Unfortunately, property crimes across this country, not just in Fullerton, are difficult to solve. There is often little to no evidence, and personal items are often challenging to trace. Even those items like serialized property are rarely identified by owners because they neglect to record the serial numbers themselves. They assume the number(s) are on a receipt, or the store would have them. It is also difficult to look for “46 inch Sharp TV” on Craig’s List when there are no serial numbers to check it with. When we do have evidence, like fingerprints or possible DNA, it is processed and sometimes comes up as a match. This will typically lead to an arrest warrant, or at least questioning. When we detect trends in time and place, we can deploy units to conduct surveillance of an area. Our detectives also meet with detectives from other agencies to talk about potential trends. We use our detectives, patrol officers, as well as our crime analyst to identify trends. As far as safeguards and precautions, the first is easy: lock your doors and windows. You would be surprised how often a burglar gains entry into a house through an unlocked rear sliding glass door or window. Keeping your garage door closed is also helpful. Many thefts occur when the resident is home, but with the garage door open. Also, record the serial numbers of serialized electronics so that if the items are stolen, the police can input that information into the computer. Alarms can be helpful in getting the police to a home, but probably not in time to catch the thieves. There is usually a significant delay, and the thief will know he/she tripped an alarm by the sounds and other cues. I don’t have information on the effectiveness of dogs as a deterrent. I do know that many burglaries happen when the thief gains access from the rear yard, so anything that would make a burglar think twice about going in a back yard would probably be beneficial. I also do not have information on whether the residents in the burglaries mentioned below had dogs or alarms or not.
FPD Acting Chief Dan Hughes says this video offers a good look at how burglars operate.