Police urge vigilance, safety-first mentality to combat home invasions
Though it's impossible to prevent a random home invasion, police say there are steps people can take to reduce the chances of becoming a victim.
"We don't want to induce panic or paranoia, but we do suggest that people be continually vigilant about being aware of their surroundings," state Police Sgt. Paul Shavack said. "Everyone really needs to pay attention to what's going on in and around their homes at all times."
Exterior lighting reduces chances of a home invasion. So would an alarm system, if they are turned on when people are at home.
Even though it sounds obvious, Shavack said, many people fail to lock their doors.
"The problem is people feel safe in their homes, because it's their comfort zone, but nowadays, you just can't do that," he said.
Reinforcing doors and windows would help as well.
One should always know who is at the door before opening it, Shavack said.
"If a person says they're a utility worker, call that business," he said. "If someone says their car has broken down, don't let them inside. Tell them you'll call 911 for them."
If someone said they are at your home on business, don't ask them for the company's number, because they could provide the phone number of an accomplice. Instead, ask for the company's name and look up the number yourself and call it.
"Do not open that door until you're satisfied completely that they are from where they said they're from," Shavack said.
Shavack recommends some deceptive tactics that could make a potential home invader think there are other people at home, such as putting shoes on a porch, or yelling, "I'll get it," before coming to the door.
People should be aware of whether someone might have tried to follow them home from a store.
No suspicious activity around a home is too trivial to call police about, Shavack said.
"Even if a car is just driving around a development, get a tag number and call us," he said. "It could help us with an investigation down the road. If anyone is lurking around, call us and we'll come out and identify them."
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