Want to know how to keep your home from being an inviting target to burglars? You may want to attend a burglary prevention program sponsored by the Riverside Safe Environment Commission on Tuesday, May 3 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at Riverside Township Hall, 27 Riverside Road.

The program, titled “Keepin’ It Real,” is hosted by Chicago Police Officer Maudessie Jointer, who will be joined by convicted burglars. They will share their stories and give insight into what burglars are looking for when they choose residences or vehicles to plunder.

According to Safe Environment Commission member Kelly Navarro, who is a prosecutor for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, a similar program in Oak Park “was really interesting nonetheless. Some guys were scared of dogs, some weren’t. Most say alarms had little deterrent effect. They knew the first call was to the homeowner, and they would have plenty of time to get out once the alarm went off. One guy said if he saw a cat in a window or a dog sitting on the sofa in a window, he was almost always assured the owner wasn’t home.”

Burglaries are up in Riverside in 2011. Through April 22, a total of 12 burglaries – to both homes, apartments and garages – had been committed. Eight of those break-ins occurred in March and April, according to Police Chief Tomas Weitzel.

In all of 2010, there were 15 burglaries reported in Riverside, meaning the village is on pace for many more incidents than a year ago.

“I don’t know the facts of all of the Riverside cases, but it seems that our burglars are sophisticated and have someone watching houses for them,” Navarro said.

For more information on the program, contact Officer Brian Greenenwald of the Riverside Police Department at 447-2127, ext. 293.

– Bob Uphues