A few weeks ago, two elderly Ukiah residents were victims of a home invasion robbery. In this terrifying incident, two or three male suspects in their 20s or 30s broke into the home and tied up the residents. The suspects disabled the phones and searched the house before deciding they were at the wrong location. Thankfully, they untied the scared and bruised victims before leaving.
This crime should never have happened and our officers are working hard to solve the case. If you have any information that could lead to the arrest of those responsible call 463-6262, or leave an anonymous tip on our website (ukiahpolice.com). Even if you believe your information is trivial or unimportant, please share it. It might mean the difference in our ability to solve this terrible crime.
While home invasion robberies don’t happen often, they do happen. Around here, they usually occur when one or more people forcibly enter a house looking for drugs or money—especially in this age of medical marijuana and indoor cultivation. The situation can be even more upsetting when people return home to find suspects in their house in the process of burglarizing the home for valuables.
Just to be clear, a theft is the unlawful taking of property. A robbery is theft with physical force or fear. Burglary doesn’t require theft but it can: it is unlawful entry with the intent to break the law.
When we think of these frightening situations, many of us consider purchasing a firearm to protect ourselves. While I agree that owning a gun can help you protect you and your family, this is only true if you do it right.
Before you run out to buy a gun consider this: the decision to maintain a firearm in the home for self-protection is a serious, personal matter. That decision requires you to know how to safely – and legally – use the firearm; and equally important, how to keep it away from those who don’t.
Unlike an alarm system, a firearm requires significantly more involvement by the owner. It requires securing the firearm away from unsupervised children or intruders. Anything less invites tragedy and is a serious violation of your responsibility as a gun owner.
Remember that people usually return to their home to find it being burglarized—they weren’t there when the burglary started. Keeping an unlocked gun in your house to defend your family makes no sense if that same gun puts your family at risk if found by a burglar—or a child.
As I have said before, when it comes to preventing crime (especially terrible crimes like a home invasion robbery or home burglaries), it’s best to start with the simplest steps, such as introducing yourself to your neighbors. The idea is simple but so powerful: neighbors know the neighborhood–they know what’s normal and what might be cause for concern. Neighbors know who should be there and who shouldn’t. Most importantly, neighbors are UPD’s partners in preventing crime—they are our eyes and ears when we are not there, and they can help our officers prevent and solve crimes.
Residential robberies in our small community are very disturbing, and it is important that we do all we can–security, alarms, and maybe even a firearm–to protect ourselves. But also remember it is much more likely that you will be the victim of a burglary than a residential robbery so if you own a firearm for protection, please keep it secured.
On the Ukiah Police Department website we have posted robbery and burglary prevention tips in our Crime Prevention Flyers section. If you’d like to know more about whether your home is secure please contact our Crime Prevention Specialist Nancy Sawyer. Nancy is trained to help you to conduct security assessments of your home or business. Contact her at 707-467-5708 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.