June 5, 2016 Experienced police officers unanimously agree that a large percentage of crime victims opened the metaphorical door for the criminal, and unwittingly created the opportunity, themselves. While no procedures can guarantee complete safety and freedom from crime, the practicing of some basic measures of vigilance can prevent many common property crimes. While many of these concepts seem to be elementary and obvious, they are often ignored on an ad hoc basis, thereby creating a security breach by one who usually knows better. It is the faithful and consistent application of safe practices that allows us to protect ourselves and our property from victimization. Car Security Always lock car doors, no matter how brief the period in which it will be unattended. Open doors invite criminal opportunists to rummage through compartments, while locked doors will thwart the casual vehicle prowler. Many victims of vehicle prowling in the second degree express frustration in that the vehicle was left unattended only for a minute or two. Also, even upon locking doors, never leave any valuables within view. Lock valuables in the trunk or compartments within the vehicle. Even so much as loose change will induce a desperate criminal to break windows and enter with intent to steal. Also, never leave a running car unattended. If not theft, it can lead to a ticket with fines. Keep Door to Homes Locked Even in the sleepiest of neighborhoods, doors and windows should be kept locked to keep out dangerous criminals. If a cool breeze is desirable on a hot day, devices are available at hardware outlets that allow windows to be opened enough to create air flow, but prevent them from being opened to the point at which they would facilitate entry of a burglar. History teaches us lessons. One such lesson is contained within an infamous incident that occurred in the spring of 1988 in the relatively crime-free Chicago suburb of Winnetka, IL. A mentally disturbed woman named Laurie Dann entered an unlocked door to a home and killed an occupant at the tail end of a crime spree. This tragedy could have been prevented simply by keeping the front door locked. A recurring crime pattern is one in which a desperate criminal evades police and enters a home in an attempt to hide or take hostages as leverage to escape. Small measures of prevention can prevent massive amounts of harm. Maintain Alarm Systems and Appropriate Insurance Policies Like locked doors, alarm systems can help to repel unauthorized entry into homes. In the case of a persistent criminal, they alert occupants of the danger and thereby provide an opportunity to prepare a defense against such entry and resultant attack. Ensuring that insurance policies cover all valuables within a home can protect financial loss associated with burglaries. Insured parties should consult with insurance professionals to ensure not only that sufficient levels of recovery are available, but also that certain classifications of property covered do not exceed predefined limits. For example, a typical policy might only cover $2,500 worth of firearms kept in a house. If the resident wishes to cover a collection valued at $7,500, he will then need to obtain a supplemental policy, often by another provider, to cover the marginal $5,000. This is the case despite overall property values being covered. Property that is dense with value and easily carried away, such as jewelry, can be kept in safes, which provide an additional layer of protection against theft by burglars. Get Legal Assistance If you or a loved one has been involved in a crime, whether accused of being a victim, protect your rights. Contact the criminal defense attorneys at The Nahajski Firm at (206) 621-0500 for a free and confidential initial consultation.