But after the break-in at his home in Royal Pines just south of Asheville, Schruckmayr found a way to turn that negative, frightening experience into something positive.
He and other Royal Pines neighbors who also were victims of a rash of break-ins the spring of 2013 got busy re-energizing a community watch group that had become mostly inactive. With help from law enforcement officers, they learned how to better protect their homes and to better look out for each other.
Today, the group is a force to be reckoned with for would-be crooks.
“Everybody is on the lookout,” Schruckmayr said. “If they see something that doesn’t look right, they call the sheriff’s department. I think we’re all attuned to check what is regular and check what is suspicious. I think we’re all in that mindset now.”
Buncombe sheriff’s officers and Asheville police last year investigated a whopping 1,939 break-ins, an average of 5.3 incidents every day of the year, most of them house break-ins.
Sheriff’s officers recorded a 10 percent increase in the number of break-ins in the county, while the number of Asheville cases spiked an alarming 40 percent.
Police say break-ins appear to be tracking lower in 2014, but residential and business break-ins remain one of the most common crimes in the county, the acts often committed by suspects looking for a way to gain some quick cash to buy drugs.
But as Schruckmayr and his neighbors found, residents don’t have to take property crimes lying down. Here are 10 steps people can take to make their homes less attractive targets to criminals, according to Asheville police and Buncombe sheriff’s officers.
The overarching advice is make it difficult, time consuming, visible and noisy for an intruder trying to enter your house.
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