Trenton City Hall: 2800 Third St. Trenton, MI 48183 | Phone: (734) 675-6500 Fax: (734) 675-4088

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Preventing Residential Burglaries

Residential burglaries occasionally occur in the City of Trenton. Although we obtain some "street intelligence" about why a particular neighborhood or specific house was burglarized, and we study these crimes constantly, the fact is we simply are not sure how or why most burglars target their victims. Some burglars drive through our neighborhoods looking for easy targets, while others may have acquaintances that currently or previously lived in Trenton and are familiar with the neighborhood, the residence or occupants.

Daytime residential burglars typically drive around our city during the day when most people are at work looking for nice homes in a quiet area.

A common method used by suspects in residential burglaries is lengthy door knocking and doorbell ringing in an attempt to determine if anyone is home. This method has been used on several occasions in many jurisdictions and is known to precede a burglary. When the door is answered by a resident, the suspect will claim to be lost, solicit some type of service or product, or ask for someone that does not live there. If this happens to you, call the Trenton Police Department immediately at (734) 676-3737 to report a suspicious person.

If you do not want to answer the door, you can always tell the person from behind the closed door that you cannot open it right now, or make a sufficient amount of noise inside to alert the person to your presence. Should someone attempt to break into your home, call 9-1-1 immediately and flee the residence via an exit that is the farthest away from where the suspect is attempting to enter. Cell phones can be carried with you as you leave. Remember to program your cell phones with the Trenton Police Department Emergency Number 9-1-1 which will go directly to our Dispatch Center, however you will need to give the dispatcher your address.

We do know that many residential burglaries occur in open garages where people are home but are either in the house or in the backyard. It is not uncommon for the homeowner to be working in the home or backyard and thieves go through the garage or an unlocked front door to steal valuables. Residents should lock their front doors, even when they are home, and close their garage doors when not present in their front yard.

Finally, we know that in most residential burglaries, the point of entry is the side or rear of the residence, out of sight of any passersby. Often, a burglar breaks in at a rear sliding glass door, kitchen or bedroom window. Many times these access entryways are left unlocked. Where the windows are locked, many burglars will pry open sliding windows or even large sliding doors. The only way to stop these determined burglars is to use some type of pin-locking device that prevents the burglar from removing the sliding door or window from its track.

Once inside, almost all burglars go straight to the master bedroom or other areas where residents will likely store jewelry or cash. If there is no alarm system, burglars will feel they have plenty of time, and the rest of the house will be ransacked. Frequently burglars are after items they can conceal such as jewelry and cash, laptops, cameras, cell phones and credit cards. We strongly recommend that residents find hiding places for any type of valuable keepsakes that cannot be replaced, such as wedding rings or other family heirlooms. You may want to keep such items at the bank in a safety-deposit box.

Good locks, simple precautions, neighborhood awareness, and commonsense can help prevent most property crimes.

So how do you "harden the target" and at least reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of a residential burglary?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Lock all your doors and windows when you leave.
  • Install solid core doors with deadbolt locks (about half of all burglars enter through unlocked doors and windows)
  • Secure sliding glass doors with locks or a rigid wooden dowel wedged in the track or use locking pins.
  • On wooden framed double-hung windows, slide a bolt or nail into a hole drilled at a downward angle through the top of each sash and into the frame.
  • Lock your vinyl windows and utilize the safety lock devices installed on the window to limit opening size.
  • Install a peephole or viewer in all entry doors so you can see who is outside without opening the door.
  • Do not trust door chains. They can be easily broken.
  • Don't open the door to anyone you don't know. Insist service or utility personnel verify their identity before allowing them in. (don't be afraid to call the provider to verify service or that access inside of the home is necessary).
  • Consider owning a dog (burglars hate attention).
  • Consider installing an alarm system.
  • Do not leave jewelry and cash where it is easy to find.
  • Engrave a personal identification number on valuable items such as electronics.
  • Take close-up detailed photos of jewelry and other valuable items.
  • Prepare a personal property inventory of valuable items which includes the items' serial numbers.
  • Use a light timer when away from the home or on vacation.
  • Visually inspect your rear yard. If a burglar slips undetected into your backyard, anticipate how he will try to break into your home and "harden the target."
  • Trim back shrubbery hiding doors or windows. Cut back tree limbs that could help a thief climb to second story windows.
  • Make sure all porches, entrances, and yards are well-lighted.
  • Maintain the neighborhood. Dark alleys, litter, and rundown areas attract criminals.
  • Do not hide house keys in mailboxes, planters, or under doormats.
  • Do not put personal identification on key rings.
  • Leave only your ignition key with mechanics or parking attendants.
  • If you lose the keys to your home or move into a new home, change the locks immediately.
  • Don't give any information to "wrong number" callers.
  • Check references of any person calling about a survey or credit check before offering information.
  • Hang up immediately on threatening or harassing calls. Contact the Trenton Police Department immediately.
  • Don't give anyone information about your home security. If someone is going door to door claiming to be a salesperson and asks about your home security and if you would be interested in an alarm system and wants to come into the home to provide you with a demonstration, simply turn them away.
  • Have a neighbor pick up your mail and newspaper (or have it temporarily stopped) and check on your house periodically when you are on vacation.
  • Be alert. Alert neighbors are responsible for the majority of arrests made in residential burglaries.
  • Report burned out or damaged streetlights.

If something appears suspicious or does not look normal, immediately contact the Trenton Police Department at (734) 676-3737 or dial 911.

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Dept. Contacts

  • Director of Police and Fire Services
    James Nardone
    Phone: (734) 676-7095
  • Chief of Police
    Steven Voss
    Phone: (734) 676-7095
  • Administrative Secretary
    Candace Bacso
    Phone: (734) 676-7095
  • Operations
    Lieutenant Rick Tanguay
    Phone: (734) 676-4230
  • Detective Bureau
    D/Sgt. Mike Oakley
    Phone: (734) 493-3864
  • Detective Bureau
    D/Sgt. Tim Fox
    Phone: (734) 493-3866
  • Detective Bureau
    Det. Scott Stadler
  • Platoon Lieutenant
    Todd Tincher
    Phone: (734) 676-3737
  • Platoon Lieutenant
    Randy Woods
    Phone: (734) 676-3737
  • Platoon Lieutenant
    Deborah Petraska
    Phone: (734) 676-3737
  • Platoon Lieutenant
    Mark Miller
    Phone: (734) 676-3737