Last month, we had a spate of thefts from unlocked cars. The vandals worked in the area of Greenfield, Oriole and Tanglewylde Avenues. The following night, cars on Sturgis Road were robbed. Residents lost valuable glasses, GPS systems and significant cash.
Unfortunately, summer seems to be the season for these “crimes of opportunity,” so residents must be particularly vigilant at what should be the most relaxing time of year.
Also, given the season, many more village homes are periodically vacant, presenting additional safety concerns.
Thankfully, we have an extremely low incidence of crime in our village, but even one event is too many. Quite frankly, often it could have been avoided with just a few safety precautions.
The following are suggestions from our Police Chief Chris Satriale to minimize the cases that a crime of opportunity occurs at your home:
- Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed. Even if it is for a short dog walk around the block, lock the doors.
- Leave lights on when you go out. If you are away for a length of time, connect some lamps to automatic timers to go on during the day as well as at night.
- Keep the garage door closed and locked and store lawn mowers, snow blowers, barbeques and bicycles out of plain sight.
- Arrange for your mail and newspapers to be stopped and the lawn mowed. Have a neighbor pick up the Pennysaver papers left on the driveway which are a giveaway to your absence.
- Never leave valuables in plain sight in a locked car. Windows are smashed when GPS or purses are easily visible.
- Change locks immediately if keys are lost or stolen and always change locks when moving into a new home.
- To make the exterior of your home secure, always activate your alarm system and provide adequate exterior lighting. A motion-sensitive light is recommended for backyards.
- Trim trees and shrubs to avoid creating a hiding place or screen for intruders and make sure door hinges are on the inside.
- If you do return home and find an unexplained open or broken window or door, do not enter your home. The perpetrator could still be inside. Go to a neighbor’s home to use a phone or use a cell phone away from the house. Do not touch anything or attempt to clean up until the police have inspected for evidence.
- Never leave keys under door mats, flower pots, mailboxes or other secret hiding places. Burglars know where to look for hidden keys.
- Be a good neighbor. If you notice anything suspicious in your neighborhood, call the police immediately. While you are waiting for their arrival, write down any license plate numbers or descriptions of suspicious persons.
- Tell a neighbor of your vacation plans and ask them to pick up stray literature at your door or driveway and urge them to occasionally park in your driveway.
- Purchase good strong bike locks and lock bikes when doing errands or visiting friends, however short the time period.
Also, you can take advantage of our “vacant house list” service. Prior to your vacation departure, contact our police department with your plans and when manpower permits, our officers will make physical checks of your home. Do not hesitate to call the police desk even if you are only away two or three days.
Go to www.bronxvillepd.com and follow the e-alert link to add your family to our alert system. You will then be able to receive updates from our chief of police about any criminal activity and close to real time updates on critical incidents affecting the village including police activities and weather alerts. This way if something is transpiring in the village you can reach out to a neighbor to do a quick check of your home. You may also leave a house key on file at our police department for use in emergency situations.
Speaking of neighborliness, at this time, take extra care to check on an elderly neighbor to make sure their home is properly cooled and they are well hydrated.
In September, we always see the signs “Schools Open, Drive Safely.” Actually, it is during the summer that children are out and about at more hours of the day, whether playing or riding bicycles, so please drive with this in mind.
Summer also brings a little peace and tranquility as gas powered leaf blowers are banned from now until Sept. 30.
Finally, since summer is barbeque season, remember not to discard charcoal until it is completely cooled and keep the barbeque grill and propane tank a healthy distance from house and garage.
Village Hall will maintain its usual customer hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, so do not hesitate to call with any summer concerns.