More than 1.5 million burglaries were committed in the United States in 2016. About 69% of all burglaries are committed in houses and apartments and about 58 percent of all burglaries involved forcible entry through a door or window. Most houses and apartments are protected by simple and ineffective door and window locks. Modern hardware is available for door and window locks which will stop the amateur and slow up the experienced burglar.
There are generally three types of burglars: the professional, the semi-professional and the amateur. Although the average home owner will probably not have to face professional thieves who focus on extremely valuable items, you need to be aware of the semi-professional and amateur burglars.
Residential burglars are often male teenagers who live near your home. They are opportunists who look for easy targets. If the risk of detection is too high, the average burglar will not attempt to enter your home. The first place a criminal goes is the master bedroom for cash and jewelry.
How to Protect Your Home
Overgrown or extremely large trees or shrubs can hide burglary activity, especially around your home entry points. To improve visibility, have them trimmed or moved.
Fences can be as effective part of your security, but they may be a liability in hiding a burglar's privacy. Tall chain linked fences provide security without sacrificing visibility.
Dogs can also be a valuable asset to home owners. Any dog that barks at strangers brings unwanted attention to a thief. Larger dogs can even discourage an intruder from entering your yard or home.
Street lights are another important crime deterrent for your neighborhood. Your personal residence should also be well-lit. Porch lights and motion-sensitive lighting are recommended for most homes.
You do not want to help a burglar break into your home, so watch what you leave in your yard. Be sure to put tools away after you are done. Your own ladders, screwdriver, hammers, or pliers can be used against you.
The average burglar has only two options for entering your residence: doors and windows. For external door frames, opt for solid wood or steel. Hinges should be positioned on the inside of the door so that a thief with screwdriver will be unable to remove the entire door. Dead bolt locks are a necessary investment. Sliding glass doors are a common entry point. For maximum security, use vertical bolts. Also, place a solid wood rod on the inside track to hold the door closed.
Garage doors are another frequent entry point. The door that connects your garage to your home should have solid wood or solid core construction. Secure it with a deadbolt lock. Don't rely on the electric garage door opener as your security measure. When you are leaving, take a few seconds to watch the door close completely.
Back doors are a popular target because they are offer concealment from the street and owners leave them unlocked. It's important to keep your door well-lit and install a deadbolt. These doors should have a solid core as well.
All ground windows should have key-operated sash locks. Keep your windows closed and locked when you are away. Screen and storm windows should be securely fastened to the structure.
Upper windows should be secured and locked. Keep your second floor secured by trimming tree branches away from the house to prevent climbing, and do not store ladders where burglars can use them.
When you move into a new house, apartment or condominium, change all of the locks immediately. Since keys have a tendency to multiply, you don't know who will have access to your home.
Talk to your neighbors about your concerns about burglary. Ask them to report any suspicious persons or activities around your home to your local law enforcement agency. Alarms on doors and windows are the surest way to detect a burglar, but watchful neighbors alert to unusual activity who will notify law enforcement authorities are an effective means of detection as well.
Vacationers provide burglars with plenty of time to enter their home, remove large items, and search leisurely for hidden valuables. If you are planning a vacation, take precautions to protect your home. The key is to create an illusion of everyday activity. Ask the police to check your home and patrol your neighborhood while you are away. Stop the mail and newspaper deliveries, or have your neighbor collect them while you are away. Secure all doors and windows, pet entrances and garage doors. Transfer all valuables to a safe deposit box. Place a timer on indoor and outdoor lamps to illuminate your home at night, and make sure that no bulbs are burned out. Have a trusted friend or neighbor check your home each day. Never indicate on your phone answering machine that you are on vacation.
If you want advice or assistance for your home or your neighborhood, contact the Yakima Police Department. You don't have to be one of the more than 1.5 million residential burglary victims and neither do your neighbors. Remember, crime prevention begins at home.
Drug Use and Gang Activity
NEED ANSWERS? Below you will find information on Signs of Drug Use and Gang Activity
Signs of Drug Use
Methamphetamines: "Wired," sleeplessness for days and weeks at a time, total loss of appetite, extreme weight loss, dilated pupils, excited, talkative, deluded sense of power, paranoia, depression, loss of control, nervousness, unusual sweating, shaking, anxiety, hallucinations, aggression, violence, dizziness, mood changes, blurred vision, mental confusion, agitation.
Cocaine: Impaired thinking, confused, anxious, depressed, short tempered, panic attacks, suspiciousness, dilated pupils, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, decreased sexual drive, restlessness, irritability, very talkative, scratching, hallucinations, paranoia.
LSD (Acid): Dilated pupils, skin discoloration, loss of coordination, false sense of power, euphoria, distortion of time and space, hallucinations, confusion, paranoia, nausea, vomiting, loss of control, anxiety, panic, helplessness, and self destructive behavior.
PCP: Sometimes violent or bizarre behavior, suicide has often occurred, paranoia, fearfulness, anxiety, aggressive or withdrawn, skin flushing, sweating, dizziness, total numbness, and impaired perceptions.
Inhalants: Short-lasting euphoria, giggling, silliness, dizziness. Then come the headaches and full-blown "faintings" or going unconscious. Long-term Use: Short-term memory loss, emotional instability, impairment of reasoning, slurred speech, clumsy staggering gait, eye flutter, tremors, hearing loss, loss of sense of smell, and escalating stages of brain atrophy. Sometimes these serious long-term effects are reversible with body detoxification and nutritional therapy; sometimes the brain damage is irreversible or only partially reversible.
Heroin: Chemically enforced euphoria. "Nodding," which is a dreamlike state in which one drifts off for minutes or hours. For long time abusers, heroin may act like a stimulant and they can do a normal daily routine. However, for others, it leaves them completely powerless to do anything.
Marijuana: Compulsive eating, bloodshot red eyes that are squinty (they may have trouble keeping them open), dry mouth, excessive and uncontrollable laughter, forgetfulness, short term memory loss, extreme lethargy, delayed motor skills, occasional paranoia, hallucinations, laziness, lack of motivation, stupidity, sickly sweet smell on body, hair, and clothes, and strong mood changes and behaviors when the person is "high".
Depressants (Tranquilizers and Barbituates): Decreased inhibition, slowed motor coordination, lethargy, relaxed muscles, staggering gait, poor judgment, slow, uncertain reflexes, disorientation, and slurred speech.
What is a Gang?
A gang is defined as an organization, association or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, which has a common name and/or common identifying signs or symbols, whose members individually and/or collectively engage in criminal activity.
Why Do Kids Join Gangs?
- Identity through recognition
- Perception of belonging
- Peer pressure
- Protection (real or perceived)
- Lack of family life
- Family ties to gangs (it is expected or acceptable to join a gang)
- Brotherhood/interpersonal bonding
- Low self-esteem
How Do Gangs Recruit Members?
Gangs influence youths into joining by using the following methods:
- Peer pressure, offers protection
- Monetary enticements
- Challenging kids to take risks
- Invitations to parties where gang-related activities are occurring
- Family members already belong
- Affection and attention shown to the youths by gang members that may not be given at home
What Are The Consequences of Gang Involvement?
Short Term Consequences
- In trouble with law enforcement
- Drop in performance at school
- Withdrawal from family
- Drug and alcohol involvement
- “Dirty work” for the gang, earning their “bones” or “stripes”
Long Term Consequences
- Loss of opportunities for education/employment due to criminal record
- Time spent in jail or prison
- Possibility of losing family or friends
- Risk of personal injury or death
- Risk of family members’ lives
- Increased risk of violence in criminal activity
What Are Signs of a Gang in My Neighborhood?
Youths hanging out
Increase in crime- Gang-related acts such as burglary, vandalism and assaults.
How Can Neighbors Help?
You and your neighbors can work to eliminate gangs and drugs from your community and neighborhoods. They key is organization:
1) Get to know the neighbors on your block.
2) Contact your local law enforcement agency for advice and assistance for organization tips.
3) Contact Crime Stoppers
What Are Signs of Gang Involvement?
Changes in attitude or behavior
Openly admits gang affiliation
Showing colors (bandanas, t-shirts, jackets, shoes, ball caps)
Association with known gang members
Unwillingness to discuss their activities
Loss of family interest
Reluctance to be seen with other family members
Unexplained injuries (cuts and bruises)
Trouble with law enforcement or at school
Has unexplained cash or goods (clothing, jewelry, electronics)
Tattoos or graffiti-style writing on clothing or books
Disregard for persons or property
Exhibiting signs of alcohol and drug use
How Can Parents Intervene?
- Spend quality time with your child.
- Encourage your child to become involved in athletics or other group activities that have adult supervision.
- Set reasonable rules and enforce them consistently.
- Demonstrate how to set goals.
- Monitor and support child’s progress.
- Teach social skills that enhance self-esteem and how to cope with peer pressure.
- Educate the teen or child about the dangers of gang involvement.
- Provide strong religious background.
- Keep an open line of communication with your child.
- Know your child’s friends and where they hang out.
- Keep track of your child’s work at school.
- Teens and children need to be involved with positive activities without a lot of leisure time.
- Keep them involved in after-school activities, athletics or a job along with family time.