Burglary is on the rise

Burglary is on the rise, and those growing numbers of break-ins have the police director pleading with city council not to slash his budget.

While police have a job to do, crime fighting is everyone's responsibility.

That's why Action News Five is presenting a special Crime Tracker report this week.

We hired an ex-con to help us teach you (among other things) about how crooks case your home and what you can do to make sure your don't become their target.

A retired Marine. A Vietnam veteran. And once upon a time, Bob was a burglar.

Bob Portenier said,

"The people who live in these houses: you're going to get expensive golf clubs, you're going to get jewelry, some pharmaceuticals, maybe some guns."

Bob served eight years in prison for his crimes in the 1970s. Since his release, Bob has devoted his life to helping people avoid falling victim to criminals!

We cruised random Cordova subdivisions to learn from a one time master thief how criminals might case your property.

For example, there's a strong iron fence around one front door.

Reporter: "But he's got the garage door wide open.

Bob: "And that door there is unlocked."

Reporter: "What specifically were you looking for, just an easy target? Just a place with the least resistance?"

Bob: "Pretty Much. I was looking for places where I could operate with a degree of concealment, behind bushes or shrubs, or in a concealed doorway, where observation would be at a minimum as far as neighbors go or where they could hear the break-in. If I saw a lot of kids toys in the yard, I'd bypass that house because I'd figure they were spending the majority of their money on their kids."

Bob sees an opportunity with Azaleas.

"Not only do they look nice. They absorb sound. So you think about how quickly you can break-in and what little noise you are going to make in that effort. And the people across the street are not going to hear diddly."

Bob spots home after home where even a nosy neighbor might have a hard time seeing a break-in.

"Now see there are two other homes, there are only two homes that could see a break-in at this house."

So Bob spots the easy pickings. But the real pros take this casing business one step farther:

Reporter: "There are a lot of houses with no car in the driveway. So it's open season for a burglary?"

Bob: "Pretty much. See when we do the second half of the casing is when we do the survey."

Tonight at ten, we'll show you how professional burglars case your house by ringing your doorbell and innocently enough, trick their potential victims into revealing key information.

You may be astounded at how Bob got a Cordova mother of two to reveal when her house would be vulnerable to a burglary.

Join us for a fresh episode of Home Safe Home tonight at ten!