Police are encouraging residents to educate their children on how to stay safe while at home during the summer after five burglars surprised a 15-year-old Grand Prairie girl.
Jasmine Ramirez, 15, was home alone with her 13-year-old sister when four men and a woman kicked in the front door of their house. The intruders left when she opened her bedroom door and "just told them to leave."
Irving police Officer Jill Smith said parents need to make sure their children know what to do. There isn't an age requirement for when children can stay home alone, she said.
"Can that child take care of themselves? Do they know how to use the phone? If the phone isn't working, do they know plan B?" she said. "While we don't want to scare our very young children, a certain amount of fear is healthy for them, and we teach them to work through that."
Irving police recommend parents run through possible scenarios with their children so they know how to respond to different situations. They also recommend teaching kids to periodically check to make sure all doors and windows are locked.
Don Louys, a neighborhood watch member and lifelong Grand Prairie resident, said he tries to keep his house as secure as possible. His kids learned to unlock their back door when going outside to play. Louys also installed security doors and posted signs in front of his house.
"Anything that makes the burglar think that it's going to be hard or difficult will make him move on," he said.
In his front yard, several cameras keep watch for potential danger.
"We try to place them semi-strategically," Louys said. "They're connected up to DVRs in the house. They record instances of motion or just record constantly, depending on how you want to record."
Smith said people can never be too safe, especially during the summer.
"A lot of time, more pettier type crimes will increase -- cars getting broken into, bicycles being stolen, you know, people's houses being hit with paintball guns," she said.