After last week warning Northeast Los Angeles residents of a rise in "distraction burglaries," the Los Angeles Police Department on Tuesday released some tips that can be used to prevent such crimes.
From the Los Angeles Police Department:
Criminals sometimes use force to break through a door, but often, they use a scam to get us to open the door for them—bypassing our deadbolts and security systems in the process. The LAPD wants to make the community aware of this problem and provide tips to avoid becoming a victim.
First, look before unlocking your door's deadbolt lock. Install a peep hole if your door does not have one. Remember, you do not need to unlock the door to talk. They may state there is an emergency, so help them by calling police. If they attempt to force entry or make you fear for your safety, tell the police. The 911 operator will send a Code 3 response.
Besides the front door, make sure the perimeter of your home is secure. Criminals can easily enter through an open window on the ground floor or, with a ladder, on an upper floor. Make sure your windows are secured in a closed or partially open position.
Another suggestion is to take a picture or video of anyone uninvited who approaches your home. Video surveillance cameras are becoming more affordable, but cameras in modern smartphones are always ready to capture potential evidence. If you discover later that a neighbor was burglarized, you may have a photograph of the suspect.
Criminals also have easy access to official looking uniforms and business cards. They may pose as a government worker or delivery person. If you have any doubt, call and verify before opening the door. If they have legitimate business, they will not mind waiting. Be alert for distraction scams whenever you open your home to strangers.
According to the Los Angeles Times Crime Mapping Project, 19 property crimes were reported between February 9 and February 15; four of those reported crimes were burglaries.
In total, eight burglaries have been reported in Highland Park and Mount Washingoton in the month of February--seven of which occured in Highland Park.