WHAT WE THINK: Amid waves of burglaries of area homes and businesses, local police are urging everyone to keep an eye out for anyone or anything suspicious-looking — and to take any and all burglar alarms seriously.
We’d best listen: A Saddle Brook homeowner learned the hard way when he dismissed an alarm in what turned out to be a $30,000 jewelry heist.
It’s easy to get lost in your thoughts, to become preoccupied with where you’re going or where you’ve been.
Many people are often talking on a cellphone or listening to music — anything other than paying attention to what’s going on around them.
It’s no coincidence that pedestrian deaths have been increasing nationwide.Jerry DeMarco Publisher/Editor
“Neighbors and the community at large are in the best position to watch out for one another and to immediately notify the police when something doesn’t look or feel right,” Saddle Brook Police Chief Robert Kugler told me.
And there is no good reason, when you do see something out of the ordinary, not to dial 911.
Citizens “should never be uncomfortable in contacting the police for something that they deem is suspicious,” Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox said.
Fox is right when he says police would “rather check hundreds of calls that are unfounded than have someone not call us about something that turns out to be important.”
In that same vein, public safety officials say you should also take any and all alarms seriously.
Saddle Brook police were summoned one night after a Saddle River Road family came home to find two sliding doors smashed and the jewelry stolen from their master bedroom.
The kicker: Their burglar alarm was tripped three hours earlier, but the homeowners dismissed it as another false alarm and told the alarm monitoring company not to alert police, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.
The Bergen County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Identification checked the scene for fingerprints and collected other evidence. They do an outstanding job, but, as even they will point out: Their work comes after you’ve been violated.
No surprise that most burglars make off mostly with cash, jewelry, guns, silver and electronics — and in one case earlier this month, a 100-year-old Saudi Arabian gold necklace. After all, when you have only 90 seconds to get in and out, you have a pretty good idea of what you need to grab and where to find it.
(BTW: Barely 14 percent of burglars nationwide are ever caught. Decrease that by the number who have already sold or successfully hidden your valuables and you have some idea what scant chance you have of retrieving anything.
Given the convergence of several recent circumstances, each and every one us remains the best front line of defense. For one thing, we had a mild winter followed by an early spring.
What’s more, in years past, a drop in break-ins would have followed what was a significant spike in burglary arrests across Bergen County (Great work by our unrelenting protectors).
Teaneck police not only cracked a pair of burglaries: They helped get four illegal handguns and hollow-pointed bullets out of circulation.
The fact that they succeeded by following a usual suspect is no longer a given, however. Amid a free-falling economy, more people are becoming threats.
“There are so many different ones out there now, you don’t know who to look at anymore,” one investigator told me after an ex-con charged in two break-ins was arrested. “It’s not a matter of pulling out a list.”
Time also was that thieves would test door handles or pick locks. Many are now smashing sliding-door glass or jimmying back doors open, using time as an ally: Get in as quickly as possible, hit the master bedroom, then get out and be gone. By the time an alarm has sounded and authorities are notified, it’s usually too late.
It’s also worrisome to know that, in another break-in this month, a quartet of handguns were stolen. These could end up being used.
It’s not asking much for us to take our collective safety and security into own own hands. After all, someday someone may see something that prevents you from becoming a victim.
You wouldn’t want them ignoring it.
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