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What is burglary?
Burglary is the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or a theft. A person can be convicted of burglary even if nothing was actually stolen.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Get an Alarm
Homes without security systems are two to three times more likely to be broken into.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Every 15 Seconds
A burglary occurs approximately every 15 seconds in the United States.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Southeast
Almost half of the nation's reported burglaries occur in the South: 45 percent, as opposed to the Northeast's 11, the Midwest's 20 and the West's 24.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Who do I look for?
Arrest records reported to the FBI indicate that approximately 70 percent of all burglary arrestees are white and 86 percent are male.
 
 
 
Burglaries constitute the largest and most rapidly increasing law enforcement problem in Columbus. Thus, the Columbus Police Department has created this web page to provide residents with some basic home security techniques that can significantly reduce the risk of home invasion.

Most of the residential burglaries are committed not by professional criminals, but rather by casual criminals who take advantage of situations created by carelessness or oversight on the part of residents.

While there is no simple or sure solution to the problem of home burglaries, it is possible to make the burglar's task more difficult, and in some cases to discourage the burglar altogether.


Doors
  • Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed.
  • Make sure every external door has a sturdy, well-installed deadbolt lock with a minimum of 1 1/2" throw.
  • Make sure all doors are metal or solid, 1 3/4" hardwood. They should fit tightly in their frames and the hinge pins should be on the inside.
  • If you have just moved into a new house or apartment, have the locks changed.
  • Change locks immediately if your keys are lost or stolen.
  • Install a peephole or wide-angle viewer in all entry doors so you can see who is at the door without opening it.
  • Keep the garage door closed so no one will know whether there is a vehicle in there or not.
  • Secure sliding glass doors with commercially available locks. Supplement that with a broom handle or stick wedged in the track to keep anyone from prying the door open.
Windows
  • Put lights and a radio on timers to create the illusion someone is home. Leave shades, blinds and curtains in normal positions.
  • Secure double-hung windows using key locks or by sliding a bold or nail drilled at a downward angle in the top corners of the inside sash and partway through the outside sash. The hole should be large enough so the nail or screw slides out freely in case of an emergency.
  • Don't install bars on the windows. Adding bars to windows makes it very difficult to get out in case of a fire.
Yard
  • Keep your yard well maintained. Store ladders and tools in a locked area when not using them.
  • Keep gate entrances padlocked. The best padlocks to use are casehardened steel with at least a 9/32" shackle. Other useful features include a double locking mechanism...heel and toe, a five-pin tumbler and a retaining feature that prevents your removing the key until the padlock has been locked. Also, remember that the padlock is only as secure as the hasp. The hasp should also be made of hardened steel, mounted with the heaviest bolts and screws.
  • Have adequate exterior lighting. A motion-sensitive light is recommended for backyards.
  • Plant shrubbery around windows, this will make getting to a window more difficult from the outside of the house. If you live in a two-story house, cut off tree limbs that could help a thief climb into the house through an open window.
Mailbox
  • Don't hide keys in mailboxes, planters or under doormats. These are the first places burglars look. If you have a trusted neighbor, give them a key.
  • Don't allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or flyers to build up while you are away. This is a sign to burglars that no one is home and on one is watching the house. Make arrangements with the Post Office to hold your mail, or make arrangements for a friend or neighbor to take them regularly.
Other Household Tips
  • Homes without a home-security/alarm system have a significantly higher break-in rate, so invest in an alarm system to protect your home. There are two main types of security systems available: a local alarm (makes only noise, up to 200 decibels) and a monitored system (may make some noise, but is monitored at a centralized location). Make sure that it will sound off whenever a door is forced open and when a window is broken or opened without a password entry.
  • Develop a rapport with your neighbors. In today's society, we often do not talk to our neighbors, but they are essential to good home security. They can keep on eye on your house when you are away.
  • Clearly display your house number so police and other emergency vehicles can find your home quickly. This is required by city ordinance.
  • Keep the windows of a shed building covered with a curtain or blinds. This will keep people from being able to see what you have inside your shed.
  • Maintain an inventory of all valuables, including serial numbers. Take photos or videos of them. The Community Relations Unit has engravers available to inscribe identifying information on valuables. To barrow an engraver contact the Community Relations Unit at (706) 653-3173.
  • If you return home and think your home has been entered, don't go in. Call the Columbus Police (911 or (706) 653-3000) from a cell phone, a neighbor's home or public telephone.