Safety top of mind after Florence home invasions - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Safety top of mind after Florence home invasions

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Florence Police are investigating two home invasions. Florence Police are investigating two home invasions.

Florence Police are looking for a man who is targeting women who live alone or with a roommate.

Investigators said they've had two reports of a man breaking into homes and going straight to the bedrooms. Both times police said the women either heard him breaking in or were able to get away and call 911.

Police said they believe the intruder's motive in both cases was to attack the women living there.

The first attack happened on February 24th at a house on North Wood Avenue. The second break-in happened about five blocks away on Seymore Avenue early Wednesday morning.

Florence Police Sgt. Cliff Billingsley said Wednesday's burglary happened around 4:15 a.m. He said two University of North Alabama students were living in the house.

Billingsley said the women living in the North Wood Avenue home were also UNA students. One was 20 and the other 21. In that incident, the intruder made his way into the house and was able to get into one of the bedrooms. Billingsley said the offender held down one of the girls, but she was able to fight him off. That's when she went to her roommate's bedroom and called authorities.

Detectives said they believe the home invasions are related. The women weren't able to give a good description of the offender because the break-ins happened in the middle of the night.

"We want to make sure all the young girls that are living alone, especially college age, are taking steps to fortify their houses," said Florence Police Sgt. Cliff Billingsley.

Police said sometimes it take more than just one lock on the door to keep you safe, especially for women living alone.

Hardware stores have the tools you need to stay safe inside your home.

"First thing you want to do is have enough lighting outside. "We carry some motion activated security lighting that comes on when motion is present," said Peck Hardware owner Bill Peck. "It's always good to have it near the garages or entrances to the house."

Peck said it's also important to fortify the doors.

"One of the more important things is to have a good deadbolt and entry lock on your door," he explained.

But with so many too choose from, which one do you need?

"The single cylinder deadbolt would be used for a solid door. The double cylinder would be used for a door that has a lot of glass in it so an intruder couldn't just simply break the glass and throw the latch and come on in," said Peck. "We also carry some devices to help reinforce the door to help it from getting kicked in."

There are also ways you can secure your bedroom door.

"We have a door security bar which sits on the floor and swivels to reach the height of the door knob," Peck demonstrated. "That just keeps somebody from pushing through the door or kicking it in."

Peck said the added security is easy to install. Most of the items take just a few screws and several minutes to put in place.

Not only are they easy to install, but they're inexpensive as well. A set of motion lights and a new deadbolt will run you about $100.  

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