Burglaries Highlight Need For Prevention

Burglars case neighborhoods, looking for easy targets. Burglary is often a crime of opportunity. And no home owner is immune.

"I can take you and show you some homes that I think are more likely, but any home, any home is a target," said Harrison County Sheriff's deputy Frank Baskett.

Baskett is a crime prevention specialist. He says home owners can take some simple steps to protect property.

"Lighting is the key to all prevention. You keep an area that's well lit, the bad guys are going to run for cover. They always have, even in the old Westerns, they ran for cover. Well, they still do," he said.

If lights don't do the trick, a barking dog might make a potential intruder think twice. Alarm systems are also a worthwhile option. Statistics show homes without alarms are nearly three times more likely to be broken into.

And don't give burglars an easy target. An open garage door is a temptation for a burglar to take your tools. An open back gate could be an invitation to a back door break in.

"Burglary seems to be the "crime of the month" for oh, the last six months. I don't know if people just think because the homes might be torn or half torn down, that the people don't care, but they're taking a few more chances," said Baskett.

While there's nothing you can do to make your house 100 percent burglar proof, some simple deterrents could make you less of a target. Things like a barking dog, a security system, or even a locked gate could be enough for a potential burglar to pass by your house.

Baskett says Neighborhood Watch groups do prevent burglaries. And in these post-Katrina days of repair crews and so many strangers in neighborhoods, it's more important than ever to watch out for your neighbors and ask questions of everyone.

"I would rather apologize to you brother, your uncle or your best friend, than for you and I to sit down and I'm taking a report," said Baskett.