Just imagine it: You pull up to your house or apartment late at night, and something seems off. It doesn’t take long to realize someone has broken in, and out of instinct, you race to your jewelry box and find that it’s been ransacked. Panic sets in. What should you do? Our friends at the Austin Police Department gave Copeland Jewelers the following tips for dealing with the confusing, frightening scenario of a break-in:
• Personal safety first – The moment you realize someone has broken into your home, get out of the residence and go to a secure location, such as a friend or neighbor’s house, and call 911 from there. Even though your instinct will probably be to check on the status of your valuables, it’s possible the criminal could be hiding somewhere inside your home and might do something dangerous if you get too close. Do not return to your property until law enforcement arrives.
• Information is key – When you call 911, provide your name, your address, your current location, and as much information about the incident as you can. Having photos of your jewelry that you can share with the police after they arrive will be immensely helpful.
• Let the officers do their jobs – Once the police arrive, they will check your residence to be sure no one is inside and that the scene is safe. Then they will begin their investigation by gathering information from you and anyone else who lives with you and dusting for fingerprints, if possible. An offense report will be generated, and a detective will continue the investigation.
• An ounce of prevention – Naturally, most thieves will target places that appear to have the least protection, so do what you can to make your home unappealing to criminals. Posting signs for your home security company, having a dog, or even creating the illusion that you have a dog can all be deterrents. However, these safety measures, and other security features that are less visible (cameras, long screws in the door stroke plates), are no good if a burglar does get in and is not frightened by their presence. Having an audible alarm will frighten the criminal and may attract attention from neighbors or passers-by who might be able to give information to investigators. Keep your valuables out of sight from the exterior of the house by storing them away from windows and/or closing blinds and curtains, especially when you’re not home. Be wary of advertising any jewelry you own on social media, or of announcing dates when you’ll be out of town, since thieves may view such posts as open invitations to prey on you. When you do go away from home, make arrangements with a neighbor to keep an eye on your property and have them collect your mail and newspapers or have delivery services temporarily stopped.
• Follow the news – Crime rates fluctuate in a large city such as Austin, so keep an eye on news reports of burglaries and other crimes in your area. Consider downloading a crime watch app or otherwise following crime trends.
• Stay alert in public – Protect yourself from being mugged while out and about by always being aware of your surroundings and staying vigilant. Don’t let yourself be distracted by making calls or otherwise using your phone or by wearing headphones. Always inform a friend or family member about where you plan to go, including travel patterns, and when you intend to be home.
We take the safety of our customers and their community very seriously. We hope the above tips will keep you from ever being the target of a jewelry thief, but if such an unfortunate event does come to pass, we hope this information will provide comfort and direction during an unsettling time.
Huge thanks to the Austin Police Department for these tips!