New Orleans, like any major city, has its share of break-ins, burglaries, and home invasions. It is true that burglary is a heinous crime that violates your personal property, and in some cases, leads to a violation of personal self as well. Fortunately, there are actions you can take to minimize your risk of getting robbed in New Orleans. As a criminal lawyer in New Orleans, I have seen and heard many burglary cases resulting in a wealth of knowledge I would like to pass on to you. There are different types of robbers, but understanding that burglary is a “crime of opportunity” is important in minimizing your risk of becoming a burglary victim. This means that there are steps you can take protect yourself from becoming a victim of a robbery. Here are some important points to remember and actions to take so you do not put yourself at risk of burglary:
General Tips to Increase Your Safety From Burglary
Burglaries oftentimes occur when no one is present at the home. This could be during the day while you are at work, in the evening while you are out running errands or out on the town, or while you are on a short or long trip. There are ways you can make your house less likely to be robbed while you are away. Never make it look like you are away. Keep some lighting on, especially on a timer. Keep the radio on as well. You can close your curtains, but remember to keep some lights on. Don’t let your mail pile up. Instead, ask a neighbor or relative to pick it up for you – or ask the post office to hold it until you return. If you recently received packages, you should cut up and throw out all boxes or packaging so it’s not obvious you recently purchased something a burglar can steal. It you are a home-owner, you should get an insurance policy that covers losses as a result of a break-in.
If you do not own your New Orleans home, then you should consider renter’s insurance. Make sure to itemize, keep receipts, and photograph all of your property that is valuable or might be a target for thieves. Never leave your social security number, driver’s license or credit cards in plain site. Though robbers may go through your desk drawers, they are more likely to find your information if you just leave it out in the open for them.
Preparing Your Home Against Burglary in New Orleans
What Kind of Doors Do You Have?
- The doors that lead to the outside should be made of metal or solid wood with strong inside hinges
- If you need to have glass with a few feet of the door, make sure it is impact resistant so no one can break it and reach around to the door
- Your exterior doors should have strong door frames that cannot be spread apart
- If possible, install a peephole of some sort on your front door and, if necessary, back door to see who might be at the door
- Do not offer a set of keys to those who you do not know, including service people like the cable guy, contractor, HVAC worker, or electrician
- If possible, install a reliable deadbolt lock on all exterior doors
- Lock your doors! A lot of New Orleans homes are old and it’s more difficult to secure your home. Fortunately, the simple task of locking your doors while you are home or away can mitigate the chance you will get robbed.
Do You Have a Sliding Glass Door? How to Keep Safe With a Sliding Glass Door
- Once you’ve closed your sliding glass door, place a medal rod or sturdy stick in the track for safe measure
- Consider installing vertical bolts at the top and bottom of your sliding door
How Can I Secure My Windows From Burglars?
- If your windows have tracks, you can similarly place a small piece of wood or medal in the track making it difficult or impossible to open from the outside or inside
- You can also drill a nail a few inches up the top of the window on the track to make sure no one can open the window more than a few inches making it impossible for a body to fit through the opening
- Impact-resistant glass is a good idea if you have first floor or very low hanging windows
Darkness is a Burglar’s Best Friend
- Consider using automatic timers on indoor lights year-round
- Install motion-sensored lighting outside around the perimeter of your property
- Use outdoor lighting to illuminate both your house and property including driveway or yard
Can a New Orleans Burglar Alarm System Work for My Home?
In New Orleans, you will find a number of different home alarm system companies calling you if you just bought a new home. If you’re a renter, there are also opportunities for you to install alarm systems that are less permanent, but also effective. If possible, use an alarm that makes a sound and flashes lights as this will be the most attention seeking. If you decide to install an alarm system in your house, post a sticker on your house or get the cardboard stick and stick it in your yard or garden. Ensure that your alarm is monitored by the alarm company and you have an emergency contact in addition to the New Orleans Police Department or Jefferson Police Department called if the alarm is set off. You want to make sure that detectors are at all entry points, not just the front or back door. And, you want to use motion detectors in the most likely entry points.
Crimes of Opportunity
Remembering that burglaries are crimes of opportunity can help you when making decisions about your home and safety. If you think you could be victim to a burglary, call the local police department immediately. If you know someone who has recently been arrested and accused of burglary, feel free to call me for a free consultation. I am available by e-mail or phone at (866) 459-4478 or (504) 264-9492.