Home invasion April 25 the first time in LincolnBy: Carol Percy, Reporter Lincoln News Messenger
Tips to keep your home safe from burglars
Rich Ragan, volunteer coordinator for Citizens on Patrol (COP), a volunteer group that assists the Lincoln Police Department, said there are a number of measures that residents can take to protect their home from burglars.
- Always keep your door locked
- Put a half-inch dowel in window frame channels to keep windows and sliding doors from opening beyond a couple of inches
- Put timers on lights when leaving the house
- Inform neighbors when you’ll be away from the home
- Remove newspapers, boxes and fliers from in front of the house
- Request a “Vacation-Check” service from the police department (COP volunteers provide a house check for vacationers).
“Of course none of these measures take the place of other forms of security,” Ragan added.
Crimedoctor.com, an Internet site with tips for safe-guarding the home noted that burglars often case neighborhoods and homes looking for easy targets. The site offered these tips for home protection:
- Keep all entrances well-lighted, especially around entrance points
- Use the peephole before opening the door for anyone
- Don’t use the chain-latch to open the door part way
- Don’t open the door for solicitors and strangers
- Install solid-core doors and heavy-duty locks
- Keep windows and blinds drawn.
Although home invasion crimes are common in large cities, an April 25 home invasion on Hollingsworth Drive may have been the first crime of its type in Lincoln.
That’s according to Lincoln Police Det. Sgt. Terry Kennedy.
“We can’t recall ever having had a home invasion in Lincoln before this one,” Kennedy said. “With that said, we can’t guarantee one will never happen again.”
At about 3:25 a.m. April 25, police officers were dispatched to a residence in the 1400 block of Hollingsworth Drive on a report of a home invasion robbery, according to Lincoln Police.
Two suspects wearing all black clothing, gloves and ski masks entered the victim’s residence through an unlocked door, according to police. The masked suspects held the resident at gun point and demanded various electronic items, according to police. The victims were not harmed in the incident and the suspects fled the area prior to the officers’ arrival, according to police.
“We believe they (suspects) might have known the resident,” Kennedy said.
According to Kennedy, the suspects are not known, as of press time.
“We talked to some persons of interest but no new leads were developed,” Kennedy said.
The home invasion may not have been random, according to Kennedy, and police suspect that the residence may have been specifically targeted. The suspects did not kick in the entry door, Kennedy said, and it was unlocked. Also, police were suspicious because of the type of items the robbers stole, he said.
Police said electronics items were taken.
“We believe they might have known the resident,” he added.
One Hollingsworth resident, a retired policeman who asked to remain anonymous, told The News Messenger that he suspected drugs were the cause of the break in.
“You can bet that if somebody broke into a home at 3:30 in the morning, it was drug-related,” the neighbor said.
Kennedy said police did not, at this time, “think the incident was either drug or gang related.”
“However, we’re not ruling it out,” Kennedy said.
Some Hollingsworth Drive residents were shocked to learn April 25 that a neighbor was a home-invasion victim. Although they asked to remain anonymous, several made comments to The News Messenger.
“We’ve lived here since the ’80s,” said a woman who lived mid-block on Hollingsworth Drive. “This is a nice, quiet family neighborhood.”
She said that “the worst things that have happened over the years have included a stolen car taken from an unlocked garage and beer stolen from a neighbor’s garage refrigerator.”
Another woman on the block said that she had a near break-in two weeks prior. The incident occurred about midnight when she “was resting in a darkened house when someone jiggled the front door knob and then I heard someone at the back of the house trying to break into the kitchen window.”
“He was wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt,” she said. The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said the suspect ran away when she turned on her burglar alarm. She did not report the crime to police because she “hadn’t seen the man clearly enough to describe him.”
Kennedy said that one of the best way residents can avoid being targeted for a home invasion is to be aware of their surroundings.
“People should know what’s happening in their neighborhoods, know what’s normal activity and what’s out of place. They should know who their neighbors are and report to the police anything suspicious in their areas,” Kennedy said.
Lincoln Interim Chief of Police Dan Ruden urges residents to call in with information or tips for the police.
“We rely so much on what people out in the community know,” Ruden said. “The process is cumulative and different for every crime. People see something, they hear something; they give us a piece of information that leads to something else.”
The Lincoln Police Department asks residents to call the department’s business line at 645-4040 if they have any information.