MORRISTOWN, NJ - The Morristown Police Department is offering tips to make residents feel safer in their apartments. According to police, burglars don't want to be caught. They tend to break into homes that are unoccupied when residents are out during the day or on vacation, they said.
Do deter break-ins, The Morristown Police are telling residents to make their apartment look occupied, know how to secure your apartment, get to know your neighbors and secure all common areas in your complex.
To make your apartment look occupied police are offering the following tips:
- Don’t leave notes for roommates or guests on your door saying that you are gone but will be home at a certain time.
- Take in your newspaper and packages on a daily basis.
- Don't announce on social networking sites that you will be going on vacation or traveling for business.
- Leave your TV or radio playing during the day when you are away
- Use timers to turn lights, radios, and televisions on and off.
- Arrange for a neighbor to pick up your mail from your mailbox so it doesn’t pile up when you are on vacation.
- Have a friend visit the apartment for a couple of hours several times during your vacation so the apartment does not appear unoccupied.
- Tell a trusted neighbor or the building manager when you are going away so they can keep an eye on your apartment
When you are home, authorities say there are ways to make sure your apartment is secure.
- Make sure the locks are changed before you move in.
- Lock your apartment door even if you are leaving for only a few minutes.
- Don’t provide spare keys to service people; be home to meet them.
- Never hide a spare key under your doormat or on top of your doorframe or in your mailbox.
- Don’t label your keys with your name and address. If you lose them, your home and complex will be vulnerable to burglary.
- Write only your last name or initials on your mailbox.
- Use the intercom or the peephole to identify visitors before opening your door.
- Secure sliding glass doors and windows with a dowel (rod) and track locks.
- Don’t leave valuables in plain view of the windows of your apartment. Hide valuables in non-obvious places where burglars may not think to look.
- Keep porch lights on. This way if a suspicious person is outside of your unit, your neighbors will be able to observe what is happening and contact the police.
- Keep a copy of your records online, in a fire-proof locked box or in a safe deposit box in a bank. Take pictures of your most valuable items. This will help you recover the items if they are stolen. Inventory the description, serial number and cost of your valuables.
- Stay alert when entering your apartment. Don’t talk on your cell phone or look preoccupied when walking toward your building
Police recommend that you get to know your neighbors
- Form an Apartment Watch.
- Work with landlords, management, the tenants’ association, or the board of directors to sponsor social events for residents.
- Let those neighbors who you trust know your schedule.
- Report suspicious behavior to management and the police (Call 9-1-1 for an immediate threat to life or property or a crime in progress. Otherwise, you can call the nonemergency phone number to the police at 973-538-2200).
- Keep everyone informed of crime prevention tips and any incidents with a newsletter or listserv that also includes social news and information about the building.
Lastly, police are reminding residents to make sure that common areas are secure:
- Limit access to the building and garage:
- Only let in to the building your guests or other residents.
- When you enter the parking garage, make sure that no one is lurking around the entryway. If a person enters who is not a resident, you can contact the police.
- Do not prop open doors.
- Controlled access buildings are only secure if the common doors remain closed and locked when not in use.
- Take your garage opener with you when you exit your car. If this is stolen it can be used to re-enter the garage to commit more crime.
- Report maintenance and security issues such as poor lighting, faulty locks, and overgrown shrubbery immediately to management.
To receive additional information with crime prevention tip, residents are encouraged to call the Office of the Chief of Police at 973-292-6655
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