With summer approaching, the Howard County Police Department is urging residents to secure themselves against one of summer's most common crimes: burglaries resulting from open or unsecured garage doors.
Since January 1999, the county's Police Department has handled 118 such burglaries, said Sgt. John Superson, police spokesman.
"This is something we experience every year when the weather starts breaking," he said.
In some cases, burglars have gotten into a closed garage by stealing garage openers from unlocked cars in driveways, Superson said.
In others, they have crept into a home through an open garage door - even with residents on the premises, doing yardwork.
Stolen items include bicycles, golf clubs, pocketbooks, athletic equipment and tools, he said.
The Police Department urges residents to follow these precautions:
Keep garages and vehicles locked and secured at all times.
Never leave any door unlocked, including room doors leading to a garage.
Report all suspicious people to police.
Use exterior lights at night and put them on timers or motion detectors.
Get to know your neighbors and community police liaison leaders.
Engrave valuables with your driver's license number.
Register bicycles on the Internet at http://www.co.ho.md.us/police.
Superson said it's far easier to prevent property crimes than to solve them.
"Property crimes are harder to solve because you don't confront a suspect," he said. "... It's tougher, and that's why we like to have individuals report anything suspicious. You don't even need to leave your name."