Carroll County has a traditionally low crime rate, so it’s natural that people who feel safe may leave homes or vehicles unlocked. Unfortunately, that leaves them more susceptible to be victims of property crimes, which make up a majority of the crime in Carroll County.

However, even when you take precautions and lock your doors, it is, sadly no guarantee. Such was the case earlier this week when a home on Uniontown Road in Westminster was broken into overnight, while the homeowners and their family were inside sleeping. Thank goodness, no one was harmed, but keys and wallets were stolen, as was the family’s vehicle, a black Honda Element.


In speaking with the Times, one homeowner described the crime as “brazen” and “unsettling.” We would agree, and note that this type of crime is also statistically unusual.

Even in areas with higher levels of crime, most burglaries occur when people are not home and, contrary to popular belief, don’t typically occur at night. The most popular time for a home invasion to occur is in broad daylight, during the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., because that is when most people are at work and children in school.

But this recent incident is a reminder that it can happen to anyone, at any time, even in seemingly safe communities.

Adding a home security system is a proven, effective way to deter would-be burglars. A 2013 study by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology found that about 60 percent of convicted burglars said the presence of a security system influenced their decision to target another home. A security system, plus the presence of those “protected by” stickers and signs that warn of such a system, can make a crook think twice.

Beyond that, it’s never been less expensive than it is now to purchase home security video cameras or video door bells that can be installed by your front door and around your home. Many can be purchased from Walmart or Amazon for less than $100, and most can easily be connected to your smartphone or other device, and will notify you when activated, even if you’re not at home. And if a brazen burglar decides to break-in anyway, the video may provide police with valuable information to track down the perpetrator.

Car thefts are pretty rare in Carroll County, but obviously they do happen. According to Maryland State Police, a car is stolen every 40 minutes in Maryland. In 60 percent of those cases, vehicles were left unlocked and in about half, keys were stored inside the vehicle. In almost all cases, stolen vehicles had no anti-theft devices.

To help prevent vehicle theft and vehicle break-ins, never store valuables inside your car, especially where they can be seen; never leave your keys inside your vehicle, and always lock and close all windows when you park, even at home.

Unfortunately, not all crime is preventable, as this recent incident illustrates, but much of it is. Take common sense steps to keep your property and possessions safe, and consider investing in a home monitoring system of some sort to deter criminals from targeting your home.