Many burglaries could be avoided
Boulder currently averages a reported burglary per day.
On top of 270 reported burglaries so far this year, a burglary occurs on campus about once every three days.
Home Protection Tips from Boulder PD’s Julie Brooks
Make external provisions.
Make sure the porch light works or put motion censors on the lights.
Move trees away from doors and windows. A tree just gives a burglar somewhere to hide while they try to pry open your window
Secure your residence.
Lock the windows.
Don’t leave the door unlocked when your not home or when you’re there.
Boulder Police Department spokeswoman Julie Brooks said 60 percent to 75 percent of these burglaries are not forced entry, which is over 20 percent higher than the state average.
“People leave their doors and windows unlocked. It’s probably like that in most college towns.” Brooks said. “They leave their door unlocked because their roommate forgot a key, or their roommate was coming right home, or they didn’t think they needed to lock the door while they took a nap.”
Russell Williams, a senior architecture major, is a recent victim of burglary.
Williams’ house, located on the 1800 block of Baseline Road, was robbed on Sept. 14 when a burglar got in though an unlocked patio door.
Williams said the burglary occurred while he and his roommates were asleep at home.
“We were all here,” he said. “One of my roommates was up late listening to music, and he noticed that the front door was wide open at 4:00 a.m. I didn’t notice that my Xbox was gone until after I got home from school, about 5:00 p.m.”
CUPD has similar statistics about unlocked doors regarding burglaries on campus. In 2006, there were 103 burglaries and less than half of those were forced entry.
“A fair number of (the burglaries on campus) are crimes of opportunity,” CUPD Cmdr. Brad Wiesley said. “If you lock your doors, there’s a better chance of not getting your things taken. Most people won’t force their way in because they would have a better chance of getting caught.”
Boulder Police statistics show 487 burglaries reported in 2006. Only 38 arrests were made on burglary charges.
Brooks gave several reasons for discrepancies in arrest numbers, but said it can be difficult to catch a burglar.
“Most that we catch are arrested for more than one crime, so one arrest could counter six burglaries,” Brooks said. “It also happens that we will arrest someone years later for a burglary. It is hard though when no one is home and nobody sees anything. That’s why we encourage neighborhood watch programs.”
Even if the burglars are caught, the victim still won’t always get their stolen items back.
Williams, whose Xbox 360, two games and three controllers were stolen, doesn’t expect to get his property back.
“The police said it usually doesn’t get recovered,” Williams said. “My renter’s insurance should get me about half the money back though.”
Brooks said there is one good way to help retrieve stolen items.
“The best way to ensure you’ll get your property back is to register your laptops and bikes, keep record of serial numbers and take photos of valuable objects,” Brooks said
Wiesley said registering laptops is not only a reliable way to help get your laptop back, but can also keep it from getting stolen in the first place.
When a laptop is registered, a visible sticker is placed on the top of the laptop. The sticker is a deterrent in itself, Wiesley said.
“A very small number of registered laptops have been stolen. I think only about two or three have been in the last few years, and we got one or two of those back,” he said.
CUPD encourages registering laptops and attending educational programs about protecting your possessions. 2006 had the lowest number of reported burglaries in the past five years, which could be due to such programs.
Williams and his roommates have been much more cautious since their house was burglarized.
“We made sure that everyone has keys, and we make sure that everything is locked when we’re not there or when we’re going to bed,” he said.
Williams is especially careful with the new X-Box he bought to replace the stolen one.
“I take it to my room with me every night,” Williams said.
Contact Campus Press staff writer Sarah Malouff at firstname.lastname@example.org