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  • Sheriff Jeff Easter

    Jeff Easter
    Sheriff

    p. 316.660.3900
    EMERGENCY 9-1-1

    141 W Elm
    Wichita, KS 67203

Combating Burglaries in Sedgwick County

For those individuals who have been the unfortunate victims of burglary, they would probably agree that the knowledge that a stranger had rummaged through their belongings and their home is unsettling to say the least. For victims of burglary, not only is the fact that someone has violated their privacy an issue, but it is also a major inconvenience for them to contact their insurance companies, to replace their stolen goods, and to replace or repair damaged property. There are a number of crime prevention techniques that citizens can utilize to help protect their property and vehicles from being burglarized. Some of the following are listed below.

Burglary is a major crime issue in the United States. In 2012, the FBI reports that there were 2,103,787 burglaries nationwide. This is a  decrease by 3.7% compared to the 2011 national statistics1.  It is very common for burglars to focus their criminal activities to a particular area of the county before moving on to the next area. Burglars most often “case” these areas prior to committing the actual burglary and are looking for specific things at potential target residences or properties. Burglars are often looking for circumstances such as: open garage doors, open sheds or outbuildings, houses that have very little visibility from the roadway, and unlocked vehicles or farm equipment. These are a just a few of the possible examples because each burglar has his or her own set of circumstances that they are looking for.

Here are some tips that are recommended for helping to safeguard your property against burglary:

  1. Leave your garage door and outbuilding doors closed at all times. This includes even when you’re at home.

  2. Always chain up your bicycles, scooters, and lawn mowers.

  3. Do whatever you can to increase the visibility to your property such as increasing lighting and cutting back overgrown trees or bushes.

  4. Install 1” case hardened steel deadbolt locks on all exterior doors.1

  5. Whenever possible, try to leave a vehicle parked in the driveway even when there is no one home. Remember to leave no valuables in the car and lock the doors.

  6. Get to know your neighbors well so that you can help each other by calling 911 if a suspicious character is on either your or their property.

  7. Consider installing an alarm system. Some insurance companies will offer up to a 20% discount on your home owner’s policy if you have an alarm system in place.

  8. Call 911 if you see suspicious characters in your neighborhood. This is especially true if you live in a rural area of the county. Burglars are most often caught by citizens calling 911 for a suspicious character. There are ways to tell the difference between solicitors and burglars.

    1. Solicitors will generally go to every house on the street and will look for houses that appear occupied.

    2. Burglars will skip several houses or look for houses that appear to be unoccupied.

    3. Solicitors want to contact as many people as possible,.

    4. Burglars and thieves generally want to avoid people.

  9. Keep valuables, guns, and important documents locked up in a safe inside your house in order to make it much more difficult for a burglar to remove these items from your home.

The above are just a few of the crime prevention techniques that home owners may want to consider. It is highly recommended that home owners in Sedgwick County also read the articles on the website entitled “CPTED” and “Neighborhood Watch programs.” The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office Community Liaison Unit offers home and business owners the opportunity to have a deputy come out to their homes and/or businesses and provide advice on things that could be done to make homes and businesses safer and less prone to burglaries and thefts.

It was previously mentioned that citizens and business owners are also encouraged to contact 911 in the event that they see a suspicious character around their home or workplace. This is important, especially in very rural areas, because often these suspicious characters have no justifiable reason to be there and may be conducting criminal activities. At the very least, when contact with these individuals is made, deputies can at least document the situation so if burglaries or thefts, etc. increase in the area, the suspicious characters can possibly be considered as suspects. Whenever possible, citizens should try to attempt to obtain vehicle descriptions, vehicle tag information, direction of travel, and suspect information such as clothing descriptions and detailed descriptions of the suspects themselves. Citizens should NOT put themselves in harm’s way in order to obtain this information. It is not recommended that citizens try to contact these individuals themselves.

It is also recommended that home and business owners consider filling out a Property Inventory Sheet which would allow them to catalog all of the pertinent identifying information on their valuable items. Having serial numbers, VINs, and other identifying information in an accessible place is extremely helpful to law enforcement officers in the event that a burglary or theft does occur. Insurance companies often request a copy of property inventory sheets as well.

In conclusion, while burglaries will probably never be completely eradicated, there are things that can be done to decrease a home owner’s chance of becoming a victim. In the event that a burglary or theft does occur at your residence, there are also things that you can do to help law enforcement officers accurately document the situation and investigate the crime itself. The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office encourages you to contact us if you have any questions about what you can do to protect your property or yourself. We’d be happy to help!

We, at the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, are dedicated to helping citizens combat crime in their neighborhoods.  But we need your help!  By utilizing crime prevention techniques around your home, work place, and vehicles, you can decrease your chances of becoming a victim!  If you have any questions about what you could do to help protect yourself and your property, please call either your Community Liaison Unit at (316) 660-3920 or your Community Policing Unit at (316) 660-0750. 

Disclaimer: The information provided in this document is not intended to be legal advice, but is merely intended to convey general information commonly encountered when dealing with the Subjects discussed herein. Because laws can change very rapidly, we cannot guarantee that any

Information on this document (or references contained therein) is current or accurate.  Additionally, laws differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and are subject to interpretation of courts located in each county. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case and the information provided herein may not be an appropriate fit for your particular situation. The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, its employees, agents, or others will not be liable or responsible for any claim, loss, injury, liability, or damages related to use of this document or any reference provided herein.

Resources

Property Inventory Pamphlet

Property Inventory Sheet (pdf)

Property Inventory Sheet (Excel)

Property Inventory Sheet Example


References

1http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/property-crime/burglary

Date Written:  00/02/2009
Date Reviewed:  12/03/2013

Written by:  Deputy C. Fischer D1639
Reviewed by: J. Page D1642


Sedgwick County...working for you

Mission: To assure quality public services that provide for the present and future well-being of the citizens of Sedgwick County.