We are excited to continue the series of guest blogs by Peter Rogers, Co-Founder & Senior Advisor, of FrontPoint Security Solutions. Peter has more than 20 years of home security experience, including leadership positions at some of the country’s most prominent alarm companies.
Burglars Do Come Back – The Same House, and the Same Neighborhood
We know that burglars do come back to the scene of the crime. It may be a few days later, or even years later: after serving a three-year prison term, one serial burglar in Florida even revisited a house he had previously broken into – and was caught again! In this report from Philadelphia, PA, a persistent pair of intruders targeted a home and then struck twice in four days. And in this case, thanks to monitoring services, police have video of the burglars.
Philadelphia police are looking for two burglars who attempted to hit the same house twice. Video of the two suspects, who tried to block their faces from a surveillance camera, was released by police on Monday. Police say, back on August 13th, the pair broke into a home on the 1500 block of South 13th Street. Investigators say the victims woke up to find their back door open and several items missing from their living room. Then, on August 16th, the suspects tried to hit the home again, but ran away when a burglary alarm went off.
There are several positive angles to this story. I like the presence of security cameras – like those sold by most reputable, full-service alarm companies – since video footage should help police take these perps off the street. But I especially appreciate the fact that the burglar alarm scared the bad guys off when they came back. We may never know if this burglar alarm was added during the four intervening days: perhaps the system was already there, and the homeowner just decided to be more disciplined about using a proven deterrent he had in place. Either way, it’s a known fact that burglar alarms do prevent home intrusions.
Same Houses – and Same Neighborhoods
Burglars don’t just target the same house two or more times: they also “work” a neighborhood or community on a repetitive basis, coming back for more now that they know which houses are without security systems for homes. And what’s more, it’s been well documented that burglars have a high rate of recidivism, meaning they may well serve jail time for home intrusion, and later revert to that same form of crime after they are released. Here’s a telling tale from the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.
An Allentown man admitted Wednesday to stealing about $98,000 worth of jewelry, cash, coins, electronics, handguns and other items in 41 home burglaries across the Lehigh Valley while on house arrest. Handcuffed and wearing a blue prison jumpsuit, Herman Ojeda Jr., 38, pleaded guilty to 41 counts of burglary and three counts of attempted burglary.
Drugs are Often Behind Criminal Activity
First Assistant District Attorney Steven Luksa described each burglary, digging cases out of a large pile sitting on top of Dantos’ bench. After describing each one, Luksa placed the files next to him on the floor. By the end of the hearing, the pile had spilled by his feet. After the hearing, Luksa said Ojeda has told authorities he committed the burglaries because he lost his job and bills were mounting. Luksa said Ojeda was also feeding a three-bag-a-day heroin addiction.
Routine Burglar Tactics
Almost all of the burglaries happened between noon and 3 p.m., when the homeowners were not there. Police said Ojeda would first knock at the door to see if anyone answered. He would also avoid homes with alarm systems. “He said he didn’t want to hurt anyone,” Luksa said. Luksa said Ojeda told authorities he committed at least one of the burglaries with his “mentor” who later died of a drug overdose. Police said in many of the burglaries, Ojeda would ransack the bedroom and leave other rooms untouched.
How Police Caught Him
Authorities said they were able to identify Ojeda as a suspect based on witness descriptions and a GPS device that he was required to wear because he was on house arrest. Luksa said Ojeda committed the burglaries during times he was permitted to leave his home. Luksa said defendants on house arrest can leave their homes for work, doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping excursions and for other reasons. Luksa said Ojeda’s GPS device showed he was near the burglaries at the time they were committed.
One might assume that being forced to wear a device that reports your location would dissuade you from committing more burglaries – but not in this case. Amazing!
As I’ve stated many times, the best deterrent to a break-in at your home is a monitored alarm system – especially one with safer cellular monitoring and smarter interactive features. Some alarm companies specialize in these systems, so make sure you ask the right questions when you are shopping. And if you’ve been broken into (or someone else in your neighborhood has), the very first thing you should do is add monitored home security as your first line of protection. You can even place a home security sign on your front lawn. You deserve peace of mind, and that comes from the knowledge that you’re protecting your home and family- no matter how many times a burglar comes back.