What is faster than the six seconds it takes to retweet the selfie of Ellen surrounded by superstars at the Oscars? It’s probably not what you think.
Believe it or not, that’s all the time it takes for a thief to break in to your garage via your electric garage door, and all they need is a wire hangar and a criminal mind.
Last Sunday, Andi Querry, Crime Prevention Specialist with the Newport Beach Police Department, was our in-studio guest at KOCI during “Sunday Brunch with Tom and Lynn.” The information she shared hit home. She stated that garage break-ins are a particular problem around town, yet it’s one of the most preventable.
I know the feeling. A few years ago, thieves broke in to our garage in the middle of the night and to say it was upsetting is an understatement.
Not only did they make off with our personal property, the door from the garage to the kitchen was unlocked at the time, it sends chills up my spine to this day. Needless to say, we’ve joined our neighbors in installing cameras, security systems and other crime deterrents, and I am almost obsessive about locking doors and windows.
Querry acknowledged, “It’s a bummer that these steps are necessary, but the fact is, they are.”
When it comes to securing electronic garage door openers, all it takes is a zip tie through the emergency release mechanism (usually a piece of rope with a red plastic knob) which is what thieves pull on with the hangar.
As soon as they feel the tension, all it takes is a swift yank of the hangar and the emergency lock is disengaged and they can easily enter the garage.
By using a zip tie through that mechanism, thieves are unable to get in. In the case of an emergency, it is as simple as pulling on the release rope with your full weight and the zip tie breaks free.
Querry said it’s one of the least expensive, simplest ways to create a deterrent. Making sure the exterior of your home is well lit is also very effective she says. However she did point out that you should not leave exterior lights on 24/7 as this is an obvious sign you are out of town.
The best thing to do is put lighting inside and out on a timer or motion sensor and call the NB police non-emergency line to have a vacation check when you are out of town.
“My number one challenge in helping people to prevent crime is getting them to lock their home and car doors and windows. The majority of theft around our community occurs in homes or cars that have not been secured. It’s such a simple deterrent, yet because we live in a seemingly crime free community, thieves prey on our trust,” said Querry.
Another point she made was the importance of neighbors looking out for each other.
“If you see a person who looks suspicious or is acting in a way that is concerning, the best thing to do is call the police and have them come and check things out. ‘See something-say something’ doesn’t just apply to national security, it applies to our neighborhoods as well.”
Signing up to receive local police alerts and other notifications from other public agencies via nixle.com is also something she highly recommends.
The good news is that there are a variety of proactive resources available for residents and business owners provided by the Newport Beach Police Department such as scheduling a home security inspection and requesting vacation checks.
Querry is also available to speak to community organizations about crime prevention and can be reached by calling (949) 644-3699.
Visit nbpd.com to access a plethora of valuable information and services so that together we can all keep Newport safe and secure.
Lynn Selich can be heard Sunday’s at 11AM on KOCI 101.5FM. Reach her at [email protected]