Thieves turn to new methods to get inside homes, Crime Stoppers says

There are new trends in crime around Metro Vancouver, including fewer break-ins but more items outside homes stolen. Catherine Urquhart has tips on protecting property as things heat up this summer.

Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers are warning the public to be wary of what they leave outside, as thieves are shifting strategies for how they access homes.

“Police tell us using garage door openers is the big one,” Linda Annis, executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers said Thursday. “Just a few years ago, the main thing was to warn homeowners how to prevent crooks from breaking into doors and windows, but affordable home security alarms and video equipment are starting to change that for the better.”

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Crime Stoppers said investigators are finding thieves get in by taking garage door openers from cars left unlocked in driveways.

“No need to smash windows or jimmy door locks on your home if they can just roll up your garage door,” Annis said. “If the door leading from the garage into your house isn’t locked, you’ve just asked the burglars to ‘come right in’. And don’t leave a spare key under a flowerpot either. Everyone knows that one.”

Investigators recommend not leaving anything lying around outside, including ladders that could help thieves reach unlocked windows on upper floors.

Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers recommends the 9 at 9 approach to home security.

This includes nine common-sense things to check every night at 9 p.m.

  1. Remove everything from inside your car: valuables and garage door openers, to empty bottles and spare change.
  2. Roll up car windows tight and lock all the doors.
  3. Make sure all garage doors are closed and locked, including the door inside that leads from the garage into your home.
  4. Lock up ladders, bikes and garden equipment.
  5. Close and lock all doors and windows on your home, even if it’s hot outside.
  6. Set the alarm and check your video security equipment. Can you see your front door activity on your phone app?
  7. Leave the porch light on overnight, so your front door isn’t hidden in darkness.
  8. Make sure boxes from online deliveries are quickly picked up from your front step.
  9. Ask a neighbour to pick up newspapers and flyers from your door when you’re away. A pile of papers on the doorstep says “no one’s home”.

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