So far this year, 200 burglaries have been reported in Woodward County and the City of Woodward combined. The majority have been vehicles, but there have been residences and storage units as well.
“The best prevention is to make sure everything is locked. Make sure vehicles are locked, even in the daytime. Make sure your house is locked when you leave, even if it is only briefly. If you do have a storage unit, check it regularly. Keep medications out of sight in your home and do not leave valuables in vehicles,” said Woodward Police Capt. Det. Darren Navratil.
One victim told The News their house was broken into recently and some guns, tools and jewelry were stolen. Also filing cabinets and medications were rummaged.
In the event that a home invasion does occur, video surveillance can provide the evidence needed to help prosecute the intruders. Video surveillance allows you to keep an eye on your home even when you’re not there. If you have a garage, be sure to keep the entry door locked. A locked exterior garage door isn’t enough to prevent a burglar from gaining access to your home.
“A good measure to take is to keep a ledger of the serial numbers of electronics, firearms, bicycles and other valuables. We can keep an eye out for them if they get sold. In addition to serial numbers, photos of valuables help, particularly with jewelry,” Navratil said.
A safety tip from ADT.com is to store all valuable items in a safe or lockbox. If the safe isn’t large and too heavy to move, consider buying a wall-mounted one or bolting it to the floor. In many cases, intruders will simply take the safe with them. Be sure to keep the keys or passcode in a separate, safe location only shared with trusted family members.
“In September, the Woodward Police Department arrested an individual who was burglarizing vehicles at Crystal Beach in broad daylight. Just last week, the Woodward Police Department encountered a juvenile walking on 8th St. trying to open the doors of vehicles. The subject passed by the locked vehicles but entered the one he found unlocked,” Navratil said.
Be sure to befriend your neighbors. Multiple sets of eyes are better than one. Talk to your neighbors about keeping an eye on things when you’re not home. Ask them to call you or the local authorities if they detect any suspicious activity. If you plan to be away for a long period of time, ask your neighbor to collect your mail and newspapers, shovel your walkway, and bring in your garbage cans.
Another helpful tip is, if you are going away for a period of time, only tell your trusted friends and neighbors. Avoid advertising your trip and do not post pictures of your vacation on social media until you return home. Seasoned burglars use this information to target empty houses.
Your home wireless network is a doorway to your personal and financial information. And if you use home automation, it can also make your house vulnerable to a break-in. If your Wi-Fi network is connected to smart home gadgets or your security system, it could give criminals direct access to your home. Renaming and hiding your home network, creating strong passwords and using a virtual private network (VPN) is one of the best ways to secure your internet connection.
Numerous burglary or possible burglary-related felony charges have been filed in Woodward County District Court this year.
Note: Tuesday’s edition will have more tips on preventing burglaries and what to do if you are a victim of a home invasion or burglary.