Burglary Prevention Tips

Burglary Prevention

A familiar refrain to prevent residential burglaries is See Something, Say Something. If you see something suspicious, you should contact the Sheriff’s Department at 310-539-1661 or 9-1-1 in an emergency. But how do you know if something is suspicious?

Know your neighborhood and know what is out of place. Burglars may not fit a profile – they could be driving an unmarked van or a luxury car. Make a note of any unidentified vehicles on your street and record what you observe, such as color, make, model, and license plate number. Report this information to the Sheriff’s Department.

Potential burglars may appear to be a sales representative or a utility worker and they may knock on doors to see if anyone is home. Make a note of their location and physical description and report this information to the Sheriff’s Department.

Other potentially suspicious activities include:

  • Someone walking down the street looking into multiple vehicles and/or trying door handles to see if the door will open.
  • Someone taking a package from someone else’s property.
  • A stranger walking around your neighbor’s home and looking into windows or trying to gain access by forcing open a window or door.
  • A person knocking on your door and asking to speak with someone who does not live there.
  • Someone claiming to represent a utility company who is either not wearing a uniform, does not produce identification upon request, or does not have a company vehicle.  Or someone claiming to be a salesperson who does not produce identification.
  • A vehicle you do not recognize that is circling multiple times around the neighborhood.
  • Feeling you are being followed when walking home or to a neighbor’s home, even if you cross the street and back again and the person crosses along with you.

Prevention Tips

  • Make your home look occupied and make it difficult to break in.  Lock all doors and windows and turn on exterior lights or set them on a timer if you will be away.
  • Make sure your garage door and side gates are closed and locked.
  • Cancel deliveries while you are on vacation or ask a friend or neighbor to take them in regularly. Avoid leaving mail or packages outside for an extended period of time.
  • Lawn mowers, barbecues and bicycles are best stored out of sight.
  • Never leave notes on your door such as “Gone shopping.”
  • Change locks immediately if your keys are lost or stolen. When moving into a new home, have all locks changed.  Ask a locksmith for advice on the best locks for your situation.
  • Have adequate exterior lighting and trim trees and shrubs so they cannot be used as hiding places for intruders.
  • Use a dowel or pin to enhance window security.
  • An alarm system is excellent for home security. If you have an alarm system, make sure you activate it.
  • Never leave keys under doormats or other “secret” hiding places – burglars know where to look for hidden keys. Instead, give spare keys to a trusted neighbor.
  • Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and original value, and serial numbers, and keep a copy in a safe place away from your home – this is also a good precaution in the event of a fire or other disaster.
  • Join RPV Neighborhood Watch and work with your neighbors to report suspicious activity.

How to Report a Burglary

If you find an unexplained open/broken window or door, do not enter – the perpetrator may still be inside.  Call the Sheriff’s Department at 310-539-1661 or 9-1-1. Be prepared to give your specific location and share any details that are out of place.

If you notice suspicious activity, make a note of any descriptors and report it to the Sheriff's Department first at 310-539-1661. After you have reported your concerns, share the information with your neighbors so they are aware of the suspicious activity too. Social media sites like Nextdoor and networks like the RPV Neighborhood Watch are very valuable for sharing this kind of information. Be aware that the Sheriff's Department does not regularly monitor social media sites like Nextdoor – report your concerns directly to the Sheriff's Department so it has a timely record of all necessary information.