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?