SALT LAKE CITY — When asked what violent crime concerns us, Utahns most often say burglary. We went straight to an unlikely source looking for ways to stay safe.
We got an ex-con's expert advice on simple things you can do to avoid a burglary. Here's one of the most common deterrents — a dog. But which one do you think works better, a mean-looking Doberman, or Kaiser at 25 pounds? We'll ask the expert.
Therron Arrington has done the crime and the time. He knows what burglars look for and how to get it.
"I was making, I'd say, $800 a day at one point," said Arrington, who is a parolee. When asked if it was hard, he replied "No, actually."
What would make him choose your house?
"It's the lighting," said Arrington. "That's the first thing that would bring me to it because it's dark. And lights, if they're within hand's reach you can turn them off. ... I've shot them out the day before with a BB gun." Then you come back? "Yea, so it's dark."
Given a choice, he'll enter your house through a window, so make sure they're secure.
"First off, the screen's a little bit of a deterrent. If it's a turn latch, it's going to be hard to get into," said Arrington. "If it's one of those snap ones, you can usually pop it off."
Locking doors is obvious, but don't forget the doors adjoining the house from a garage or shed. Here's another tip, keep valuables like tools or wave runners out of sight, so you don't catch a burglar's attention.
Also, lock your trailer hitch. Many times, he simply backed in and drove off with snowmobiles or four-wheelers.
What about stickers warning of a home's security system? He says they get noticed, but only stop a thief if the alarm works.
"Usually they'll check it and then pop the glass and wait," said Arrington. Then the thief waits for the alarm to go off.
According to Mike Hamideh of the Salt Lake City police department, police agree these little things can make a big difference, and some departments will even make home visits to give advice.
"Little things you can do to make changes that aren't that expensive, changes, the actual evaluation is free," said Hamideh.
So which dog is your best defense? Our expert says whichever one will bark. So Kaiser or some yapper dog is a perfect way to send away a burglar before he even gets to your door.