Keep Doors, Windows Locked, Say Police

Burglaries have not been home invasions

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None of the recent rash of burglaries Payson has experienced in the last month have been home invasions, police said.

Payson Police Sgt. Tom Tieman said the majority of the burglaries haven't even been forced entries.

He said one of the reasons burglars have been able to gain access to so many Payson homes, is because they haven't had to break in.

Tieman said burglars have been entering through open windows, partially or completely open garage doors and unlocked front or back doors.

"People need to use more common sense and realize it's not like years ago. We don't live in the same kind of community Payson used to be."

"We have a lot of the same problems and issues as big cities now, and people need need to adjust to that and be a lot more careful about securing their homes, both day and night," Tieman said.

He said the majority of the more than half-dozen recent burglaries have been at unoccupied structures or when residents have been out of town.

Tieman added some of the burglaries have occurred at night, while homeowners have been asleep in their homes.

"No one has been hurt in any of the incidents, but people still need to be a lot more careful or one of these times a simple burglary could turn into something a lot more serious," Tieman said.

Police Chief Don Engler said residents must physically check their locks and make certain they are latched and secure.

"We see lots of open windows, and it's understandable with the great weather we've been having lately, but we all need to be more careful," Engler said.

He also advised residents to periodically check the lock mechanisms on their doors, windows and sheds, and make sure they are working properly, and if not, to replace them without delay.

Payson Police Det. Les Barr said putting wood dowels or braces in windows and sliding doors is a good way to add security to them.

Tieman said lighting dark areas around a house and property is an excellent way to discourage burglars.

"Installing motion sensor lights or light timers, and leaving porch lights on at night are good ways to make burglars think twice," he said. "Remember, criminals are opportunists, if you make it difficult for them to do what they want, they'll go somewhere else."

Barr said installing programmable timers to switch lights on and off in different rooms and at different times, is an excellent way to deter burglars.

Police also advise being very careful about opening a front door to strangers at any time.

Barr said all residents should have a peephole in their front door, and if there isn't, to install one, as soon as possible.

Engler said a key component in putting an end to the string of burglaries in Payson in the last month would be community involvement.

"What I'm talking about is neighbor helping neighbor," he said.

"If citizens will keep their eyes open to anything suspicious, like strangers going up and down a street over and over, or unfamiliar vehicles parked on a street for a long time and call it in right away, it would help us a lot."

Barr said Payson Police offers a neighborhood watch program headed by Payson Police Officer Mike Varga.

He said Varga would speak with any size group about starting a watch program, but they prefer if neighborhoods try to get as many residents involved as are willing, before scheduling an appointment.

Tieman said police believe whoever is responsible for the recent burglaries has been casing their victims' residences before burglarizing them.

"What we need are eyes in the community," Barr said.

Barr said some of the calls police receive come in hours, even days, after the fact and it is difficult for police to follow up on leads by that time.

"When a trail becomes cold, it is almost impossible to do anything," Tieman said.

Tieman said the recent string of burglaries is a top priority in the department.

"We've been getting hit way too hard, lately," he said.

He said police have been able to tie some of the burglaries to the Phoenix area, and have recovered some stolen property from the Valley.

"I'm hoping I can tell you soon we have someone in custody on this one," Engler said.

For more information on the neighborhood watch program, call Payson Police at 928-474-5711.

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