Burglary alert and home security tips: Rash of 15 hits NWest Side, thieves like doggie doors

A rash of burglaries is plaguing the Northwest Side, with about 15 of the crimes since early August, according to a news release from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

Sliding glass doors give burglars a field day/Thinkstock

The burglars are easily sneaking into the homes through a back sliding glass door or unsecured doggie door.

To make it even creepier, they are stealing into the houses at night, while residents are home asleep.

Creepier still, Tucson police say most of the burglaries around town are from unskilled thieves who frequently break into our homes with rocks, screwdrivers and pliers in anywhere from four to 45 seconds.

The latest rash has targeted neighborhoods located north of Ruthrauff and south of Ina roads; west of Oracle Road and east of Interstate 10.

But anyone can be a target.

Tucson police statistics reveal burglaries are alive and well within city limits as well, with our fair Old Pueblo averaging about 13 per day. Statistics through July of this year reveal 3,319 burglaries, no surprise since we had 4,989 in 2009 and 5,063 in 2008.

We can always do what Alabama granny Ethel Jones did. The 69-year-old feisty femme blasted a would-be burglar in the stomach one recent 3 a.m. with a gun she keeps beneath the pillow next to her.

While she was shaken up by the incident and “hated that it happened,” she still told NBC news, “He should have known better.”

The 18-year-old wanna-be-thief survived and is facing second-degree burglary charges – as well as violating his probation from a previous burglary charge.

Art and photo Ryn Gargulinski

In case we don’t happen to have a gun, or an extra pillow under which to hide it, there are other ways to deter burglars.

Top 5 ways to deter a burglar

Lock doors, windows and gates. Put a dowel, wood slat or other locking mechanism on windows and sliding glass doors.

Beware of the doggie door. Police say any opening larger than 12 inches by 9 inches is big enough for a burglar. Make sure your dog knows what to do if a human attempts to crawl through it. Good dog.

Call 911 to report suspicious vehicles or persons in the neighborhood and when your security alarm goes off, even if nothing appears to be disturbed.

Give you home a security makeover. Security enhancements include locking pins in windows, screws in the top frame of the sliding glass door so it can’t be lifted off the frame and others outlined in the Tucson Police Department’s Home Security booklet.

Put away the ladder and trim those bushes. Leaving a ladder, screwdrivers, pliers and other tools laying around is like inviting a burglar to come use them to break into your home. Bushy bushes give burglars a place to hide. Install one of those really bright, obnoxious flood lights. We know, putting away the ladder is a pain in the rear. But it’s less painful than having some guy come breaking in through your skylight.

When all else fails, there’s always the Alabama granny tactic. Just get yourself a gun, an extra pillow – and a really good aim.



Additional burglary deterrents:

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department has a slew of dedicated Sheriff’s Auxiliary Volunteers who will come to your house and do a home safety check. Interested? Call the Crime Prevention Division of the Sheriff’s Auxiliary Volunteers at 351-4685.

Click HERE for Tucson Police Department Home Security booklet or use the direct link at http://tpdinternet.tucsonaz.gov/PDFs/home_security_booklet.pdf

What do you think?

Has your home every been burglarized?

What did you do?

What home security measures do you take?

Do you like the word “burgle” as a verb?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at ryngargulinski.com.
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13 Responses to Burglary alert and home security tips: Rash of 15 hits NWest Side, thieves like doggie doors

  1. tiponeill says:

    I have trouble believing that doggie door thing. I would advise any potential burglar to avoid houses known to have large dogs living within.
    Unless, of course, they want to meet Satan 🙂
    As long as he’s around, I’m not worried about burglers

    • Rynski says:

      maybe the burglars hitting homes with big dogs come armed with big, raw steaks?

      …and i apologize in advance but i just cannot resist the following cornballish and oxymoronic phrase:
      thank god you have satan.

  2. andrew farley says:

    I had one burgler I caught red handed. He had an armful of stuff from my home and I grabbed him and took all my stuff back. Strange, everything was shiney brass. A brass bugle, brass propeller, brass putter, brass sparkplug and a roll of paper towells. I was perplexed! Diane made me go back and get him and bring him back after I sent him back out in the desert. Seems he was just lost, dehydrated, dazed and confused from wandering out in the desert. We hosed him down from the heat and gave him gatorade and beans. He wasn’t a burgler at all but a new age minister on some trek across the desert. “rosebud”itc

    • Rynski says:

      dear rosebud,
      wow – he must have thought all the brass stuff was a shiny oasis.
      how kind of you to hose him down and give him beans. was the gatorade the bright yellow one? where do you get brass paper towels?

  3. fraser007 says:

    So, who are these burglars? Anybody want to hazard a guess? Didnt think so…..

    • Rynski says:

      no further information, such as a description of any suspects, was immediately available. we do, however, surmise the motive was either financial gain or to see if the suspects could, in fact, fit through a doggie door.

      • fraser007 says:


        You are a sweetheart. Should I say who do we watch for. North Dakota farmers?  Who does the robberies of homes in Tucson? Can someone describe the types of people who committ these things. I just want to know who pulls these things off.

      • Rynski says:

        i’ll sit here and wait with you as you bait the audience! hhahahaha.

  4. azmouse says:

    That would be a nightmare to wake up and find strangers ransacking your house.

    • Rynski says:

      i know one woman who turned her burglar-in-the-bedroom experience into a one-woman play. it was hilarious – MONTHS afterwards – but at the time she admittedly was terrorized.
      it would also be hard to sleep soundly again in the same house/bed. although if anyone came near my house, there would be no sleeping soundly with bark-o-rama phoebe in the first place.

  5. Alan in Kent WA says:

    Over the 13 years I lived in TOP, I only had my tools stolen twice.

    • Rynski says:

      that’s not bad odds at all – although ZERO would still be preferable. i trust you had not left them outside with the ladder in the yard with an unlocked gate…(haha)

  6. Peter Rogers says:

     One important tip is missing. Burglaries are up in general, and one happens somewhere in the US every 15 seconds (most of them are at homes, during the day, with an average loss is over $2,000). The best deterrent is a monitored alarm system, and you are three time more likely to experience a beak0in without one. Most burglaries are random opportunistic events, and in a surprising number, the bad guy does not even have to force an entry – people don’t even keep all their doors and windows locked.
    Oh, and if you look into alarm systems, check out the wireless ones with cellular monitoring – they are the safest: no phone required, and no phone line for the bad guys to cut.
    Note: I work at FrontPoint Security (www.frontpointsecurity.com), a leading US provider of these advanced systems. You have lots of options for providers, so shop hard and check the reviews for any company you consider. And be safe!

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