Staying alert

Reports of robberies are not uncommon in Shelton and with recent reports from towns nearby, like Trumbull, it’s not a bad idea to stay alert and protect yourself from being targeted.

Residents are encouraged to report any suspicious activity in their neighborhood, whether an unfamiliar car or van parked in someone’s driveway or a door-to-door salesman or contractor who cannot provide the proper idenitification.

In addition to keeping police informed, residents can also take basic steps to make their home a less attractive target for burglary. A typical burglary takes less than 10 minutes, including the time it takes to get inside the house, so catching a burglar in the act is difficult, and for a homeowner, prevention is key. Anything that slows a burglar down is likely to be a deterrent.

Residents can further protect themselves from burglary by following some basic tips from home security experts.

First, and most important for safety, do not confront a burglar. If you notice anything amiss when returning home, do not go inside. Broken windows, open doors or lights on can all be signs that someone is inside your house. Remain at a safe distance and call police. Burglaries rarely involve violence, but when they do it is almost always because the burglar was surprised.

But the best defense is to prevent a burglary in the first place. To do that, follow some basic tips:

•    Be a nosy neighbor. Let anyone walking by or sitting in a parked car see you watching them. Make note of unfamiliar car license plates.

•    Tell neighbors you trust if you plan to be away. They will then be more likely to notice cars in your driveway or lights in your house.

•    Use timers to switch lights on and off at random, cancel newspapers and put a hold on mail.

•    Get a dog. Even small dogs are effective deterrents because they spook easily and bark loudly.

•    Consider motion-activated lights and an alarm, preferably with visible signs.

Nowadays, the danger of burglary is more than simple loss of possessions. Identity theft is an ever-increasing danger and the loss of a credit card or Social Security card can be a nightmare. Also, with the spotlight on stolen guns, even legal gun owners can unwittingly contribute to future violent crimes if their weapons fall into the hands of a criminal who then sells them on the streets.

By following a few simple tips, residents can make their home and their community safer.