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West Valley Focus

RESEDA : Burglars Use Rear Doors, Study Shows

March 15, 1994|KURT PITZER

The rear and side doors of homes are favorite points of entry for burglars in the West Valley, according to a survey of recent break-ins conducted by the Los Angeles Police Department's West Valley Bureau.

Of 86 burglaries reported to the bureau in January, only two were through a locked front door--the same number as through a "doggy" door, according to a report published in this month's LAPD mailer Neighborhood Watch News.

"Burglars go around back because nobody can see them and it's easier to get in there," said West Valley Senior Lead Officer Stephanie Tisdale. "It seems obvious, but people are still leaving their gates unlocked, so people can get back there."

Money spent on elaborate locks for front doors might be better used toward locks for gates and deadbolts for sliding glass doors and strengthening side and rear entries, Tisdale said.

Residents would also be wise to ask a neighbor to collect their newspapers and mail and care for their yards before leaving on vacation, Tisdale said, because burglars usually scan neighborhoods for telltale signs of absence.

And, despite warnings from police representatives, some people still leave their doors unlocked, Tisdale said.

"Usually," she said, "it's older people who have lived in their neighborhood for 30 years and think it's still safe to live in the San Fernando Valley."

Car theft and garage burglary are also common in the West Valley, Tisdale said, although the two are rarely combined. About 90% of the cars stolen from residential areas were parked on the street or in a driveway, she said. Most garage burglars steal tools.

Of 18 garage burglaries reported in January, half were through an open or unlocked door. Said Tisdale:

"I think garage theft is even more common than we know, because a lot of it goes unreported. People have to understand that they cannot leave their garages open for a minute, because people will come in and grab their lawn mower, auto tools, whatever."

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