SECURITY TIPS FOR YOUR HOME
You would never put up a sign on your home that says Welcome Burglars. Also, you wouldn't place an ad in the newspaper telling everyone how to get into your house. Think about this, if you leave a ladder on your property that ladder makes entry into your home as well as any of your neighbors' homes as easy as a Welcome Burglars sign or an ad in the newspapers with instructions on entry into your house!
There are other invitations to burglary such as garbage pails under or near windows, tall, thick shrubbery around windows or doors and also, open or unlocked windows or doors, including garage doors. Ask yourself these questions – Do you have outdoor lighting? Do you leave your indoor lights on while you are away? When you leave for several days do you make arrangements for the mail, newspapers and flyers to be picked up so that your absence is not obvious? Are your window air conditioners installed with firm, strong side panels? If the answer is no, to any of these questions then you know there's a problem and you should consider fortifying the security of your property.
If you do not have an alarm system, consider installing one. Contact your home insurance company to learn if you would be eligible for a premium discount once an alarm system is installed. You may discover that the discount amount is almost equal to the amount of the monthly payment for an alarm system. An alarm system can give peace of mind ‒ especially for fire.
If these thoughts disturb you, the best step is for you to phone the Crime Prevention Officer in the 104th Precinct at 718-386-6223. If you get the answering machine, leave your name and phone number. You will get a return call from the Officer so you can set up an appointment for a Security Survey of your home. You will not be advised to convert your home into a fortress, but you will get very expert suggestions on how to improve conditions so your safety is enhanced.
Please remember that there are very smart, expert burglars who can read your property in nanoseconds and identify each weak entry point. The Crime Prevention Officer will alert you to your crime vulnerabilities and suggest methods for improving your security. Remember also, the Security Survey is free.
IS GRAFFITI IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD A DETERRENT TO YOUR SECURITY?
You already know the answer to that one! Graffiti is an announcement that the residents of a neighborhood and a community don't care. Once that announcement is made, expect vandalism ‒ to home and auto ‒ to visit promptly. Then expect other varieties of quality of life problems to visit. Noise, public drinking, brawling, harassment will become your newest, constant visitors.
Do you want to help eliminate graffiti? Of course you do! Here's a way to help: report graffiti vandalism in progress via 911, or phone 311 to report damage after the vandalism has already occurred. If your information results in the arrest and conviction of individual(s) for violations of the Administrative Code or Penal Law Statutes regarding the crime of graffiti vandalism, you will be eligible for a reward of up to $500.
WARM WEATHER COMING
Very soon, the weather will improve and school will be out. Most youngsters are great. Many have plenty of energy and want to relax with friends. Some of the youngsters who are too easily bored and have the same energy will look for excitement that will frequently cause trouble.
If you have teens using your property to hang out, and you want them away, phone 911. Do this if the teens are strangers, or are causing damage, drinking, smoking, brawling or otherwise disturbing your peace. If these teens are injured on your property, you may end up in a nightmare of litigation, something no one ever looks forward to facing.
These few troubled teens will be the source of much of the quality of life problems in our neighborhoods. So, a good step is to tell your own kids to avoid hanging out where trouble can occur and that they should never show off their new electronic gadgets in public, especially among strangers.
You can bring your bicycles, cell phones and IPODs into the 104th Precinct to have these items registered so that, if stolen and later recovered, they can be returned to you.
If you visit the precinct, ask for the flyers and brochures that will give you information to help keep you, your family, and your property safe.
HAS THE PRECINCT BEEN KEEPING ON TOP OF GRAFFITI CRIME?
Yes. In just the past few weeks, more than a dozen graffiti arrests have been made. Both the 104th's Graffiti Officer PO Michael DiGeorgio and the NYPD City-Wide Vandals Task Force have been arresting graffiti vandals all over the precinct at all hours.
For that we say, congratulations, and keep it up!
The next time you see officers patrolling it would be great if you would give them a friendly wave and greeting. They deserve to know we appreciate their tough job.
HOW CAN I CONTACT CAPTAIN SHANLEY?
If you would like to talk to Captain Shanley about any police matter or concerns you have in your neighborhood, feel free to attend a monthly COP104 meeting, held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at locations throughout the precinct. Look for posters announcing the next meeting and its location. These meetings are useful to learn more about your community, and for you and your neighbors to inform the Captain of incidents and problems in your neighborhood.
Also, you can e-mail the Captain at firstname.lastname@example.org. For USPS Mail, write the captain at: 64-02 Catalpa Ave, Ridgewood, NY 11385-5257.
Are you interested in participating in civilian patrol of the community, phone GCOP/104COP at 718-497-1500.
Do you have questions or comments for Captain Shanley that you want published in the next issue of this column? Just e-mail: POLICEBEAT104@AOL.COM or write this column at: Police Beat 104, C/O Juniper Park Civic Association, P.O. Box 790275, Middle Village, NY 11379. We will keep your identity private if you request. If you request, we will forward your question or comment to Captain Shanley and publish his reply in the next issue.