Security expert: Home burglaries exacerbated by pandemic

NewsNation PRIME

CHICAGO (NewsNation) —  There’s been an overall uptick in crime over the course of the pandemic and home burglaries are no exception.

Hair-raising videos have been pouring in from across the country, from luxury homes in Beverly Hills to main-street America, showing doorbell and other domestic surveillance systems capturing break-ins. It’s a trend more common than one might think.

“Alcoholism, drug addiction, overdoses — there’s a lot of collateral damage as a result of COVID,” said Robert Siciliano, a guest of “NewsNation Prime” on Thursday.

Siciliano is a security expert and CEO of Protect Now LLC and explained how these addictions are leading to unwelcome visitors in the home.

“When people are desperate, they do desperate things. And we’re seeing a lot of that happening right now,” he said.

Last summer, a homeowner confronted a man after he broke into his family’s Bel Air estate naked and killed their pet birds with his bare hands.

Weeks ago in California, an intruder was caught on camera breaking into a San Bernadino home and staring at a couple sleeping before being arrested.

And just days ago, a suspect made his way into a woman’s room and took her hostage in San Diego, holding a gun to her head before surrendering to officers without incident.

“The emotional impact of seeing the imagery that you can get from a Ring, or some of the surveillance equipment that is available now to homeowners, really, I think drives our consciousness and makes us a little more frightened of the possibilities,” Phil Andrew told “NewsNation Prime” on Thursday evening.

Andrew is a security expert with more than 21 years of experience as a special agent with the FBI.

He says these crimes typically fall into one of two categories: an insider job, where the suspect knows the homeowner and is sometimes even a family member, or crimes of opportunity, when criminals take advantage of open doors and other vulnerabilities.

“And that’s why the prevention is so important,” he said.

However, if preventative measures aren’t enough and you find yourself in a similar situation, Siciliano says heroism isn’t advisable.

“Your only responsibility or best thing you can do is get out of there as quickly as possible. Leave that house with your family, go to a neighbor’s house, run down the street, don’t stick around to find out what they have in mind,” he said.

Siciliano, who frequently leads seminars, says only about 15% of his typical audience has a home security system.

Some of the best ways to prevent these types of crime, he says, are really the basics: proper lighting, lockied doors, a home security system and security signage.

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