Burglaries in Austin down but prevention still needed - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Burglaries in Austin down but prevention still needed

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Chilling video captures a Houston burglar peering into a crib while the baby is sleeping. What would you do if you discovered someone had been in your home?

Many people have an indoor alarm system, or something to protect themselves if a burglar comes inside, but police say you should be starting with the outside first.

What happens after you fall asleep? It's something most people never get to see.

"It's that quick; grab the kid and out the door," said Melissa Straube, resident.

In this burglary out of Houston, everything was caught on home surveillance cameras. The young suspect is shown walking through the home, making his way to the nursery, even staring at the baby with a flashlight before moving on.

"Very high-risk. Very unusual to see this type of activity. Again, most burglaries occur in the daytime," said Sr. Officer Joshua Visi, Austin Police Crime Prevention.

This case is being compared to one that happened here in Austin.

Police say transient-man Gary Whiteis is behind bars after being connected to several night-time burglaries from over the summer.

"He would actually scout out neighborhoods in the daytime. He would look for houses with the blinds open and find valuables in plain sight like cash, jewelry, electronics, tablets and iPhone's. Then at night, he would break-in," said Visi.

It's a shock for resident Melissa Straube, who recently called police after fearing for her own safety.

"It was just suspicious, the way the car looked and the way it was driving. I watched it for a while and sure enough it was casing the neighborhood. Then it turns out, I saw him a couple days later coming out of another neighborhood. I decided to follow him and sure enough it was very creepy. This is someone who is probably getting into houses and doing really bad stuff," said Straube.

Police say instead of spending thousands of dollars on indoor security, it's better to protect your home from the outside in.

"Although there's some great evidence here, some great video evidence here, the crime has been committed and he's in the house," said Visi.

Something as simple as more lighting and maintaining landscape can keep you from becoming a target.

The Austin Police Department tells us in 2012 there were 5,325 residential burglaries. We saw a small drop in 2013, with 4,624. So far this year it looks like burglaries will be down even more, we are at 1,213.

Police say they have seen a link between truancy or curfew violations among youth and burglaries in our area.

Concerned residents are recommended to join a neighborhood watch group. If your neighborhood doesn't have one, they have training classes at their south sub-station. It is held the first Tuesday of every month.

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