Chicago suburbs are normally the nation’s hot spot for “ruse” burglaries
, where bad guys working in pairs pose as home contractors, and one burglarizes your home while the other distracts you.
But in one community west of downtown Chicago, it’s routine home intrusions that have been on the rise:
Residential burglaries are plaguing Naperville with 12 occurring in less than two weeks, according to police. In half of those cases between Aug. 29 and Sept. 10, the burglars entered unlocked homes at night while the owners were sleeping, police said. In nearly all of the daytime cases, doors and windows were forced open.
It’s amazing how many burglars enter through unlocked doors and windows – even when people are not home. We also know it’s a fact that most burglaries happen during the day – when the intruder expects the home to be empty.
Police Are on the Case
"We're thinking that there's probably a couple different crews out there, and in one group either a suspect or suspects are doing nighttime looking for open doors and another group or person is doing daytime kicking in doors," Sgt. Lou Cammiso said. In the nighttime burglaries, the burglars seem to be sticking to the ground floor and swiping items that are easily accessible like laptops, wallets and other items people have left out. In the daytime when no one is around, they are going to other parts of the homes and have grabbed as much as $30,000 in jewelry from one residence, according to Cammiso.
Many of the most recent burglaries have occurred on the south side of town. The Police Department is deploying detectives to the south side to do surveillance work, and police also are asking residents to lock their doors and report any suspicious activity. "We all believe it's going to be a tip from the public about a suspicious person or vehicle that solves the case," Cammiso said. "It's a lot of ground for a handful of detectives to cover."
What Burglars Steal – and How Homeowners React
Makes sense: cash, jewelry and electronics are missing. Add in guns and prescription drugs, and you’ve got the “big five” list of items burglars target most. Some people blame the economy, while others blame greater use of drugs, and the need to feed drug habits… Whatever the reasons, residential crime is definitely up in plenty of cities, towns, and counties across the US. But we don’t often get the victims’ perspective on residential crime, which makes this article from Naperville all the more poignant.
Sharon Hasa and her family have the unenviable distinction of being statistics in the annals of the home burglaries that have vexed Naperville residents and police since the beginning of August. Hasa and one of her two sons were not in their University Heights neighborhood house shortly before 3 p.m. Monday. She said her husband was home and “had left for just 20 minutes” to pick up their other son from school when it happened.
They Were Lucky – This Time
“Everything has been locked up tight since the week before, because we have been so paranoid” in the wake of the well-publicized burglary spree, Hasa said Wednesday night with a nervous laugh. “But they did get in to my house.” Nothing was stolen during what proved to be an in-and-out break-in. “My husband had left the TV on” while he went to get their son, “and it appears that when (the burglars) heard the TV, they left” empty-handed, Hasa said. “It’s terrifying, really. To think that somebody was watching my house, was watching my husband’s movements.”
Locking doors and windows is good, but how about a monitored alarm system? Don’t you want the peace of mind that comes from knowing police will respond to an alarm activation?
Hasa was one of an estimated 300 residents of Naperville’s south and southeast sides who attended a 90-minute informational meeting Wednesday night concerning the burglaries. Naperville police were represented by Chief Robert Marshall, Investigations Division Cmdr. Brian Cunningham and Crime Prevention Specialist Julie Smith. Marshall told audience members 29 burglaries have occurred over the past six weeks: in 60 percent of the cases, burglars got inside through open garage, service and patio doors.
Fatal Burglar Confrontation Referenced
“We've committed an enormous amount of resources” to the investigative effort, Marshall said. One attendee voiced fear for the safety of children who might be spending time alone at home while the parents are still at work. That resident cited the recent murder of a high school girl who surprised a burglar inside her family’s house in Indian Head Park. Marshall discussed the defensive steps, drastic and otherwise, homeowners are allowed to take when confronting or being confronted by intruders.
That’s all the more reason to have a home security system – and use it. We know exactly where burglars are mostly likely to break in.
Police Offer Home Security Tips
While little is foolproof, there are everyday, common-sense steps residents can take to protect themselves, their families and their property. Police advised homeowners to keep windows shut and doors locked, install and maintain outdoor security lighting, consider investing in video cameras or a guard dog and contact neighbors and police should they observe any unusual, potentially sinister activity.
Advice was also offered by audience member Ted Billman, himself the victim of a home burglary 15 years ago. “Make sure you take pictures” of rooms and valuables, “so you have some identification” and documentation in the event property is stolen, Billman said. The burglar who was eventually arrested in Billman’s case had made off with possessions that included a unique, expensive wristwatch that was never recovered.
Back to the Original Victim
Hasa said she and her family are taking even more precautions following their experience. “I do have a chair” that bars easy passage through the garage service door, and “that is why they could not get in” that way on Monday, Hasa said. Hasa is also in the process of rearranging some furniture in front of the French doors in the family room. She added she and her husband “are going to add more security soon.”
Alarm Systems Make a Difference
We hope that “more security” includes a monitoredalarm system. We know they work, which is why we are still trying to figure out why only one in five US homes has a monitored alarm system, with a burglary occurring every 14 seconds! Research has shown that a home with a monitored alarm system is only one third as likely to be burglarized as the unprotected home next door. And since the latest home security offerings (like FrontPoint) include safer cellular monitoring, advanced interactive features, and even home automation, there is more reason than ever to make the modest investment now.
As always, it makes sense to take every precaution so that your home is not a target. You’ll see that FrontPoint’s Top Ten Home Security Tips overlap nicely with the recommendations offered by police across the US – including installing a monitored alarm system. Your peace of mind is worth a lot, and there’s nothing more important than protecting your home and family. And that’s where FrontPoint comes in: the leader in wireless home security, and the #1 ranked home alarm company in the US. When you are ready for safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat, FrontPoint is your clear choice – just read the reviews, and you’ll see why.