Chief gives burglary prevention tips

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:48

    Monroe-Since July is the month that traditionally has the most reported burglaries, Monroe Police Chief Dominic Giudice is urging local residents to take a few steps to make their homes less attractive to thieves. First and foremost is to immediately call police upon seeing any suspicious activity. Suspicious activity can be anything from hearing strange noises to seeing people where they should not be.  Many times a simple phone call from a resident about a suspicious person can lead to preventing a crime or apprehending a criminal. "Many residents feel that the police are too busy to deal with minor complaints such as a suspicious person or vehicle, when in fact we encourage residents to report this very type of activity,"  said Giudice. "An alert community is a safe community." When going away n Contact your local police department. Most police departments will conduct "house checks" when asked to do so.  It's simple to enroll, simply stop at your police department, fill out a "house check" form advising officers when you're leaving, when you're returning, and other pertinent information about the home.  During your time away officers will physically check your residence at various times during the day and night to ensure a burglary has not taken place.  Patrol officers will also be made aware that you are away and during their routine patrols of neighborhoods will keep an "extra eye" on your residence.   Visit the post office n Have mail delivery stopped if you're going to be out of town.  Also stop your newspaper delivery.  If you are going to be gone for over a week, have someone cut your grass. Close and lock all doors  - If you are leaving home, even for short periods of time, such as a trip to the store.  More than a quarter of all burglary is without forced entry.  Make sure to check the doors of the attached garage and breezeway in addition to all windows, including basement windows. Install deadbolt locks on all entry doors n A deadbolt lock is hard to force and doubles your resistance to intrusion.  If there are no windows within 40 inches of the lock, you can use a lock with a thumb latch that will let you open the door from the inside without using a key.  In doors with glass panels use a key lock with a keyhole on both sides. Secure ALL windows n You should lock all windows in the residence, not just the ground floor.  Many burglaries happen through second and third floor windows that were left open.  Check home-improvement or hardware stores for other inexpensive window locking ideas and devices. Use automatic timers n Some timers can be set to turn on lights, radios and other appliances at the same time each day.  Others that are slightly more expensive vary the on and off patterns from day to day to enhance the illusion that someone is home.  Setting a timer on a radio tuned to a talk show station might fool burglars into thinking a live conversation is going on if they listen at the window.   Illuminate the yard n Outdoor lighting is an effective deterrent to burglars.  Energy nefficient low-voltage outdoor lights can eliminate the dark spots where a burglar could hide and a light with a motion sensor is a great way to scare off a potential thief.  Install them around the perimeter of the home.  Remember to install motion lights high enough where intruders will not be able to unscrew or break out the bulbs. Lock up ladders, tools, and lawn furniture n Don't invite burglary by providing aids to breaking into your house.  A sturdy lawn chair that can be pulled under a window makes getting through that window much easier.  Lock them all up in the garage or basement. Trim trees and shrubs growing close to your house n To enter your house without making a lot of noise, a burglar needs time to work.  Tall bushes and hanging branches can provide shelter while the burglar cases the house or tries to pry open a window or door.  Get an alarm system n Look around home improvement stores for inexpensive audible alarms that go off when a door or window is forced.  Also available are professionally installed systems that automatically contact police when they sense trouble. What to do IF your home is burglarized? Immediately call the police.  Don't wait a few hours or until the next day.  Village of Monroe residents interested in having house checks conducted should stop in at the Monroe Police Department at 104 Stage Road. House check forms can be obtained and submitted 24 hours a day, seven days a week.