When a human-sized window is left open, an opportunity is created for would-be thieves.
Those opportunities have increased dramatically in the past month and thieves have taken advantage.
In the month of September, reported burglaries rose 200 percent increase from the 6 to 18.
In 95 percent of those September cases, the way of entry was the same, said Captain Ken Sandage. The burglar used an unlocked or open window to get into the house, sometimes in complete view from the street, most of the time in complete daylight. Many times the screens were slashed or cut, but that was the only force used to enter into the houses.
"(Open windows) are very vulnerable," Sandage said. "They're an easy target for the suspect to gain access."
An open window is the same thing as an unlocked car: an opportunity, he said.
The residential burglars are targeting cash and jewelry. Gold jewelry is especially valuable because instead of attempting to pawn it, it can be melted down and sold by the ounce. Gold was at $1,738 per ounce as of Monday.
"Gold is lucrative, that's why they're stealing it," Sandage said. "They can turn around and sell the items for a hefty price," he said.
Calling in suspicious vehicles, activities and persons who wouldn't seem to belong in one's neighborhood, can make a huge impact, he said.
"People know if vehicles (or persons) belong in their neighborhood or not," he said.
Some of the victims are gone for just an hour on errands. Others are gone from 9 a.m. and don't get home until 5 at night.
"Residents are vital because they can pick up the phone and call us," he said.
Relying on one's neighbors to report suspicious activity is not the only thing to be done, Sandage stressed. Actively protecting one's home by locking all the windows and doors is a good first step and inventorying precious items, with digital pictures is another.
Residential burglaries in October have tapered off from their September spike.
• Lock all outside doors and windows when not at home.
• If you have just moved into a new house or apartment, have the
• Change locks immediately if your keys are lost or stolen.
• Install a peephole or wide-angle viewer in all entry doors so you can see who is at the door without opening it.
• Keep the garage door closed.
• Put lights and a radio on timers to create the illusion someone is home. Leave shades, blinds and curtains in normal positions.
• Keep your yard well maintained. Store ladders and tools in a locked area when not using them.
• Keep gate entrances padlocked.
• Have adequate exterior lighting. A motion-sensitive light is recommended for backyards.
• Plant shrubbery around windows, this will make getting to a window more difficult from the outside of the house.
• Don't hide keys in mailboxes, planters or under doormats. These are the first places burglars look. If you have a trusted neighbor, give them a key.
• Don't allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or fliers to build up while you are away.
Other Household Tips
• Homes without a home-security/alarm system have a significantly higher break-in rate, so invest in an alarm system to protect your home.
• Maintain an inventory of all valuables, including serial numbers. Take photos or videos of them.
• If you return home and think your home has been entered, don't go in. Call the Carson City Sheriff's Office (911) or 775 887-2008 from a cell phone, a neighbor's home or public telephone.