Harker Heights police are still working to identify two men involved in the Dec 28 shooting of a Heights man.

Heights police responded to a report of a shooting at 12:23 p.m. Dec 28 in the 300 block of West Valley Road.

At the residence, police found a 24-year-old male suffering from gunshot wounds to the hand and leg. The victim was transported to Baylor Scott and White Hospital in Temple for treatment, according to a Harker Heights police department news release.

The release stated “preliminary information obtained at the scene indicated that two unidentified armed black men forced their way into the residence and held the two occupants at gunpoint while stealing money and personal property.”

The release also stated that “a verbal altercation occurred, which resulted in the 24-year-old being shot.”

According to the release, the two robbers fled the residence on foot in an unknown direction. Descriptions were not immediately available.

Harker Heights police urge anyone with information regarding this crime to contact the criminal investigation division at 254-953-5400.

In addition to the victims and the criminals themselves, there are others in the community who know who they are.

To be honest, God-fearing decent citizens, anyone having knowledge of the identity and whereabouts of the shooters sought by the police, owe it to the community and themselves to come forward. Failing to do so makes one share in the responsibility of wrongdoing.

This incident is commonly known as a home invasion crime. As in this case, criminals who engage in home invasions simply break through a door, or force their way into the residence as an unsuspecting resident answers a doorbell.

According to the latest available statistics from the FBI, a property crime occurs in the U.S every 3 seconds and a burglary occurs every 10 seconds.

Property crimes continue to rise in number every year, despite the decrease in other categories of crime.

According to the United States Justice Department, in addition to thefts and robberies, 38 percent of assaults and 60 percent of sexual assaults occur during home invasions. These crimes are a nationally growing menace. Locally, we read about home invasion robberies more and more often.

Taking precautions can positively reduce the odds of one becoming a victim of a home invasion.

First and foremost, do not flaunt valuables in public. Even a mediocre thief seeking a potential target will single you out and follow you home.

Be aware of your surroundings when you return to your residence. Be particularly cognizant of anyone loitering in your neighborhood and report the activity.

Never open your outer door in response to the bell or a knock until you know who is on the other side.

Sturdy locks and deadbolts on all doors can hinder anyone from kicking in your door. Solid-core or steel are code for exterior entry doors. Glass in exterior doors must be tempered to prevent the glass from being easily broken out.

Do not position valuables inside your home where they can be easily viewed by anyone looking in through a window. These items are especially vulnerable and accessible to thieves who “smash and grab.”

Prior to being victimized, you can assist the police in locating and identifying property stolen during a burglary, by permanently marking electronics and other valuable items with a distinctive initial, number or unique mark. Apply the marking in an inconspicuous location.

Photograph or make a video recording of all items of jewelry. Doing so will enable police to identify your property if it is subsequently located. Do the same for valuable art or other collectables.

While a necessary deterrent, locks are not infallible. It has been said that locks merely keep an honest man honest.

Some can be defeated by a process known as “bumping,” which is a system of keys designed to open several well-known brands of locks.

This column will address “bumping” in all its aspects and the means to protect against it in next week’s edition.

John Vander WERFF is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement, with a decade in city and county law enforcement and 20 years with state police.

John Vander Werff is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement and a Copperas Cove resident.​

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