Lights discourage burglars

On the trail of burglars

It took a long time to get the horror out of the little one's mind. Smashed windows and lifted doors, devastated offices and group rooms. Two years ago, strangers broke into the Action Kindergarten in Ebenhausen three times within a relatively short period of time. “The first few weeks after that were very strange,” recalls director Daniela Koch.

If even the teachers have a queasy feeling when they walk through the kindergarten alone in the dark early on, how should the children feel? “They reacted differently,” says Koch. Some boys have made pistols out of toilet paper rolls to defend their kindergarten against bad men. The girls in particular wanted to talk a lot about the break-ins. But they were all frightened. “Some children were even afraid that their home would be broken into, too,” she says.

Over 400 break-ins

“Of course, people are shocked when someone breaks in,” says Georg Vollmuth from the advisory center of the Schweinfurt criminal police. “Especially in rural areas, it is difficult to imagine that something like this would happen to them, of all people.” According to the police, more and more break-ins have been carried out across Bavaria and Germany in recent years. There were more than 400 in Lower Franconia by the end of September. In 2012 it was broken into a total of 413 times. In view of the rising trend, the police headquarters in Würzburg are increasingly focusing on prevention and educational work.

"Burglaries at dusk and dawn are common these days," explains Vollmuth. They usually take place between 3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. In the experience of the police, the perpetrators often act supra-local and are well organized. They prefer to choose houses that are on the outskirts and have no direct neighbors on several sides. “By three thirty at the latest, you can see from the outside whether someone is in the house. The perpetrators watch who leaves the house and when, ”the criminal investigation officer describes the procedure.

When all the lights are finally out inside, the intruders approach the building from behind and look specifically for weak spots. Vollmuth: “The points of attack are usually patio doors.” Or tilted windows and doors that were only pulled into the lock. “We always recommend locking doors and windows.” If these are additionally reinforced, house owners are on the safe side, according to Vollmuth. Especially with unprofessional and poorly equipped perpetrators, it is enough if they meet resistance. You quickly leave the field discouraged. That is why it makes sense to ensure that the property is well lit. “The perpetrator must be in the light.” The police also advise being careful. "If someone notices suspicious movements in their neighbors, they should contact us immediately," advises Vollmuth.

Better secure buildings

At the kindergarten in Ebenhausen, the management drew conclusions from the series of burglaries and had an alarm system installed. Kindergarten director Daniela Koch supports this: “You already feel safe when you know that the alarm is going off.” It seems like a good investment: A year ago the alarm was triggered at night and the next morning a slightly damaged window frame was found. Presumably someone tried to pry open the window and was put to flight by the alarm.

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