St. Maarten Burglary prevention tips

POSTED: 06/22/14 10:49 PM

During the past three months, the burglary team of the police force has recorded more than twenty burglaries in the Pelican, Simpson Bay and Cole Bay area. The burglar(s) who commit these crimes seem to have no trouble at all to enter the houses they break into. The members of the burglary team found out that people sometimes leave their doors wide open for uninvited guests. We are doing the best we can to catch these criminals, but with a few small measures you can do something to protect your house yourself. That’s why the police force would like to hand you some prevention tips.

 

Uninvited guests

You think you’ve protected your home against burglars, but when you arrive home after work, or perhaps even when you wake up after a good night’s rest, you discover your home was broken into. A burglary can have great impact on your sense of safety in your surroundings. Just the thought that somebody you didn’t invite was in your home, gives lots of people the “shivers”. The Sint Maarten Police Department does their utmost to catch all burglars, but there are some things you can do to help protect yourself from becoming a victim.

 

Think like a burglar

First of all you have to start thinking like a burglar. What would you like most if you were one? The answer to that question would probably be: a quick entrance and exit, so you can easily take the stuff you want. We think you would also like it if no one notices you breaking in to a house, so you wouldn’t like it if the environment was illuminated. Well, if you already are aware of these things, measures can be easily taken against them.

 

Do’s and dont’s

Make sure burglars do not have quick access to your home. You can do this by properly locking all doors and windows. A burglar even can climb through the smallest window, so make sure those are closed too. After that, don’t leave the key under the door mat or in a flower pot, because burglars know all the hiding places you can imagine too. Perhaps it’s good to install an extra lock to your doors, so it would not be that easy to kick the door in. Don’t leave valuables in sight, people with bad intentions only have to see through your window to spot a laptop, an iPad or a smart phone lying around, and they will try to get into your home. So check your house like you were a burglar every time you leave your premises. See if there’s a ladder or a garbage container lying around which a burglar could use to climb on to get access to your house and store it away. Leave your premises tidy, so you will immediately notice when something is wrong.

Make sure the entrance to your house is visible from the street. Burglars don’t like being seen by others. Cut all overgrown plants or bushes in front of your home for example, and leave lights on when dark, so an uninvited guest could not stay in the dark and doesn’t be noticed. If you’re not around, perhaps one of your neighbors are. Let them keep an eye out for you when they spot a stranger on your doorstep. They can call the police immediately. You would of course do the same for your neighbor.

 

See a burglary happen? Call 911

If you see somebody that’s trying to break into your neighbors house, don’t hesitate to call us on 911. Make sure you give a good description of the person to the central dispatch, so they can provide their colleagues on the street with that information. The chances of an arrest increases enormously when the patrol is provided with the right information.

 

What do the police do?

When a burglary still takes place, in spite of all the precautions you took, you should call the police immediately after discovering the break in. Detectives come to your house to collect evidence, so it’s best if you do not clean up broken glass or other things the burglar might have touched. Leave the situation “as is”. Our Forensic Department collects evidence, like fingerprints or DNA, because we would really like to arrest the criminal that did this to you. When you tamper with the situation, the evidence is gone. So don’t, we need the evidence. After all, catching thieves is what we’re here for. Most burglars make small mistakes, and we profit from those small mistakes during our investigation. After the member of the Forensic Department has left your house, you’re free to clean up the mess that was made.

 

A detective will make a report of the burglary. He or she will do this based on the information you give to them. So to make it easier for yourself and for us, it comes in handy when you have a good description of the items that were stolen. The best way to do this is to take pictures of all valuable items in your home. Write down all serial numbers and give them to the detective, to make the report complete. That way, if we do make an arrest or recover stolen goods, we can easily return them to their rightful owner.

 

More tips?

Perhaps you will find it interesting to read more prevention tips. Then it’s good to know that the Community Police Officers made a flyer with prevention tips. You can get a copy of the flyer at all police (sub) stations on the Dutch side of Sint Maarten, or you can make an appointment with one of the CPOs to check up on the safety measures you took in your house.

 

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