Thursday, March 19, 2009

Now and later

It has happened again. After a string of unusually bold residential burglaries near 84th and Holdrege Street ten days ago, we were hit again—hard—yesterday by the same M.O.. We are now up to 28 burglaries or attempted burglaries overnight from the 17th to the 18th in which the theives entered (or attempted to enter) through the side or back walk-in door to the garage, and from there into the house while the residents slept. The burglars don’t penetrate very far—they generally have grabbed a nearby purse and split.

It just boggles my mind that none of the victims (or their dogs) have been awakened. Although certainly not unknown, this isn’t a particularly common burglary method. Burglars generally avoid occupied residences scrupulously. You never know when you’ll encounter a light sleeper with a 12-gauge and a bad temper—or a Dalmatian with the same. Although the walk-in garage door is a common entry point, you’re normally investigating a daytime or weekend burglary that occurred while the occupants were away.

The problem we now have is that the burglar(s) have succeeded in a pretty big way, which will not only encourage them to continue, but also inspire other burglars to pick up this method. I need everyone with an attached garage and a walk-in door to do two things: one now, and one later. Now, start locking the passage door between your garage and the house—religiously. Later, stimulate the economy: visit the home improvement store this weekend, buy the baddest deadbolt lock you can stand to fork out the cash for, and put that Makita and Rotozip to work for a change. Look over the door frame and jamb, too. You want to beef that baby up, so that a burglar would need more time, and make more noise. They don’t like that at all, and will move on. The last thing you’d want in this type of crime is to rouse the homeowners.

The security of that walk-in door needs to be at least as good as your front door—actually, better, since it’s more vulnerable due to concealment. These doors (are often pathetic: weak jambs, with cheap key-in-knob locks. A screwdriver is all it took.

The two neighborhoods hit yesterday were around Stonebridge, near Wilderness Ridge Rd. and Yankee Hill Rd., and Cripple Creek, near S. 44th and Elkridge. The later is my neighborhood. There are several police officers, troopers, and deputies who live in both of these areas. As you might be able to tell from the time I write my blog posts, I’m a light sleeper.


Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight: None of the burglaries in either cluster involved a locked deadbolt lock being defeated - just locked entry locksets (or simply unlocked doors)?

This got me thinking about amending the building code to require all new residential construction to have deadbolt locks installed on all exterior doors and the garage/house passage door as well. Relative to the total cost of the house, the cost of installing DBs would be insignificant, yet the benefits would be huge.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for your warnings and admonitions. A couple of years ago you informed the citizenry of similar things and I added a motion sensor light, set to high sensitivity, where the sensor is near the garage entrance door. It lights up like daylight whenever a person or pet walks within 10 feet.

Grundle King said...

The fact that this thief (or theives) is so brazen leads me to believe that he/she has armaments of their own.

that's what she said...

Someone desperate enough to break into occupied dwellings is probably hooked on meth and has traded any armaments for drugs.

I'd skip a deadbolt and go straight to something like this on the garage door.

Just in case that didn't work, I'd have this as a back up.

Anonymous said...

I've seen plenty of bad tempered dalmatians, as well as some light sleeping ones, but never one with a 12-gauge.

As a side note, keep up the good work, I enjoy reading your blog.

South Lincoln said...

What are the laws regarding firearm use with a burglary in your home? I'm assuming I can use any force that I deem necessary if I feel I'm in danger? In other words, can I shoot the perp. if he is clearly in my house?

Murph said...

I live in that area. I was awakened by a noise around 11pm, and investigated said noise with my 12 gauge in my shoulder.

After doing a pretty thorough walk through I thought it might just have been my house settling. Now I'm not so sure.

Steve said...

People who don't even lock the locks they have will certainly not go to the trouble of locking a deadbolt just because it came with the house. Maybe a cheap alarm would be a better choice. I'll bet you can get some factory made alarms that would work and still be cheaper than a heavy duty dead bolt.

Anonymous said...

Is there something a person could do who can't afford to by expensive locks.I'm on a fixed income and need some ideas.THANKS

Tom Casady said...


I was hoping someone would see the odd humor in that carefully-chosen syntax. Thanks.


Bar the door. That's what I did when I had one. Couldn't afford a $50 lock at the time, and didn't have the skill to install that or fix the jamb. I went for the low-tech 2x4s, rather than the bar stock, but same theme.

South Lincoln-

Not exactly that simple. You better read these laws carefully. No right-thinking person ever want to be in that position, so prevent the entry and avoid the potential. Lock, bar, lock the passage door.


Yeah, pile up a bunch of stuff in front of the door into the garage. These doors almost always open in, and these theives will likely be detered if they have to try to force through a pile of boxes, old appliances, paint cans, and bicycles. Your goal is a little physical impediment, but a lot of unwanted noise.

Anonymous said...


True, but people that did lock their knob lockset on the garage's exterior walk-in door would probably also lock a deadbolt on the same door - if it was already there. When they began requiring seatbelts on all new cars, rather than allowing them to be optional (this may have been before your time, so bear with me); entry-level trim cars were often sold without the optional belts installed, or even deleted by the dealer to save ten bucks. Almost no one had them installed after they bought the car without belts, but when they were mandated as standard equipment, the rate of wearing belts did go up, even when it wasn't required to use them.

Anonymous said...

To 5:04pm
Here is also a $3.99 door and window alarm. Just remove the sticker and place it in your doorway. You can set it to alarm, chime, or off.

Anonymous said...

Why do they have to make these laws so confusing?

If someone comes into my house, I'm gonna shoot him/her and put a knife in his/her hand and say it was self defense. There's lots of knives in the kitchen.

Anonymous said...

This is another fairly cheap intrusion alarm, and it's a doorstop wedge too. Not bad for traveling use in hotel rooms either, because you never know who's going to have a card key to your room.

Anonymous said...

Chief, I would say that after the Crago incident, it would not be hard to say you were in danger of your life, lets not forget Daniel Snyder either.

A Charmer said...

I live an apartment (so I can't add another lock) and have used the "pile stuff up by the door" method after some suspicious activity occurred. Glad to know it is police chief-approved!

Anonymous said...

So I chase a person from the house. This person has just taken my TV. I shoot this person, killing him-her. OK. Other factors are going to be raised by the defense, after I am charged with First degree murder.
Well the state could prove that after my TV left my house, that I made a decision to give chase (violation of retreat) then at some point I make a premeditated decision to pull the trigger, hence the premeditation. The law is clear on most of this. I do predict that few of the CCL holders will encounter this complicated beast of statute if they ever use deadly force. The next example would be the same situation. This time I find the TV is being carried to the door, I am asleep on the couch. I ask the person to "please set my TV down" as the game is on in several hours. The TV continues to the door and the request is denied.
In this example I do not see how I could prove my life in danger.
My point is this. I have talked to many people who think they can shoot and kill someone because they are taking property. Or this is my house and you are in it so I can use deadly force. This kind of thinking is dangerous. The law is clear. You must be in eminent danger, life threatening danger, and even then you may get a manslaughter conviction if the state shows that you had a way to retreat and did not.
You rambling, gingham, firearm owners are going to get one hell of a surprise when you find the implications of the self defense law in Nebraska complex,and not simple. Far from simple Ma and Pa Kettle application like I often read about. With all the burglary incidents, the chance of an intruder being shot is high.The resident/home owner is then arraigned on criminal charges. Indeed, there is NO place like Nebraska. The rambling of this extensive law is why most people see the law makers as idiots. I see them as amusing.

Anonymous said...

DF law is somewhat complex and unclear in Nebraska, but when it comes to protecting one's property, it's abysmally pro-criminal. Chin up, though, there's hope that it could look more like this in a few years, along with immunity from civil liability if the DF is used legally. All you need is the right state legislator to introduce the legislation and ramrod it through the Unicameral, backed up by well-organized constituent pressure.

Tim said...

Many states have such Castle Doctrines, and so much the better I say. I also think it'll be a cold day in Heck before Nebraska gets anything approximating such a statute.

Anonymous said...

Jim J,
I cannot remember all the exact details but during the early 1970's our Unicameral passed a Law that allowed the use of Deadly Force to protect property.

Shortly after this Law was passed a prostitute in Omaha killed a John after he refused to pay her for sexual services. If I remember correctly her attorney got her off by using the new legislation. Shortly after that the Unicameral repealed the Law.

If any of you that have better research skills than I do want to look this up I distinctly remember reading the article/s about the incident in the Omaha World Herald.

Gun Nut