Property Crimes in Osage County Protecting your home and business.
My name is Capt. Dave Hinman. I’ve been a criminal investigator with the Sheriff’s Office for about 5 years. I’ve been in law enforcement since 1996, with a majority of that time, working in Osage Co. I’ve spent this past year as the Supervisor for the Investigations Div., and worked the other 4 years assigned to the Southern area of the County.
The Southern area is, by far, the most active area for property crimes. The two major crimes here, are 2 nd degree burglary and larceny.
I have written this presentation, based on my work experience here in Osage County, and not within any of the city or town limits. This information may be very different from other areas in the county, state, or nation.
Burglary is the entering of an unoccupied residence, outbuilding, business, car, etc. with the intent to steal.
The Sheriff’s Office receives numerous burglary calls per year, usually with an increase in the Summer or warmer months.
Much different then cities or towns, rural burglaries commonly occur within the times of 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. when occupants are at work or school.
Larceny or Theft
Thefts are split into two categories: Petit larceny (under $500.00, misdemeanor) and Grand larceny (over $500.00, felony).
Generally, the felony charge is assigned to an Investigator and the misdemeanor is assigned to the initial patrol Deputy.
As with Burglaries, there is an increase in the summer months and the times of day are similar.
Who commits property crimes?
Drug users trying to get money to support their habit.
People retaliating or getting revenge for a specific reason (i.e. divorce, argument, property dispute, etc.)
Opportunitists- People who take advantage of easy money and an easy situation.
Lower income class- people who have lost their jobs and/or ability to work. Crime does rise when the economy is troubled.
Friends, family, or acquaintances that want what you have.
Protecting your home and property
Put up a gate and lock it when you leave for work or school.
If you have the resources, have recorded surveillance cameras installed.
Maintain your landscape and shrub to maximize deterrence.
Install a quality door with a deadbolt lock. Remember to lock it!
Install an alarm system.
Get a dog(s).
Know your neighborhood or area. Who should be around and what vehicles they drive.
Document any vehicles or persons that look like they do not belong. That doesn’t mean stop them and get their drivers license, just simply write down what they look like, clothing, location, and time/date when seen. If given a name or company, document it.
It is common for burglars to knock on your door to find out if anyone is home. If home, they usually say they are looking for some unknown name, work for an unknown company, or are looking for an unknown residence.
Remember: The person you document could be the person who steals from your neighbor or you at a later date.
Keep trees and bushes trimmed where it maximizes the view of possible entry points (i.e. windows, doors, driveway).
A house that is easily visible from the roadway, is a deterrent because the burglar does not want to be seen.
If you hire tree trimmers or landscapers, know exactly who is working at your house. Ask about background checks and criminal histories.
Plant thorn bushes below windows.
Surveillance and alarm systems
Although not always feasible, both systems work well.
A more cost effective, but less preventive method may be to purchase the door and window alarms that put off a loud audible alert or install dummy cameras (or non recording).
Recorded systems should be used with high visibility and megapixels for maximum results.
Recording devices should be placed strategically to show good views of the burglar(s) and the vehicle(s) (including license plate) used for the crime.
Advertise the fact that you have cameras or an alarm.
A solid wood or metal door is preferred. Working as a Drug Investigator, I had many encounters with kicking open doors. 95% of these doors were opened with one kick. The others were eventually forced open, but it took much more effort and time to do so. Remember that the thief wants to get in and out as quick as possible.
A deadbolt lock is preferred. If you don’t lock it, it does no good.
Keep windows (and entry doors) clean.
This helps our investigators to search for and collect fingerprints and/or footprints.
Keep windows locked when nobody's home.
Prepare the inside of your house
Use a heavy safe for irreplaceable items or documents.
Install, and keep clean, hard wood floors. Hardwood floors are some of the best surfaces for finding footprints.
Document serial numbers of firearms, electronics, ATV’s, vehicles, appliances, lawn mowers, etc.
Leave a radio or T.V. on, to make it appear that someone is home.
Photograph expensive jewelry, document sizes and engravings.
Leave dog inside.
Purchase timer for lights, to make it appear that someone is home.
If leaving for a few days, have someone check you house daily, retrieve newspapers and mail, turn on and off porch lights, etc.
Don’t flaunt expensive possessions to guests.
Don’t leave large sums of cash at home.
Review information posted on websites (i.e. myspace, facebook) by family members.
Refrain from posting information about going on vacation or trips.
Meet buyers away from the house, when selling on websites such as Ebay or Craigslist.
Document names, tag numbers, etc. when buyers must come to your property.
Know who you are inviting to your house.
Don’t make it any easier for these criminals to get your belongings!
Remove keys from vehicles or toys.
Use trailer locks or hitch locks.
Don’t leave garden tractors, motorcycles, trailers, ATV’s, next to the roadway and out of view of your house.
Document tag #’s, VIN’s, and anything that will make your vehicle unique. Photograph.
Keep sheds and garages locked.
Most criminals won’t pass up a “give me”.
Friends and family
Often, a burglary is committed by a person who has been to your house before. Sometimes it’s even a friend or family member.
These types of burglars usually know what they want and where it is and generally bypass other things of value.
Provide this type of information to the Deputy.
Protecting your business
Most of the same protections for the home should be made for your business.
The installation of security bars will help.
A thorough background check for both criminal and civil entries is preferred on all employees.
Training on false I.D.’s, counterfeit money and checks, would be beneficial.
Although costly, private security is a great way of protecting your business.
Do not fall into routines with store money and deposits.
The less cash kept in the open, the safer it is.
A nightly clean up (i.e. mop floors, wipe counters and glass) is beneficial for collecting evidence.
Random drug testing on all employees.
Keep current, detailed, inventory records.
What to do if you become a victim
Do not enter or attempt to clean the home or business. Crucial evidence could be destroyed or the suspect could still be inside.
If you must enter, stay to the sides of hallways and know exactly where you were and what you did.
Contact your local law enforcement immediately.
Think of possible suspects.
Provide a detailed stolen property list to the Deputy, after evidence is collected.
Provide copies of surveillance footage ASAP.
Allow the Deputy to search for and collect physical evidence. If he does not, ask if he will.
This presentation was built for the citizens of Osage County in an attempt to reduce the risk of falling victim to a property crime.