Sunday, March 25, 2018

Thugs Make House Calls--Lock Your Doors



Home invader Jonathan Perales fatally shot a homeowner early one morning in Universal City, Texas recently. According to Perales' arrest warrant affidavit, Robinson had armed himself with a 9mm Glock after noticing a strange vehicle in his driveway. Robinson opened his bedroom door and immediately confronted Perales who had entered the Robinson home through an unlocked back door. As Robinson yelled "Get out of my house," the men exchanged gunfire. Perales shot Robinson once in the torso and Robinson shot Perales in the arm and upper chest.

Robinson was later pronounced dead at Brook Army Medical Center. Robinson's wife and two of his children who were inside at the time were not injured in the gunfight.

Universal City Police Lt. Steve Mihalski said Perales fled the home after Robinson shot him. Perales got back into his vehicle (which was stolen as well) and tried to leave the neighborhood but got lost. He finally stopped and sought help from a neighbor who flagged down police as they were responding to the Robinson home. Police said Perales still had a pistol on him when they encountered him at the neighbor’s house. Perales was also wearing a single red shoe on his left foot and police found the matching right shoe inside Robinson's kitchen.

One of my students who lives in the neighborhood said videos from several security cameras on homes in the area showed Perales going from house to house and vehicle to vehicle trying doors to see if they were unlocked. My student’s neighbor had video of Perales stealing items from his unlocked pick-up truck. Police investigators said they believed Perales was randomly targeting the area.

This is not an unusual tactic. Recently in Fairfax County, VA there were four burglaries in one week where burglars took garage door openers from unlocked cars, used the openers to get into the garage, and from there into the house via unlocked doors between the house and garage.

So how do you prevent this?

One step is pretty obvious: LOCK YOUR DOORS! I did an Internet search on “burglar unlocked home” and there are dozens of entries describing unlocked homes being burglarized. In many cases, the thieves entered homes that were clearly occupied. One document was particularly eye opening. A Bureau of Justice Statistics study of completed household burglaries from 1994-2011 showed that burglars entered the homes through unlocked doors between 56-64% of the time.*

Get into the habit of checking every exterior door (including the one to the garage) every evening before you go to bed. I do this every night and occasionally discover a door that someone in my household left unlocked.

If you have an alarm, set the alarm. Your alarm only works if it's on. A new student recently relayed a story about her home being burglarized (the reason she was a new student). Her friend picked her up for a short errand and she left her alarm off because she was only going to be gone for a short time. She returned to discover that burglars were literally still in her house when she entered. You paid for an alarm system, why would leave your house without setting it?

Many of us live in neighborhoods we would characterize as safe. I live in a gated community; however, that did not stop thieves from doing the unlocked car routine on my street several months back. A number of my neighbors lost valuables from their unlocked cars including my next door neighbor and neighbor across the street. The thief probably checked my SUV as well and found the doors locked.

According to Bureau of Justice Statistics there were 2,569,980 burglaries completed in the United States during 2016—one approximately every 12 seconds. Based upon previous studies, it is likely that of these 2,569,980 burglaries, thieves found and entered unlocked homes at least 1,541,988 times. Thugs Make House Calls. LOCK YOUR DOORS!

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* Household Burglary; 1994-2011, Jennifer Hardison Walters, M.S.W., Andrew Moore, M.Stat., Marcus Berzofsky, Dr.P.H., RTI International, Lynn Langton, Ph.D., Bureau of Justice Statistics; June 20, 2013; NCJ 241754

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