This time of year, many residents of northern states are thinking wistfully about living in Florida. The southern climate is certainly tempting from November through April, and of course there are numerous communities with a great quality of life. But when it comes to residential crime, Florida is having the same challenges as the rest of the US, as reported in this article. And in this report, the burglars are putting a new twist on their approach. Read on!
Officer Lina Strube spent Wednesday morning strolling Winter Park neighborhoods, knocking on doors, chatting with residents and urging more safety precautions in the wake of a series of brazen home burglaries. “I’m getting fabulous feedback,” Strube said, walking down a block of spacious homes with manicured lawns while her colleagues stepped up patrols in other neighborhoods around the city. “My Neighborhood Watch list is growing.”
How the Burglars Operate
Authorities in Orlando, Winter Park and Osceola County have seen an uptick in daring daylight burglaries in relatively affluent areas. The culprits drive high-end cars and may be wearing business suits or medical scrubs so as to blend into the upscale neighborhoods. Usually, police think, the burglars case the home for comings and goings and strike after residents leave for work in the morning.
Daylight Strikes – and What They Steal
“It’s been a pronounced problem all over Central Florida,” said Winter Park police Lt. Thomas Pearson. “They look like they belong and strike during the day when most people are at work.” Law-enforcement officials suspect the thieves — some arrested are from South Florida — canvass neighborhoods in Winter Park, Orlando and beyond for soft targets to steal tablets, televisions, jewelry and, in some cases, guns.
That list of targeted items makes perfect sense: most of the items stolen are easy to turn into cash, which often goes to feeding a drug habit.
More Details on New Tactics
Crooks are always looking for a new angle, and with this scheme, it seems they’ve found one. In groups of two, three or more, they surveil the home first, driving by in luxury vehicles that seem commonplace for the upscale communities. Then they send in the looting squad. The burglars, who police say are mostly young men in their 20s, drive their fancy cars right into the driveway, then go around to the side or back, where they kick in doors, windows and entrances out of street view.
One Victim’s Tale
At first, Natalie Palinckx didn’t notice anything amiss. After work she walked in the front door of her home in Orlando’s Conway neighborhood — and stopped cold. “I said, ‘What is my jewelry box doing on the counter?’ And it was empty,” she said. Police, and the Palinckxes, think they were targeted by one of the roving bands of burglars. While she and her husband were at work, the burglars got in by throwing a rock through the sliding-glass door in the back of their home. “My husband and I have erratic schedules,” Palinckx said “My personal belief is they watched him leave in the morning and then broke in.”
In addition to jewelry, the thieves made off with a laptop and an iPod, and left other items strewn around the home. Palinckx said it’s the first time the family has been touched by crime in its 13 years in the neighborhood. Their children, 8 and 10, have been particularly affected, worrying that the burglars will return. “I can replace the stuff, or the insurance will replace it,” said Dan Palinckx, Natalie’s husband. “But the kids are still talking about it every morning to this day.”
What You Can Do
Here’s what the police in the affected areas of Florida recommend. It’s a good list.
•Keep homes, cars and valuables locked up.
•Be vigilant and keep an eye out for unfamiliar people.
•Keep an eye on neighbors’ homes.
•If you have a safe, keep your valuables in it.
•Safes should be hard-fastened to building, such as to wall studs or floor.
•If you have a security system, use it.
•Record serial numbers and take photos of valuables — police can recognize them if they’re pawned or offered for sale online.
•Download tracking apps to your mobile devices. Police can track their location by computer, arrest suspects and recover them.
•Take advantage of residential and business security surveys offered by area police departments.
Florida communities are not alone. Whatever the reasons, residential crime is definitely up in plenty of cities, towns, and counties across the US. Locking doors and windows is good, but how about a monitored alarm system? Don’t you want the peace of mind that comes from knowing police will respond to an alarm activation? That’s all the more reason to have a home security system – and use it. Plus, we already know exactly where burglars are mostly likely to break in.
Alarm Systems Make a Difference
Studies have shown that monitored alarm systems are an effective deterrent, which is why we are committed to helping more homeowners find peace of mind. The research indicates that a home with a monitored alarm system is only one third as likely to be burglarized as the unprotected home next door. And since the latest home security offerings (like FrontPoint) include safer cellular monitoring, advanced interactive features, and even home automation, there is more reason than ever to make the modest investment now.
As always, it makes sense to take every precaution so that your home is not a target. You’ll see that FrontPoint’s Top Ten Home Security Tips overlap nicely with the recommendations offered by police across the US – including installing a monitored alarm system. Your safety and peace of mind are worth a lot, and there’s nothing more important than protecting your home and family. And that’s where FrontPoint comes in: the leader in wireless home security, and the #1 ranked home alarm company in the US. When you are ready for safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat, FrontPoint is your clear choice – just read the reviews, and you’ll see why.