Wichita Kansas, an estimated population of 366,046 makes it the 51st largest city in the country and the most populous city in Kansas. It’s a city by anyone’s definition.
And like all cities, it has had its share of successes and bad apples. Including Dennis Lynn Rader (born March 9, 1945) is an American serial killer who murdered ten people in Sedgwick County (in and around Wichita, Kansas), between 1974 and 1991.
He was known as the BTK killer which stands for “bind, torture and kill” and describes his modus operandi. He sent letters describing the details of the killings to police and to local news outlets during the period of time in which the murders took place. After a long hiatus in the 1990s, Rader resumed sending letters in 2004, leading to his 2005 arrest and subsequent conviction. Fortunately he is behind bars serving 10 life sentences. But that doesn’t mean crime doesn’t continue in his absence.
Recently Police launched new efforts to help curb burglaries. Local police say residential burglaries increased last year by 9% even as overall burglary numbers dropped 1.5%.
Police are reminding people that they need to practice safe techniques to make sure homes and belongings are secure. That includes making sure doors and windows are locked and not leaving your garage door open.
You’d think a metropolitan city that has had a killer as bad as Dennis Rader would lock their doors. But the societal and cultural phenomenon known as “It can’t happen to me” is everywhere and people forget that a serial killer used to walk their streets. But not you Dear Reader. The fact you’re reading this you know there very well could be another Dennis Rader there right now.
Here are home burglary prevention tips direct from the police who once dealt with Dennis Rader:
Residential burglars work mostly during the day and when a residence is more likely to be unoccupied. Most burglars work alone and tend to probe a neighborhood looking for the right residence and the right opportunity. Home alarm signs and decals, bars on windows, strong locks and doors, big dogs, and alert neighbors can sometimes deter burglars. Also, burglars will avoid a confrontation and will usually flee when approached. Most burglaries do not result in violence unless the criminal is cornered and uses force to escape.
ˇ Keep all doors locked at night and every time you leave your home.
ˇ Use doors that feature wide-angle peepholes at heights everyone can use.
ˇ If you have glass panels near or in doors, make sure glass is reinforced so they cannot be shattered.
ˇ Make sure the door leading from the attached garage to the house is solid wood or metal-clad and protected with a quality keyed door lock and deadbolt.
ˇ Lock the overhead garage door – do not just rely on an automatic door opener.
ˇ Make sure sliding glass doors have strong, working key locks.
ˇ Keep grills, lawnmowers and other valuables in a locked garage or shed.
ˇ Inscribe valuable items, such as televisions, stereos and computers with an identifying number approved by your local police.
ˇ Have an up-to-date home inventory that includes pictures. Keep a complete copy somewhere outside of the house.
ˇ Never leave a message on your answering machine that indicates you may be away from home.
ˇ Trim all shrubbery that could conceal criminal activity near doors and windows.
ˇ Consider using timed interior lights and outdoor timed or motion lights to make your home appear occupied when you are away.
ˇ If you park your car outside, never leave a garage door opener inside your vehicle.