Keeping Your Home Secure - Part One

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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - In 2016, there were nearly four thousand burglaries reported in Maine. That's about 17-percent of all crimes reported.

The most often reported crime in Maine is theft. 72-percent of crimes were larceny or theft.

There is a burglary every 132 minutes in Maine, and a theft happens about once each half hour.

How do you make sure you are safe, even when you're not home?

"The key is to make your home look like a fortress without it actually being a fortress," said Holden Police Chief Chris Greeley. "So the idea perhaps is the illusion more than what you actually do to make sure that people, you know, you don't want them to break in and then have your alarm and camera system work really well. You don't want them to break in, in the first place."

Chief Greeley says that illusion can be as simple as a dog chain out front. He suggests if you get a security system of any sort, make sure criminals are aware of it. "Let people know you have an alarm. If you can only afford to get the alarm and not have it be monitored by a company, that's okay, but if it is monitored by a company, that's better so law enforcement will be notified if there is a breach. Video surveillance is good, motion sensor lights are good. Besides locking the front door, make sure we don't leave the second floor window open with a step ladder or a ladder leaning against the house."

Maybe even take a closer look at your home while thinking like a criminal.

"I think it's really important if you want to feel safe is to walk around your home" advises Chief Greeley. "Aand ask yourself, if I were to break into my home, how would I do it? Typically if you have a 15-year-old kid, ask them, 'How would you break in?' They are going to tell you, 'Well I could fit in this window' or 'You guys always leave that open.' Well that may be the same way a criminal is going to enter your home. So make it less attractive so that we can't stop them perhaps from breaking in to some place, but you can take steps so that it's not your home."

Tom Pasternack of Bangor purchased a home video security system a couple of years ago for peace of mind. "I was just going to watch the front door and watch the back door, I really wasn't worried about crime or anything" "Is there a motion detection at three o'clock in the morning on my back porch? That's kind of like, that's a red flag to me."

What he found was nothing sinister. It was more comical. "Catching my stepdaughter running up and she comes in the house and she's like, 'Oh my God, you've got to check the camera.' She just ran up the back steps and hit her toe and did a face plant right on the steps and she's like, 'Come on in and look at this.'"

"It was really like, you know what this is, an easy app," said Pasternack. "I'll set it up and it will be cool and then it ended up working."

Last fall, when the family was away, the video cameras and his security app on his phone showed someone who didn't belong on his porch. "Staying in Augusta, I saw the mailman deliver my packages on a Saturday, and I'm like 'Oh cool, those Christmas presents are here,' so the next day and my wife even said, 'Hey maybe we should have somebody go to the house and put them inside,' and I'm like, 'No, we'll be home tomorrow, it's not a big deal.' We came down the street, drove by, I looked on the porch and the package is not there and pulled in the driveway and she came in to see if someone set them inside for us, and I went to my app and I saw the video of the person taking them and I'm like, 'Holy Smokes,' so that was like, wow, unbelievable."

A few days later, an alert on his phone told him it was happening again. As he checked his cameras, he saw it was the same person back again. "And I just flew right across town. Right then I called the cops. I said, 'I got 'em, they're on my porch.' I saw which way she walked off of my porch down the street, so I started heading that way and I called the cops and I said I'll meet you there and then I beat them there and got out and basically stopped and arrested her."

Not everyone has someone stop at their front door. Others make it inside your home.

"There's no feeling like knowing you were broken into and then sleeping in that home the next night or the next week after that," said Chief Greeley. "There's nothing like that. You never again feel comfortable in your home if you've been victimized by a burglar."