WEST ESSEX AREA, NJ – Summer is here, and with the warm weather—people tend to spend more time outside, often not locking the doors to their homes. This makes access to homes easier for burglars. To help citizens protect themselves, their homes, vehicles and belongings, the West Orange Township Police recently issued some “Warm Weather Crime Prevention Tips.” These tips are universal and can be applied in any township.

The police suggest that residents always keep all doors including garage doors and rear sliders, closed and locked. They said that typically, during the warm weather, they see an increased number of burglaries where criminals walk into open garages and through the unlocked interior doors leading inside the home. The police also said they see an increased number of cases where burglars walk into homes by opening unlocked rear-sliding glass doors. In addition, residents frequently leave garage doors open, while doing yard work or spending time around the house.

Burglars can use this opportunity to steal property from the garage or gain access to the interior of the home,” according to the police.

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In addition, some residents forget to lock sliding glass doors, especially in the back of the home and this has been a popular point of entry for burglars, who will move on from a locked slider until they find one that is unsecured and easily opened.

The police also said that it is also important to keep vehicles locked, whether at home or away from home. For example, drivers are reminded to lock their cars as they enjoy the county's parks, pools and other activity centers this summer, according to the police.

In an effort to keep homes and neighborhoods secure, the police department is offering the following additional tips and reminders to residents:

  • Always keep all doors including the garage door and rear slider, closed and locked.
  • Ensure that the door leading from the garage to the interior of the home also is locked.
  • Always lock vehicles and remove valuable property. Note: Remember that a garage door opener in an unlocked car is like a key to the home.
  • Keep valuables in an unexpected place. For example, don't keep the most valuable jewelry in a jewelry box. Burglars want to get in and out quick, so don't make it easy for them to find the valuable or sentimental items.
  • Always report suspicious activity or people by calling 911.