Posts tagged ‘theft’

Crime Prevention Insights from a Former Jewel Thief

George Feder was the “Houdini of Jewel Thieves” through the 60s and 70s until he was caught by the FBI and received a 15-year prison sentence. Now he works with law enforcement and is an advocate for crime prevention. Feder has the inside track to the criminal mind and can tell you exactly what a burglar looks for when they are looking to break into your residence.

The video below shows Feder demonstrating how he used to break into apartments. As he goes through his process, he offers subtle hints as to what you can do to make your home an unattractive target for other burglars.

Feder will also soon be contributing his experience and passion for crime prevention to this very blog. Look for his posts soon. In the mean time you can visit his website and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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October 28, 2009 at 11:00 pm Leave a comment

Design Your Neighborhood Against Crime

Lately, there has been a widespread trend toward use of web 2.0 tools and social media in law enforcement. Although these tools are great for communication and maintaining connections between citizens and law enforcement, they—in and of themselves—will not decrease crime significantly. Sure, web 2.0 crime mapping can provide an advantage to neighborhood watch groups, but public-facing crime mapping will not necessarily reduce crime if it is not coupled with a variety of other personal crime-prevention strategies.

What we’re talking about is not simply looking at the results of crime, through crime mapping, statistics, and sharing crime tips through Facebook, but using that information to target physical aspects of the community that encourage crime. For neighborhood watch groups this means not just watching out for crime, but actively paying attention to physical aspects of your community that may increase chances for crime.

Physical Aspects of Your Neighborhood

Look around your community. How many neighbors have their porch light on at night? How many lawns look unkempt? How many houses have bushes under their windows? How many houses have large windows facing the street? How many houses have fences? The answers to these questions may help you root out some aspects that make your neighborhood more attractive to criminals.


Overall street appearance, like nicely manicured lawns, attractive bushes, and accent lighting, sends a message to criminals that the homeowners care about their property and keep an eye on it—and might have security systems. Unkempt lawns and neglected trees and shrubs, are a sign that maybe other aspects of the home are untended too, like door and window locks.

Street and porch lighting deter criminals who generally don’t want to be in the spotlight. And, coupled with street-facing windows, make criminals feel uncomfortable, like they are being watched and could easily be identified.

At first, you would think that high fences would keep criminals out, but that is not always true. Waist-high fences or shrubs lining your property actually provide two benefits: they act as a barrier that is awkward to cross, and they give you street visibility. With high fences, you won’t know a criminal is coming until he hops the fence or enters the gate. With a waist-high barrier, you can them coming from a mile away.

Finally, there is a very simple way to block access to your windows, plant thorny bushes under them. I know it sounds kind of silly, but faced with the prospect of pushing his way through a thorn bush to get to your bedroom window, most criminals will pass your windows up for easier targets.


These are all aspects of your property and neighborhood that you can control. Talk to your neighbors about implementing strategies to deter criminals before they even get to your house. In addition, you can talk to your city council about street-lighting issues as well as public signage (like neighborhood watch signs) and other physical aspects of your neighborhood that are city property.

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September 4, 2009 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Summer Increases Juvenile Crime

According to a story from Lubbock, Texas, a recent vandalism spree is being blamed on a handful of teenagers in the area who are out of school for the summer. This example is only one in a yearly trend of increased crime during the summer months, partially attributed to teen offenders.

Although the warmer weather and the number of people on vacation makes it easier for criminals to commit crimes, at least some of the annual summer increase in crime is due to bored teens who are out of school and don’t have the pressures of homework, sports, or other school related activities weighing on them. With these weights gone, and nothing to replace them with, some teens turn to criminal activity to fill their time.

It is probably a stretch to say that just because a teen is bored he or she will turn to violent crime, but teens with a lot of time on their hands might turn to less-violent activities like vandalism and theft, looking for a quick thrill or a quick buck.

Summer break is coming to a close in many parts of the country, and kids are heading back to school, but it always pays to be vigilant. Not only can you be careful about parking your car in the garage and keeping your porch light on, but—as parents of teenagers—you can help prevent crime by steering your child away from criminal activity through communication, activities, and vigilant parenting.


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August 17, 2009 at 11:55 am Leave a comment

Criminals Use Internet to Fence Stolen Property

The Overland Park, Kansas, Police Department has realized that the internet is the new fencing site for burglars and thieves. If you have been a victim of theft, the first place you may want to turn in craigslist. Watch the following video.

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July 28, 2009 at 11:33 am Leave a comment

Car Safety Tips

Chances are that on a regular basis you’re not going to experience a heavy amount of violent crime on your street or in your neighborhood. Homicide, rape, and other violent offenses are far less like to occur than are more simple crimes like vandalism, noise complaints, or theft. And one of the most common forms of theft is vehicle theft.

Because vehicle theft (and theft of items from a vehicle) is more prevalent than other crime, it pays to educate yourself on ways to avoid getting your car stolen, and ways to prevent criminals from breaking in to your car.

Because there has been a recent rash of car thefts in the Kitsap County, Washington, the Kitsap Sun, has offered a useful list of ways to avoid being victimized by car thieves:

* When leaving your vehicle, regardless of the length of time, remove the key from the ignition, close all windows and lock the doors!
* Install smooth, non-flared locking buttons on car doors.
* At night, park in a well lit area. When at home, and if equipped, park your vehicle inside of a garage.
* Remove personal identifying items from your car when you get out: wallets, driver license, credit cards, check books, other identification cards, etc.  These items, once stolen, can be used to commit crimes involving fraud, forgery or identity theft.
* Do not leave personal articles (cameras, i-Pods, GPS devices) in plain view.
* Take them with you or lock them in the trunk.
* Additional security may be obtained by installing a vehicle security system or
* other anti-theft device, such as steering wheel or brake pedal locking device.


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June 30, 2009 at 1:33 pm Leave a comment

Crime Rises with Temperature

Marietta, Georgia, has traditionally seen a rise in crime as the weather gets warmer, and they are gearing for an increase now as we head into the summer. According to a local media source, the police department attributes the rise to an increase in juveniles on the street during summer break and more absent houses as people leave on vacation.

But this increase is not limited to Marietta, many agencies across the US and Canada realize that crime increases when the weather gets warm. For the average citizen, this means making sure that you are vigilant about your personal and property safety during the summer months.

If you plan on heading off to exotic locations, make sure that you take measures to protect your home while you are away: lack all doors and windows and make sure you have a neighbor, family member, or friend check on your property periodically to make sure nothing is amiss. As well, you can stop mail service or have someone pick up your mail so that your house does not appear vacant. In addition, stay informed about crime in your neighborhood while you are away by checking


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June 18, 2009 at 11:39 am Leave a comment

Electricity Thefts Rise in Bad Economy

American Electric Power are reporting that they have had a 27% increase in electricity thefts in January and February of this year compared to last year. During hard economic times more people tend to steal electricity by hooking up to power lines illegally, sometimes through abandoned houses. In addition, theft of copper wiring inside electric meters is also on the rise because the copper can be sold as scrap for a high price.

In these hard economic times, it pays to be vigilant about your electricity. You can prevent electricity theft by periodically checking your electric meter for suspicious wires. If you do find suspicious wires, don’t try and disconnect them yourself. Call the power company or the police for assistance.

March 19, 2009 at 4:08 pm Leave a comment



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