It’s well documented that the recent increase in residential intrusion has reached many areas of the US that have been relatively free from burglaries up until now. We’ve come to expect these types of crimes in urban centers, but the statistics show intruders actively stepping up their activities in affluent suburbs and even rural areas. I recently posted on the rising burglary trend in Vail, CO, and now here’s a report from Bozeman, MT that shows how crime has infiltrated the “safe havens” where we expect it least.
Bozeman police say home burglaries around town have increased dramatically in just the past few weeks. “This is the door the thief came through. It was closed and in my backyard” said south side resident Rob Campbell, opening the door to his garage. Last week Campbell realized someone robbed him when he noticed his garage in disarray, and a bunch of small items missing. “We thought it was just beer cans taken at first, but it turns out a Leatherman, iPod- who knows what else that’s missing. Bear spray…” he said, recalling the possessions he’s found gone so far.
Petty Thefts, but Lots of Them
This may be the first burglary report I have read (out of thousands) that mentions bear spray! According to the FBI, the average burglary happens once every 14.6 seconds, and results in property loss of just over $2,000. While the Bozeman burglaries may be less costly, the increased incidence is causing real concern.
However the burglar took only smaller, petty items; leaving behind things of higher value including skis, a kayak, and power tools. As he walked around his garage, he opened a tool drawer, seemingly full of tools. “Couldn’t take it all, but who knows what they did take.”
Bozeman police Lieutenant Rich McLane says petty theft from break-ins like the one at Campbell’s have been occurring at an abnormally high rate this June. “We’ve had twenty break-ins or attempted break-ins in three weeks. That’s one a night, and one a night is a big number for Bozeman.”
Police Are on the Case
McLane says almost all of these break-ins were late-night crimes of opportunity- crimes the homeowners could have easily prevented. He added that the police have also stepped up patrols. “We’ve got out night-shift and mid-shift officers out on foot, and bikes and cars.” But McLane added that there’s only so much police can do- and they need the help of Bozeman citizens.
Great Advice from Bozeman’s Finest
Simple precautions include keeping the house well-lit at night, and making sure all doors and windows are in working order and locked. The garage door should be shut and locked when not around or at night. When going out of town, using a timer for indoor lights gives the illusion that the home is occupied. Putting a hold on mail and newspaper delivery prevents them from visibly piling up. Another big one – refrain from posting any out-of-town plans on networking sites such as Facebook.
Campbell said he made a mistake that some of the other recent burglar victims also made – he left the door to his garage unlocked. From now on, that’s something he’ll double check. “People think we live in a very small town, and we’ve grown so it’s not quite as small as it used to be- and unfortunately break-ins go with that” he said.
As a reminder, here are three of the favorite FrontPoint blog posts that may help you increase your safety – and your peace of mind:
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