Crime Prevention Tips as Warmer Weather Approaches
As a home owner in the Township it is important to understand that a vast majority of criminal acts are crimes of opportunity. As a criminal enters a neighborhood looking for his next victim he or she is looking for the path of least resistance. This means if the right opportunity presents itself a criminal will target a specific residence or vehicle.
As the weather gets warmer and you begin to open windows to enjoy the fresh air it is important to remember that an open window means easier access for a burglar. Many of the newer type replacement windows have safety locks, that when used properly, prevent the window from being opened more than a few inches. This permits air to flow freely but limits the space needed to gain entry through the window. Keep trees and shrubs around your residence trimmed so they cannot be used as hiding places for intruders. When you are not at home, even for a short amount of time, keeps doors and windows locked.
At night time it is helpful to have the area around your residence well lit. Motion lights are an effective way to prevent unwanted guests near your home and also aid the homeowner when arriving home after dark. Placing several lights in your residence on timers also helps prevent criminals from targeting your residence.
If you are planning a vacation it is important to notify the post office and newspaper company so delivery can be suspended while you are away. A stuffed mailbox or several newspapers on the stoop are clear indications that nobody is home. Also, arrange for your lawn to be mowed if you are going to be away for an extended period. Finally, never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes or other “secret” hiding places as intruders are very familiar with these “secrets” as well.
The warmer weather also sees an increase in vehicle break-ins throughout the neighborhoods in the township. One of the easiest ways to prevent your vehicle from being entered is to keep it locked. The majority of vehicle break-ins reported to police occur to unlocked vehicles. It is also important to keep all electronics, such as GPS units, I-pods, laptop computers, etc, out of view when stored in your vehicle. It is a good idea to also remove the mounting hardware from your windshield or dashboard, removing any signs of electronics.
As always, it is important to report any signs of suspicious activity or persons to the Police Department.
Tips for Homeowners
• Keep doors in your home closed and locked including your garage doors. An open door is an invitation.
• Be a good neighbor and alert police to any unusual activity in your neighborhood.
• Plan for vacation by having your mail and newspapers stopped or having a neighbor pick them up. Leave inside lights on timers to create the impression that your house is occupied. Be sure to set your alarm system. Have a lawn service or neighbor mow your lawn. The Springettsbury Township Police will be happy to make periodic checks of your residence while you are away. Complete the request form on the police department’s website (www.springettsburypd.com) or contact the department directly at 717-757-3525.
• Avoid home improvement scams and deception burglaries by taking a proactive approach. Be particularly alert to anyone in your neighborhood looking to perform home repair and asking to gain entry into your home. Ask to see identification and let them know you are going to call and get verification from their company before allowing them inside. If they are legitimate, they won’t mind the wait.
Tips for Drivers
• Do not leave valuables or cash in your car. If you must leave items in the car, lock them in the trunk. If you have folding rear seats, make sure those are locked, too.
• Be alert for children playing in neighborhoods and residential areas. Young children may be more concerned about catching a ball that rolls into the street than watching for vehicles coming toward them.
• Drive safely and slowly around parks and playgrounds. More children are out playing during the summer.
Tips for Parents
• Provide a list of phone numbers of neighbors, family, and friends that your child can call in an emergency. Make sure your child knows how to dial 911 and when it is appropriate to do so.
• Know the route your child will take to and from a given location. Remind your child never to take a shortcut or deviate from the agreed-upon route.
• Establish rules for using the Internet. Children should have adult supervision when online. Make sure your child knows to never give out personal information on the Internet.
• Require your child to check in with a parent before leaving the house and when returning home. Teach your child that there is safety in numbers and that it is best to be with a group of friends when going places without an adult.
• Provide a bike helmet and require your child to wear it as well as brightly colored or reflective clothing.