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Tips for preventing home burglaries

See something, say something

No community, including Lakewood, is immune to crime such as home burglaries. Here are some increasingly common tricks that burglars use…and tips you can use to protect yourself.

• Make your home look occupied when you are away, even for a few hours. Leave a few lights on. Put a talk-radio station on loudly enough to be heard at the front door and side windows. Leave a car in the driveway. 
• Don’t leave your garage door open. This advertises your belongings to anyone passing by. A thief may have quick access while the door is open, and see the inventory of things to take later when you are not home. Put a lock on your garage door.
• “Knock-knock” burglars. If no one answers, the burglar enters the rear yard and breaks into the house. They may also knock on the doors of adjacent homes to make sure there are no nearby witnesses before they strike. If you see someone knocking on doors up and down a block, or especially if they go into a backyard after knocking, call 911 immediately.
• Burglars sometimes do door-to-door solicitations to obtain information on which homes to burglarize. A burglar (or his partner) may act like a solicitor and knock on your door and attempt to sell you a product. They say how they are raising money for school or a charity. Most times the solicitors only have the display product with them. If you want to buy the product, they offer to return at a later time (specified by them). Many residents do not recognize this tactic and tell the solicitor that they will not be home at the time specified. Guess what time the thief will come back to burglarize your home?
• Anyone selling a product in Lakewood must have a city solicitor’s license. Not a county license! Ask to see the Lakewood license. If they don’t have the city license, call the 24-hour business line of the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station at (562) 623-3500.
• Burglars pose as utility workers or alarm company workers. They knock on your door and say they need to check your utilities or alarm system. They want to get inside your home or yard, and distract you while a partner quickly enters your front door and steals items. Utility companies will usually contact you in advance to enter your property, or they will drive in clearly marked vehicles. If you are ever unsure, ask to see their badge or ask them to return after you have called the utility.
• Join the Neighborhood Watch on your block. To find out how, contact the Lakewood’s Crime Prevention Office at 562-866-9771, extension 2114 or at crimeprevention@lakewoodcity.org.
• “See Something, Say Something.” If you see something unusual or suspicious, call 911 if it’s a potential crime in progress, or the 24-hour business line of the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station at (562) 623-3500 for a less-immediate concern. Call right away when you see a problem so Sheriff’s Deputies can investigate while the problem or people in question are still on the scene.