Tulsa home burglary statistics: Tips to help secure your belongings and house from burglars

TULSA COUNTY, Okla. - Six minutes.

That's how long it took for burglars to clean out a house during a demonstration as Broken Arrow police helped 2NEWS show how fast residential burglaries can happen.

Crime statistics reported by Tulsa Metro Police Departments show a home burglary happens on average every 14 and a half minutes. Nationally, a burglary happens every 15 seconds.

And, what may surprise you, 65 percent of home burglaries happen during the day when you're at work, shopping or just running errands.

"They don't want to have any kind of contact with the homeowner, typically, so they're going to come to the house during the daytime, when there's easier access to the house and to avoid detection," said Corporal Leon Calhoun with the Broken Arrow Police Department.

What are burglars looking for?

Not your precious paintings, crystal or silver. It might be precious to you but burglars want things they can easily carry and quickly sell for cash like jewelry, guns, prescription medications and electronics like cell phones, computers, tablets or iPads and televisions.

They're also after ways to steal from you a second time so they'll take bank statements, check books, medical bills and other mail that has your personal information on it so they can steal your identity.

Not only that, burglars will look for car keys and garage door openers so they can get back in your house easily, then potentially drive off in your car with more of your stuff.

Broken Arrow police helped us show how quickly a burglary can happen. We put eight cameras in a house in the rooms most often hit by burglars. Corporal Calhoun said burglars usually head straight for the master bedroom because that's where most of us tend to keep our valuables like jewelry, cash, guns and prescription medications.

Burglars often take the homeowner's pillowcases to haul off the loot. They also target home offices and living rooms looking for electronics and personal information.

"I wouldn't wish it on anybody. I really wouldn't," said Angie O'Dea. She knows what it's like to be the victim of burglars.

"They took everything from flat screen TVs, camcorders, my son's gaming equipment, tons of jewelry."

The burglars also stole her sense of security in her own home. That's because burglars invade your most private, personal space.

"We just felt like we lived in a safe neighborhood and we all look out for each other as neighbors and we just couldn't believe it," said O'Dea.

Calhoun told 2NEWS no neighborhood is immune to burglaries, but there are a number of strategies for making your home less of a target.

-- Keep trees and shrubs trimmed away from doors and windows so burglars can't hide from your neighbors while breaking in.

-- Post stickers on windows and doors indicating you have an alarm --- even if you don't.  Putting up a fake surveillance camera adds to the illusion someone is always watching your house.

-- Pick up your mail and newspaper daily -- have them stopped if you're out of town, or picked up by a trusted neighbor daily.

-- Leave a TV or radio on when you're not home to make it sound like there's always someone inside.

-- Use timers to randomly turn lights, TVs and radios on and off in your home when you're not there especially during daylight hours when most home burglaries occur.

-- Put up a sign that says you have a big dog and put a big dog bowl by your back door. Burglars tend to stay away from dogs.

-- Use a motion detector in your home to turn on lights if a door or window opens.

-- Never hesitate to call police if you see anyone unusual or acting suspicious in your neighborhood since most burglars watch a target home before breaking in.

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