‘Guard your windows, lock your doors’: A warning from police in Lancaster County

COLUMBIA, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. -- Police in Lancaster County issue a warning for residents: 'Guard your windows. Lock your doors'.

That's because officers with Columbia Borough Police Department are investigating several vehicle break-ins and attempted break-ins as well as an attempted break-in at a home.

Police say a dog is likely the reason a burglar decided not to break into a home on Houston Street in Columbia.

"It was very aggressive because of the situation, and it alerted them to something going on downstairs," explained Sergeant Jim Jacobs, Columbia Borough Police Department.

They say the same crook cut holes into the first floor window; the incident started a conversation about safety on the block.

"I have an alarm on my backdoor, so if anybody comes in, it sounds off, and I have a deadbolt on this door," explained Sarah Hill.

"I call it the 9 p.m. routine. You should go around and check all your ground floor windows doors. Make sure they're locked up and secured," added Jacobs. "It is nice to have exterior lighting. Motion lights help."

Sergeant Jacobs says it's also a good idea to leave a tv or even a light on inside the home to give the impression someone is there even if no one is.

Strike plates provide an extra layer of security.

"That way, somebody can't get a card behind that and get to the bolt," explained Jacobs.

Police are also reminding people to lock their car doors.

"A lot of people have the mentality they don't want their windows broken. I think in my career here, two decades, I have had myself maybe two break-ins where they actually smashed a windows," said Jacobs.

Basically, police say use common sense -- don't keep valuables in the car, and if you have to, make sure to hide those belongings well.

"Lock your doors. Lock your cars. Don't keep nothing valuable. Maybe get a dog," added Hill.

Police are reminding people that flower pots, picnic tables, and chairs can be used to climb into windows higher off the ground.

They say a window wedge can allow air into the house but prevent the window from being open past a certain point.

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