Home Burglaries Increase 9% in Texas

Allstate Urges Homeowners to Stay Off of Thieves' Shopping Lists

Jul 14, 2010, 09:32 ET from Allstate Insurance Company - Texas Region

IRVING, Texas, July 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The number of home burglary claims for Allstate Insurance customers in Texas jumped 9% last year. With many Texans taking trips this summer, the insurer is encouraging people to keep their homes locked-up and their vacation plans under wraps.

In a survey of police departments across the state, Allstate found flat screen televisions are typically the number one target in home burglaries, followed by laptops, jewelry and cash. Some surveyed departments reported an increasing number of home burglaries that are tied to organized criminal activity, like street gangs. Police reported these suspects have "shopping lists" of items to steal and will back into a victim's driveway and knock on the door. If no one answers, police say the perpetrators kick in the door, take items and leave within a few minutes. After the burglary, most of the items end up at an organized fencing operation where they are transported to other cities, states and across the border.

"Not only do these home burglaries disrupt homeowners' lives because their valuables are stolen, but they create a potentially dangerous situation if the theft is interrupted," said David Christopher, an Allstate agent in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. "That's why it's so important for homeowners to take precautions because these thefts can happen anywhere."

Home Theft Breakdown by City

Allstate's home theft numbers increased in most major Texas cities in 2009.


City

Home Theft Change from 2008 to 2009

Austin

+47%

Dallas-Fort Worth

+7%

El Paso

-16%

Houston

+8%

Lubbock

+1%

Rio Grande Valley

+55%

San Antonio

+6%

Waco-Temple-Killeen

+5%




To help safeguard your home and make it less inviting to burglars, here are some safety tips from Allstate:

1. Lock-up

Even if you're just running out on a short errand, make sure all doors and windows are locked. Steel doors and deadbolt locks provide the best security. Also, always keep your garage door shut and locked.  Surveyed police departments said open garage doors are a common entry point for burglars. They make it easier for burglars to lift expensive items, like lawn equipment and tools quickly, and once in a garage, burglars can also work uninterrupted to get into your home.

2. Advertise Deterrents

An alarm system is an excellent deterrent to crime, as long as it's used consistently. The system should include a loud siren and motion sensors. Display security system decals on your windows and doors.

3. Don't publicize your plans

Be careful when tweeting or posting Facebook updates about the vacation you're on or the concert you're at.  Although you're friends' friends may seem trustworthy, you'd be surprised how quickly news spreads that you're not home. Also, if you are away, keep lights on a timer, have your mail and newspaper delivery stopped and ask a family member or trusted neighbor to pick up any packages or flyers left outside.

4. Protect your possessions

Store items like jewelry, cash and weapons in a safe. Be sure valuables like flat-screen televisions are not visible from the street.  Also, create a home inventory of your possessions, including photos and videos of the items, to make filing a claim easier if your home gets burglarized.  If you have questions about making sure certain valuables are properly covered, contact your insurance agent.

The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer. Widely known through the "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®" slogan, Allstate is reinventing protection and retirement to help more than 17 million households insure what they have today and better prepare for tomorrow. Consumers access Allstate insurance products and services through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives in the U.S. and Canada, as well as via www.allstate.com and 1-800 Allstate®.

SOURCE Allstate Insurance Company - Texas Region



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