UPTON, Mass. – Upton police are warning residents of an increase in daytime residential house breaks and offering tips on how to avoid being a victim.
“These house breaks, like many in surrounding towns, have occurred during the daytime hours when residents are away from their homes,’’ Police Chief Michael Bradley Jr. said.
Residents should contact the police department through the 911 emergency line and report any suspicious vehicles or persons in the neighborhood, he said.
Tips to avoid being a victim:
- Give the appearance that someone is always home: More break-ins occur during the day, when burglars assume people are at work. If a burglar thinks someone is at home, it lessens the chance of a break in. Leave lights on. Keep a radio or television on as well. Don’t allow newspaper or mail delivery to build up; if you’re away on vacation, have the post office hold your mail or arrange for a neighbor, friend or family member to pick it up daily from your home.
- Invest in locks: Install heavy-duty, key-in deadbolts on all exterior doors; pushbutton locks are too easy for burglars to open. Change locks whenever you move into a new residence or if your keys are lost or stolen.
- Invest in doors: Forced entry most often occurs when a burglar kicks in a door. Install solid core or metal doors on entrances. One of the weakest points on a door is the lock strike plate; install a heavy-duty strike plate.
- Secure windows: Keep windows locked. An open window is enticing to burglars. For horizontal sliding windows, insert a wooden dowel into the track. Keep windows open no more than 4 to 6 inches for ventilation.
- Hide valuables: Thieves usually go directly to the master bedroom. They’ll grab your pillowcase and stuff it with your jewelry and anything else of value. They want to get in and out quickly, so they often don’t go through other rooms after they hit the master bedroom and bathrooms. Therefore, if you hide your valuables in other parts of the house, you’ll likely cut your losses. Be creative with hiding places.
- Set your alarm: Many people don’t set the alarm on their home security systems because they forget or it is a hassle. But setting the alarm is one top way to deter a thief. If forgetfulness is the issue, set something beside the alarm that you take with you every day, such as keys, as a reminder to set the alarm on your way out the door.
- Install cameras: The front and back doors are the most likely points of entry. Install a video surveillance system with cameras at these points to deter thieves, as well as to give you a view of an intruder. Some cameras connect to your computer for monitoring, and they can also connect to your smart phone.
- Increase lighting: Place exterior lights out of reach so burglars can’t access them easily and unscrew the bulbs. Install motion sensors on exterior lights. Use a light timer inside the home to keep lights on when it gets dark, even if you aren’t home.
- Decrease landscaping: Use minimal landscaping or keep trees and shrubs well- trimmed. Remove tree limbs near windows that could allow someone to gain access to the home. Plant thorny bushes and shrubs under windows to deter thieves. Choose picket or chain-link fencing; privacy fencing provides too much cover for a burglar as he’s breaking into your home.
Bradley encourages residents with questions or concerns to call the police department.