Sheriff's Office offers different types of free services for both home security as well as commercial businesses. Burns says, "we start out on the street level looking at everything from locks, lighting, shrubbery, how your house looks to a burglar, what's the appeal, is it all covered, is it secluded or do the neighbors have access that they can see you, is there good visibility that others can be helping you to watch your home when you are away as you should be watching theirs as well."
The Leon County Sheriff’s Office says a significant number of residential burglaries are committed on homes that have alarm systems, but were simply not activated. According to Baity, "with new technology today, you can also make your smart phone is a virtual keypad where you can arm and disarm anywhere that you have access to the internet, as well as we give you some pretty handy wireless key remotes as well."
A final suggestion from the Leon County Sheriff’s Office is to make sure that your address on your mailbox or on your house is easy to find so the police, fire department or EMS won't have trouble finding your house in an emergency. Burns says "it is still a small town, it is a great community but there's always the bad element within no matter what town or small community you come from so you always have to consider that unfortunately, we always have to be prepared for that bad element."
For more information on the free home security services offered by the Leon County Sheriff's Office contact (850) 922-3323 or go to: http://www.leoncountyso.com/divisions/crime-prevention/crime-prevention-unit