Over the weekend, a 12-year-old girl from Sand Springs got quite a scare when two men broke into her home.
The girl told reporters that she heard a knock at the door Saturday morning, but that "something just told" her not to open the door. She became concerned that they kept knocking and didn't go away. When she peeked out a window, she saw two men, one of whom was wearing a fluorescent vest and wearing a hard hat. Believing the men to be utility workers, she became less frightened. However, before she could decide to open the door, the men kicked in a back door to the home. The girl hid in a closet, and when the intruders discovered her, they fled.
Police are looking for the two suspects.
Burglary is the act of illegally breaking and entering into a home with the intent to commit a crime--typically theft. Whether the act is determined to be first degree burglary--typically the case for a "home invasion robbery,"--or second degree burglary depends upon whether or not the house is occupied.
Often, in cases such as the one described above, first degree burglary is unintentional. The intruder breaks into a home he or she believes to be unoccupied, only to discover that a resident is home. These cases can quickly turn deadly if an armed homeowner shoots the intruder in self defense, or if a startled intruder panics and harms the home occupants.
One of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from a home invasion is to prevent any attempted burglary. The holidays are a prime time for home burglaries, simply because would-be thieves understand that many homes are stocked with new, unopened gifts, including expensive electronics, jewelry, and high-end products. Additionally, many families travel during the holidays, leaving their homes unattended and vulnerable to burglary. It is important to protect one's home at any time, but the holidays give a renewed interest in preventing burglaries.
Following are some simple tips for preventing home burglary and home invasions:
- Invest in a home security system.
- Keep doors and windows locked at all times.
- Install motion detector lights.
- Keep your garage door closed. An open garage can "advertise" your valuables, even if you are at home.
- Be cautious when discarding boxes in the trash. A big-screen television box at your curb lets thieves know you have expensive electronics inside.
- Keep windows and doorways free of landscaping and decorative items that can hide an intruder.
- Keep a radio or television running. Most would-be burglars do not want to enter an occupied home.
- Keep valuables and important documents in a safe or lockbox, and store them in a hidden area of the home--not the master bedroom, which is one of the first places thieves will look for jewelry.
In Oklahoma, first degree burglary is punishable by 7 to 20 years in prison. Second degree burglary is punishable by 2 to 7 years in prison.
Image Credit: Mark Turnauckus