2002-12-14 / Community

NYPD: ‘Keep Your Home Safe During The Holidays'

NYPD: 'Keep Your Home Safe During The Holidays'

During this busy season, it is important to not forget about personal safety and security of one's self and residence.

This is especially true this year, in light of the six home break-ins in the west end in past weeks.

Police Officer Brian McCabe, the crime prevention specialist for the 100 Precinct has offered some tips for making both your person and hour home safer during the holiday season, when traditionally this type of crime increases.

"Too often we are busy shopping and planning for parties that we become lax in areas that we normally aren't. Many times we may run out of the house without checking to make sure that all the doors are closed and locked," say experts from the police department's crime prevention unit.

"It is a good idea to make a checklist and leave it by your door," the NYPD experts say. "This can serve as a 'to-do' list before leaving your residence. Items on this list could include locking all doors, setting alarm system, leaving a light on if you plan on returning home after dark."

The officers urge that it is important to remember that perpetrators generally do not go to residences that are or appear to be occupied. That is why it is a good idea to leave a radio or television on at low volume. Give yourself a few extra minutes to physically check all doors and windows before you leave, even if you know you did not open them. Many times another family member may open a door or window and forget to lock it. Many times the police will respond to a scene of a burglary and hear one family member tell another family member, "I thought you locked the door."

If you have perimeter lighting, take a few minutes to make sure that all light bulbs are working properly and replace those that aren't. If you do not have perimeter lighting around your residence, it is strongly recommended that you have it installed. Perpetrators are more likely to lurk in the areas that are dark, where they can be hidden from neighbors and police that patrol the area on routine patrol.

When you are home, do not open your door to strangers. When you hear your doorbell ring, look out a window to see who it is before answering it. It is also a good idea to have entrance doors equipped with a 190-degree door viewer. In this way, you will be able to see a panoramic view of who is at your door.

Be wary of people who claim to be delivering packages or who need to check your phone lines or water meter. These are all examples of how perpetrators have gained access into a person's residence. Before opening your door, take a moment to observe the individual. Is he/she wearing a uniform with employee identification showing? Do they appear nervous, looking up and down the street to see if neighbors or the police are in the area? If you suspect that the individual appears suspicious, do not open your door. Instead, call 911.

Lastly, many New Yorkers have been conned out of millions of dollars by phony telemarketers who falsely claim to be soliciting donations on behalf of the New York City Police Department. These telemarketers pose as police officers and try to deceive potential donors with false and misleading statements that their donations will be used to support the NYPD, or help widows and children of slain officers. Or they might offer a police decal or similar item implying this will get you better treatment from the police. If you receive a call on behalf of the NYPD, write down as much information as possible. Report such calls to NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau at (212) 741-8401.

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