Thursday, February 8, 2007
Don't Be a Victim: Burglary
Tonight a different twist on our series Don't Be a Victim. Here are some steps you can take to help police catch a thief if your home is broken into. 7's J.P. Hervis has the tips.
You are now a burglary victim.
Sergeant Mike Frevola of the Coral Gables Police Department says you can help catch that thief if you know what to do.
Sgt. Mike Frevola: "If you enter your house, and you realize your house has been burglarized, back out immediately and call the police."
Getting out fast is important because the thief might still be in there.
And you want to make sure you don't jeopardize evidence the burglar left behind.
Sgt. Mike Frevola: "We do not want you going in there and touching everything and moving stuff around because, if you do, you contaminate the crime scene."
Crime scene technicians, like Natalie Puente of Coral Gables Police, will go through your home with a fine-toothed comb.
She needs you to tell her what is out of place.
Natalie Puente: "If the victim observes anything that may have been left behind by the subject -- such as a screwdriver, a crowbar, sunglasses, baseball hat -- do not touch it. Let the crime scene technician collect it as evidence."
Technicians will also take photos and dust for fingerprints.
If you go around touching everything, you could ruin good evidence.
Natalie Puente: "Let us go through first. We are going to have you walking with us to make sure you can point to us certain items that are missing or moved from a particular area."
J.P. Hervis: "Police say there's actually something you can do to help in an investigation even before your home is burglarized. All you have to do is walk around your house with a camera."
Police say it's amazing how many people forget what they have under the stress of being burglarized.
Natalie Puente: "Photograph the I.D. number, keep a record of it, because, God forbid, something does happen, and you do get your stuff stolen, it makes our job a lot easier if we find it."
And the goal of police is to get your stuff back.
So if you are a victim, step back and let them do their job.