Evanston police who interviewed three people recently arrested on burglary charges say the suspects told them that residents in north Evanston make it easy for burglars to ply their trade.

The police say far too many reidents leave doors and windows open or unlocked on their cars and homes.

The police advise homeowners — in addition to locking up — to make use of the following guidelines to make the burglar’s job harder:

  • Make your house look lived in when you’re away. Never let items pile up in the mailbox or on the porch. It sends the message that no one is home.
  • Arrange with a trusted neighbor to pick up your mail, newspapers, and garbage cans. They live in your neighborhood and know what looks suspicious in the area.
  • Do not stop the mail or paper delivery. You never know who is taking the call on the other end.
  • Make arrangements with trusted friends, neighbors or family to cut the lawn and maintain the landscaping.
  • Set automatic timers for interior and exterior lights, radio and TVs. Turn the ringer down on the phone. A ringing phone alerts others that no one is home.
  • Leave your window shades in their normal position, or have your house-watcher move the window shade positioning throughout your vacation. Do not close the blinds.
  • Lock your valuables in a safe deposit box or fire safe. Document all valuables via video tape and place this and important serial numbers in your safe deposit box.
  • Notify the police department and request a special watch or vacation watch. Let police know which vehicles belong at the residence.
  • Lock all ladders and lawn supplies in a shed or garage.
  • Take your garage door openers out of your vehicles. Remove important papers and documents with personal information on them. Have vehicles moved on occasion, so as to not be parked in one spot all the time.
  • Make sure your burglar and fire alarms are in working order. Test them with the alarm company. Make sure your alarm company has an updated call list.
  • Secure your windows by pinning them and place a security bar in the track of your sliding glass doors.
  • Leave emergency contact information with the police or a trusted neighbor.
  • Consider forming a neighborhood watch program. If interested contact the crime prevention unit at 847-866-5019.
  • If you see a suspicious person trying door handles or looking into vehicles, call 911 or the police non-emergency number, 847-866-5000.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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