If your house pet is a cross between an angry chihuahua on parole and a grizzly with an abscessed tooth, you may have no need to install a modern home security system.
Short of that, however, the Newport Beach Police Department recommends all homeowners consider employing a “layered” alarm system that uses a variety of tools, such as lighting, locks, technology, and even landscaping, to make residences more difficult targets for burglars.
With the holiday season approaching, it’s a good time to think about home security, suggests Police Crime Prevention Specialist Sara Verschueren. Many folks travel during this time of year, or just spend more time away from home for holiday functions, she said, so “empty homes” present attractive opportunities for burglars.
Uniquely, because of Covid-19 shutdowns, Newport Beach experienced exceptionally low crime numbers in 2020, Verschueren apprised, but as life and businesses opened up in 2021, “residential burglaries started to pick up, again.”
So far for 2021, burglaries in the city have decreased by about 23 percent when compared to the average of what was reported over the same time period the past five years.
“There have been about 100 burglaries, and around 10 attempted burglaries, citywide in the first 10 months of the year,” Verschueren noted. The PD’s home security expert shared that “In many instances, homes that were burglarized could have added more security layers – such as interior motion detectors.”
On the most fundamental security level, homeowners should install good locks on all points of entry – hinged doors, sliding doors and windows – as well as good indoor and exterior lighting for the rear and sides of the home, Verschueren advised.
Front door lights should feature photo cells that activate and deactivate at dark and daylight. External lighting can be motion activated. When residents are away, interior light timers provide that “at home” feel.
If they gain entry, most seasoned burglars generally will head straight to the master bedroom, where it’s known that most residents keep their jewelry, cash, high-end handbags and other possessions of perceived worth.
Time permitting, they’ll also hit the other bedrooms and home office. Since Newport’s average response time upon receiving an alarm is considered fast by industry standards, burglars tend to act quickly.
In 2020, the Newport Beach Police Department received 4,005 audible burglary alarm calls, which resulted in 2,990 dispatched calls for service in seven minutes and three seconds. However, with “Priority 2” (burglaries in progress) calls in 2020, response time was four minutes, 51 seconds.
NBPD has prepared a free Home Security Check List that details the lock and lighting layers one can employ to thwart any attempted burglary. It highlights “Points to Remember,” some of which include: Always lock all doors and windows, and set the alarm, even when leaving for a short walk; Never hide a key under the front door mat; and if you spot a broken window or door ajar, do not enter, call 9-1-1.
A Home Security Check List can be obtained by calling the Crime Prevention Office at (949) 644-3699, or by emailing [email protected].