Madison Police Share Burglary Prevention Tips

by Safety Connection

July 27, 2022

Do you know how to deter thieves from breaking into your home or business? Below are some burglary prevention tips from Detective Sergeant Scott Reitmeier of the Madison Police Department. He offered a presentation this morning to our friends at Triad (RSVP of Dane County) and we’ll share the link to that recording when it becomes available! (Update: the link is here).

The Madison Police Department’s Burglary Crime Unit (BCU) is currently short-staffed and they are down several detectives, which affects their work. Every day Sgt. Reitmeier reads every single burglary report in the city and assigns what he can to detectives, etc. “There are not many of us, so we are struggling all the time to figure out what we should spend our time on,” he said. A lot of additional work has been added with the increased focus on stolen autos on MPD’s summer strategic plan, as that work now falls under the BCU.

What is the Definition of a Burglary?

Burglary is a specific type of crime, and people are often confused about what exactly constitutes a burglary. The definitions below should help bring clarity:

Burglary: someone intentionally enters a building, dwelling, etc., without owner’s consent with intent to steal. Felony offense. 

Theft: someone intentionally takes or carries away the movable property of another without owner’s consent with intent to permanently deprive the owner of possession. (If less than $2,500 to repair or replace, it is a misdemeanor offense; if greater than $2,500, a felony.)

Robbery: with intent to steal, someone takes property from the person by EITHER using force, threatening the imminent use of force, or threatening the use of a dangerous weapon (on victim’s reasonable belief). This is a felony offense. 

Receiving Stolen Property: knowingly or intentionally receiving or concealing stolen property. (Misdemeanor if less than $2,500, Felony if over $2,500.)

The Burglary Crime Unit only concerns itself with burglaries.

2022 City of Madison Stats YTD – Where Did They Break In?

So far in 2022 (as of 7-26-22), there have been 484 burglaries in the City of Madison. In 267 of those burglaries (55%), a thief or thieves used force to gain access. The majority of burglaries occurred at residences, and the highest concentration was on the Isthmus. The most common locations for 2022 burglaries so far in the city of Madison are ranked below:

– Residence/Home (328)

– Restaurant (35)

– Specialty Store (22)

– Commercial/Office Building (20)

– Other (18)

– Construction Site (15)

– Rental Storage Facility (13)

– Parking Lot/Ramp (12)

– Department Store (6)

– Bar/Nightclub (5)

– Hotel/Motel (5)

– Gas Station (4)

Burglaries seem to peak from late Saturday into early Sunday.

HOW Did They Break In?

The most common entry points for burglaries so far this year in Madison were:

– Door (217)

– Garage (146)

– Unknown (70)

– Window (50)

– Balcony (6)

– Wall/Ceiling (3)

– Backyard Access (2)

What Tools Did They Use to Break In?

The most common tools used in burglaries were:

– Pry bar

– Jack

– Screwdriver

– Knife

– Torch

– Bat

– Hammer

– Personal (kick, hands/feet) 

– Rocks/Brick/Stone

– Drill

– Saw

What Can Residents Do To Prevent Burglaries?

Fortunately, many of these are crimes of opportunity and there is a role we can all play to help keep ourselves and our things safe.

At home:

– LIGHT IT! Upgrade outdoor lighting or install motion lights

– SECURITY. Consider a home security system

– CAMERAS. Install interior/exterior cameras

– DOCUMENT your property. Write down serial numbers, photograph valuables

– SHARE INFORMATION and prevention tips with your neighbors

– LOCK your homes and cars, even when you’re home

– PARK IN THE GARAGE and lock your car in the garage

– KEEP YOUR GARAGE DOOR DOWN even when you’re out mowing

– LOCK your garage door when you are in for the night, or unplug it

– LOCK the door between garage and house

– INVEST in a garage door app, which will alert you if your garage door is open

– SECURE your valuables, especially car keys and guns

– CALL 911 immediately to report suspicious persons or behaviors

Going on Vacation?

– TIMERS. Use timers to activate lights

– HOLD MAIL or arrange for someone to pick it up

– EXTERIOR. Have someone shovel your sidewalk/driveway or mow grass to make it look lived in

– HOME CHECK. Have a neighbor or friend stop by and check on your home and/or notify MPD you will be gone and request their Vacation Watch program

Theft From Auto Prevention

– LOCK vehicle doors and close windows

– NEVER leave unattended vehicle running, even for a minute

– LIGHT it. Park in well-lit areas

– LOCK your steering wheel with a device (like the Club), especially if you drive a Kia or Hyundai

– REMOVE or conceal valuables (especially loose change, backpacks and purses, laptops, cell phones, garage door openers, and GUNS). MPD is constantly getting reports from people whose guns were stolen out of unsecured vehicles 

– be ALERT. Make sure no one follows you into a secure parking garage

**Be sure to check back in a few days to get the link to the recording of this excellent presentation!**

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