Chicago aldermen on the Northwest Side said they have received a lot of complaints lately about burglaries in their neighborhoods, so they decided to bring in some experts: convicted burglars.
On a recent rainy night, about 120 neighbors sat around folding tables at the St. Francis Borgia Catholic Church for a program called “Keeping it Real,” a collaboration between Chicago police and the Safer Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps people with criminal records re-enter society.
Alderman often host Keeping it Real events in their ward if there is a spike in burglaries or if they feel their residents could benefit from a little extra, albeit blunt, insight on how to best protect their home.
Some of the burglars’ tips:
- Keep your cat away from windows while you’re out of town. “Your cats seem to stand in the window, because who are they waiting on? You guys,” said one former burglar. “So we know nobody’s home, because your cat is desperately at the window.”
- Think your little pup’s bark is enough to keep burglars away? Think again: “If you have a chihuahua, Shih Tzu, pomeranian, whatever. Nine out of 10, they’re going in the pillow case.”
- The bigger the dog, the better. “We would never go in the house if there was pitbull in there, rottweiler or something.”
- Make sure your door is the same material as your door frame. Mixing metal and wood makes it easier for burglars to kick the door in.
- Don’t forget to close your windows, especially the bathroom window: “It’s always open.”
- Maybe stick around when the cable guy visits. “I have inside people (who work for home security companies) that would give me codes and a heads up.”
Lauren Chooljian covers city politics for WBEZ. Follow her @laurenchooljian.