Recently in Ladue some homeowners have been victims of burglaries in the areas of Old Warson Road, along south Price Road and south Warson Road. Actually, these have not been out of the ordinary. Ladue had 21 residential burglaries in 2012 the same as 2011. In reality, theft from retail businesses (shoplifting) remains the No. 1 crime in Ladue statistically year in and year out.
Ladue’s police chief Rich Wooten believes an ounce of prevention can be better than a pound of cure. “If a burglar truly wants to break into your home, he’s going to be able to do that.”
Burglars are opportunists
Wooten says home burglars are opportunists. They often evaluate your home based on their observations before ever thinking about breaking in. They evaluate layout, lighting, landscaping, fences, with an eye toward getting in and out without been seen. They almost always want to break in when the homeowners are away (or they believe that to be the case).
Wooten preaches preventing larceny and burglary is a three-legged stool. Those legs are:
"Homeowners cannot have much impact on the criminal’s incentive and attiude to commit crime; However, opportunity is where we can have an impact."
His preventative measures always include utilizing a layered approach. For instance, Ladue residents have stymied some attempted break-ins because of the quick action of loud barking dogs. “Dogs harden the target,” said the chief.
But not everyone can or is willing to have dogs to act as security agents. Some people are allergic to dogs. Dogs can be an additional expense, and many homeowners, away often, don’t want to leave dogs behind who need a lot of care and nurturing.
Staying on offense
The chief, however believes “the best defense is a good offense.”
He urges homeowners to:
- Lock their doors of their homes and their automobiles
- Never leave garage doors open or unlocked
- Be sure newspapers are not accumulating on the front steps (clear signal the homeowner is away)
- Same goes for accumulating excessive mail
- High quality locks and deadbolts on doors
- If you have an alarm system turn it on when away
“If you can’t prevent someone from breaking into your home you can limit the time outsiders spend in your home in two ways.”
- Your alarms delay time and the internal siren or buzzer and
- Who has access to your home. That could be the services of landscapers, professional help, carpet cleaners, plumbers, caterers, painters and the like.
Statistics will bear out that thieves sometimes are familiar with (your) property in advance. Some may have been previous visitors to your home. You may have let a worker use the bathroom, and they quietly unlatched the window to create a point of entry.
Burglars may have surveyed bedrooms in advance to have an idea where cash and jewelry is secretly hidden.
Lockboxes bolted down are good
The chief prefers valuables and money be kept in a lockbox, which is securely bolted down. If a safe is free standing, a burglar will just take it with them.
Oddly, burglars most often prefer homes on busy streets with lots of cars parked outside, to those on large estates, separated by expansive open spaces. “It would be easier to be trapped on a very large piece of property. Getting away can be more difficult,” said Wooten.
Often these days, home burglars are supporting expensive drug habits. They have to continue their stealing sprees to support Heroine and other drug purchases.
Your home becomes an easier target if burglars know that no one is at home, yet valuables may still be left behind. Burglars can see that right through the front windows.
“We have 3,377 homes in Ladue. "Let’s make it as difficult as we can for any burglars,” said the chief.