Burglary in the Pacific Area serviced by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) for the first three months of the year increased by about 40 burglaries, compared to the first three months of 2004, an LAPD report indicated.

Lt. Philip Fontanetta of LAPD Pacific Area issued the following tips, designed to assist residents in preventing their property from being burglarized.

n Burglary is a crime of opportunity. Make the burglar’s work risky and difficult and you stand a good chance of stopping burglars before they get in.

n Visibility means vulnerability. Burglars hide behind fences and shrubbery. To keep trespassers out while keeping your property visible, Fontanetta suggests using picket or chain-link fences and keeping hedges clipped down to around waist level.

n Burglars try the doors and windows first. If burglars have difficulty gaining entry through your windows and doors, chances are they will move on to another property.

n As far as locks are concerned, deadbolts are the strongest. Doors that swing out have hinges on the outside and a burglar can easily remove the hinge pins and lift the door out.

Overhead doors, receiving doors and garage doors should be secured using sturdy padlocks. A padlock is only as good as the hasps on which it is mounted.

Bolt hasps securely to a metal plate and make sure the bolts are concealed when the padlock is locked.

n Burglars can kick in a weak door. Replace hollow-core doors with solid-core doors. Replace weak doorframes or reinforce them with steel or concrete.

n Consider having locks re-keyed when an employee is finished with a job at your residence.

n Light is a great crime deterrent. Light up all dark areas, especially doors and windows.

n Every alarm system should include a fail-safe battery backup, fire-sensing capability, and a feedback device to check the alarm system.

n Mark property with your California driver’s license number (preceded by the letters “CA”) and place “Operation I.D.” decals on all windows and doors to warn burglars that your property can be traced.

Keep an up-to-date inventory of your property and place a copy in your safe deposit box or at a location away from the site.

If you suspect a burglar is in your house, do not go inside. Go to a neighbor’s house or use a cell phone to call police immediately.

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