Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Tip of the Week: Preventing Buglaries (Again)

I had talked about the couple on Warwick who had been robbed four times this year and the complete lack of response that they've received from the Detroit Police Department. This, of course, is the incident that prompted me to start the Tip of the Week series. If we can't count on the police to do, well, anything then at least we should talk about what we can do for ourselves.

This couple typifies a growing problem within the Warrendale neighborhood and many of Detroit's other neighborhoods. There are so many vacant homes in the area because of the mortgage crisis that many neighborhoods have become an almost ideal hunting grounds for criminals. There are still people who have stuff worth stealing. However, because they don't have neighbors anymore who might call the police or otherwise interfere, those criminals can steal stuff in broad daylight with any concern.

One of the things that we discussed at the Warrendale Community Organization meeting last night was: What are some of the things that ordinary people can do to minimize these things?

There were two suggestions brought forward that I want to share with everyone as a special bonus Tip of the Week.

First, since criminals rely on vacant homes for cover, it was suggested that anything that can be done to make a vacant home look lived in is a very good idea. Pick up the mail. Park your car in a vacant driveway. Anything.

Second, since these criminals rely on the homeowner not being home when they break in, it was also suggested that folks who live near a vacant home - and that's a lot of us - change their schedule as often as possible. If criminals have to wonder whether or not the homeowner is likely to return at any moment, they're more likely to move on to another location.

With one job schedule, this is always a challenge. However, even the smallest change that you can make will help to keep criminals off-balance and less likely to strike.

If anyone else has any other ideas, please feel free to share them. You're welcome to leave a note in the comments section of this blog.

1 comment:

Spydre said...

Worse than the break-ins, a number of properties on my street (Vaughan) are now being set on fire. Around 4 am in the morning seems to be when the fires are most likely to occur.

Just those nearest my residence and their current status are:

6811 Vaughan: Was set on fire twice on subsequent days in early November causing thousands of dollars of damage to our home. The Detroit Fire Dept. arrived and extinguished both fires. It is currently sitting vacant and sealed with a large purple trash dumpster left in the drive since the fire.

6810 Vaughan: Caught fire, residents moved out, caught fire a second time, and was then boarded up. Broken into by vandals and has sat open and vacant for over a year. Was reported to “311” as #08155908. A car was set on fire in its drive early on the morning of 1/3/09. The Detroit Fire Dept. extinguished the car fire. The next day a flatbed tow truck arrived and removed the burned car. The house still sits open and vacant.

6802 Vaughan: house immediately south of 6810. Was broken into by vandals and has sat open and vacant for over a year. Was reported to “311” as #08155909. On about December 27th or 28th the property was set on fire by arsonists. The Detroit Fire Dept. extinguished the fire. The property has been boarded shut.

6808(?) Vaughan: the house sitting just north of 6810. Is vacant and has been broken into and vandalized. On Dec 27th or 28it was set on fire at the same time as 6802 and was extinguished by the Detroit Fire Dept. The house still sits vacant and open.

6789(?) Vaughan: Property due south of 6803. Was set on fire1/14/09 around 4 a.m. The residents happened not to be at home at the time; on 1/15/09 it was set on fire again. The Detroit Fire Dept. extinguished both fires.