Police offer tips to protect against burglaries

Published 10:25 am Thursday, November 5, 2015

Many break-ins, thefts tied to illegal drug use

Illegal drug abuse is a contributing factor to many of the burglaries and thefts in Albert Lea, according to Public Safety Director Dwaine Winkels.

Winkels said there have been methamphetamine addicts who have committed numerous burglaries or thefts in one night. He said illegal drug users often commit the crimes to support their habits.

Dwaine Winkels

Dwaine Winkels

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To avoid being burglarized, Winkels advised people to not associate with those who are involved with drugs and to lock possessions and doors.

“They’re doing it at their own risk,” Winkels said of people who don’t lock their items. “If you have something you don’t want others to take, you should take the minimal effort to secure it.”

He said most residential burglaries are committed by people who know the victim and the details of the home.

Winkels encouraged the use of motion detectors in preventing burglaries and thefts.

He said knowing your neighbors is key to staying safe, and he advised residents to report suspicious activity.

Winkels said business areas are frequent places where thefts and burglaries take place, but noted there isn’t a specific problem area in the community.

According to police records, there were 535 thefts reported in Albert Lea in 2014, slightly less than the 550 reported in 2013 and 609 reported in 2012.

There were 70 burglaries reported in Albert Lea  in 2014, less than the 101 reported in 2013 and 86 reported in 2012.

There were 10 burglaries in progress reported in 2014, compared to six in 2013 and four in 2012.

Many of the burglaries the department sees involve tools and other equipment, Winkels said.

He said a lot of thefts go unreported because the victims don’t think there is a chance the perpetrators can be caught.

Winkels advised anyone who has noticed anything stolen to report it. He said by reporting it, a resident could prevent someone else from becoming a victim.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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