How you can prevent a home invasion robbery

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - If you think you're hearing about more burglaries and robberies recently, you are.

The FBI says someone is robbed in the United States every 15 seconds.

Richard Judy and his wife were robbed in their Delhi Township home in broad daylight.

"It was a nice warm day. Early spring day. Clear. Sunshine. Just a beautiful day. The last thing you'd expect to happen at one o'clock in the afternoon," said Judy.

The Judys had just gone to the store to pick up a few items before a trip to Dayton to see their son.

They pulled into the garage and Richard Judy, a Korean War veteran and double amputee, got out of the car.

"I got out. My wife says to me, 'think we ought to put the (garage) door down?' I said, 'if you want to, but I don't think it's really necessary,'" he said.

As soon as the 81-year old walked inside the house, he started punching in the code to turn off the alarm when he heard his wife scream.

He came out to the garage to find someone holding a gun to his wife's head. Another suspect came at Richard Judy.

"Another male suspect came and attacked him. Knocked him into the ground, and took his wallet," said Det. Joe Macaluso, who worked the case.

The crooks ran away, leaving the Judys bruised, but armed with information.

The couple was able to give police a detailed description of the men, but a year and nine months later, they are still out there.

"This is one of those cases that really needs to be solved," said Macaluso.

The robbery changed the Judys' lives.

"We used to just pull in. Of course, when you do that, you can't generally see when somebody sneaks up behind you," said Richard Judy. "So now we just hit our turn around there and back the car in and that way we can see what's going on in front of us. We let the door down, and then we get out and go inside."

They've also installed a security camera outside their home, and live differently inside it.

"You never know when you're going to get surprised," said Judy.

And when the doorbell rings, "If it's somebody that I don't know, I've got a gun stuck right here in my waistband, exposed," he said.

Unfortunately, the Judys aren't alone.

"Statistically, more burglaries happen during the daytime then they do at night, because people are not home, they're at work or at school," said Macaluso.

Home invasion robberies have skyrocketed throughout the tri-state recently. In Delhi Township, burglaries have increased 53 percent in the last nine years.

In Cincinnati, home invasion incidents have jumped a little less - 30 percent during the same time period.

Nationwide, the FBI reports there was a 3.6 percent increase.

Why has Delhi been hit so hard?

Macaluso believes it's a growing problem that law enforcement has little room to stop.

"The big thing we've noticed is a 125 percent increase in our drugs," he said. "With the guy or girl who breaks into a car, might be more apt to break into a house, and that could be because of, unfortunately, we have a problem with, there's no room at the jails."

Police add that people often make themselves easy targets. One subdivision in Delhi Township had seven house with open garage doors at 10 p.m. on a Thursday.

The Judys say they often speak out about the incident, trying to educate neighbors. But still, they say it seems like it's not enough.

"I see it happening around here, right now, across the street. People came to the meeting, but constantly leave the garage open. To me, that's inviting trouble," said Judy.

Det. Macaluso offers these tips to prevent home invasions:

  • Get to know your neighbors. Pay attention to who comes and goes and at what times. And when they are on vacation, keep an eye on their properties.
  • Keep your shrubs and greenery low. Thieves can hide in them or behind them.
  • Get a security system. The most basic ones can deter crooks.
  • Always close your garage door.

Delhi Township Police are still looking for the men responsible for the attack on the Judys. Both are black, and one in his late teens or early 20's, about 5'10", and was wearing white pants and a white jacket the night of the robbery. The other is 5"11 and 175 pounds with short black hair and clean shaven. He was wearing a black coat with a zipper.

There was a third guy who was driving a 1990's model green Ford Explorer.

Anyone with information should call CrimeStoppers at 513-352-3040.

Copyright 2010 FOX19. All Rights Reserved.