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COPPS: Home security safety tips

Submitted by on 1, February 11, 2011 – 12:00 amNo Comment

By Detective Craig Vreeland

Recently, there has been a sharp increase in residential burglaries throughout the City of Alameda. Since July 2010, we have investigated over 150 reported burglaries at the Alameda Police Department, most of which occurred during daytime hours. The typical points of entry were unlocked sliding glass doors and windows, but “doggie doors” were also a common point of entry, indicating that some of the suspects had a very small stature. From these facts, it is apparent that a friendly reminder is in order for residents to stay vigilant and not become complacent about home security.

Please don’t be lulled into thinking that because of the relatively low crime rate in Alameda, it is okay to leave doors and windows open or unlocked. Safeguard your family and property by taking a few extra moments before you leave your residence to ensure all your windows and doors are closed and locked. By doing this, you take away the criminal’s opportunity and reduce your chances of becoming a victim.

The following is a list of questions that are contained in a security survey pamphlet that is available to the public at the Alameda Police Department. Every time you answer “No” to a question, it points out a possible weakness in the security of your home. As you eliminate the “No” answers, you improve your security.


• Do you keep a list and photograph of all valuable property with their serial numbers?
• Do you have a list of serial numbers for your watches, cameras, stereo, and other similar items? Are they marked with your driver’s license number?
• Do you keep excess cash and other valuables in a safety deposit box?
• Do you plan so that you do not need to “hide” a key under the doormat or similar area?
• Have you told your family what to do if they discover a burglar breaking into your house?
• Have you told your family to leave the house undisturbed and call the police if they discover a burglary has been committed?
• Are your trees and shrubs trimmed to eliminate hiding places?
• Are motion sensing lights installed around the perimeter of your house?
• Is the address of your house easily visible from the street during all hours of the day and night?
• Do you leave vacation plans or emergency phone numbers with a trusted neighbor or friend?
• Do you leave a porch light on all night?
• Do you have an alarm installed and in proper working order?
• Do you go through the same routine when securing your home each night or when leaving to insure all doors and windows are locked?
• Do you secure your “doggie doors” so no one can crawl through?


• Are your exterior doors of solid core construction?
• Do entry doors have a wide-angle peephole viewer?
• Do exterior doors have cylinder type deadbolt locks with at least one-inch throw and in good repair?
• Do doors without cylinder locks have a heavy bolt or a similar device that can only be locked from the inside?
• Are your door strike plates installed with three-inch screws?
• Do you know everyone that has a key to your house?
• Do sliding doors have an auxiliary lock that locks both the door panels together?
• Is the garage door secured with a padlock, hasp or other good auxiliary lock?
• Do you lock your car and take the keys out even when it is parked in the garage?


• Are all windows equipped with auxiliary locking device?
• Are your window locks properly and securely mounted?
• Do you keep your windows locked when they are closed?
• Do you use a device that allows you to lock a partially opened window?

NO HOME IS COMPLETELY BURGLAR-PROOF. Experience has shown that you can substantially reduce your chances of being burglarized by reducing easy opportunities. If you notice suspicious activity around your neighborhood such as unfamiliar vehicles or people, please call the Alameda Police Department at 337-8311. Remember, you the citizens are our eyes and ears. With your help we can put a dent in the number of burglaries in Alameda.

For more information on setting up a Neighborhood Watch program or scheduling a home security survey, call the Alameda Police Department’s C.O.P.P.S. Unit at 337-8305.

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