MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Police Department is currently investigating a number of residential burglaries and hopes to get some information from citizens that may keep residents, and their neighbors, from becoming victims.
The most important thing one can probably do to reduce the chance of being burglarized is to get to know the neighbors. With a limited number of officers on duty at any given time, friends and neighbors need to be the “eyes and ears” for MVPD and report potential incidents immediately.
“We do not mind checking on a suspicious person in a residential area, even if the person turns out to be perfectly legitimate, if it reduces the chance of your neighbor becoming targeted,” said Chief Mike Merrilees. “If your neighbors know that you are going to be out of town for a while, and what to look for while you are gone, they are more likely to help us keep your property safe.”
The department also offers the service of a house-check, in which a form is filled out, giving law enforcement details they need to know, including when residents will be out of town. Merrilees encourages resident to limit the number of people that know you are gone.
“If mail and newspapers are piling up on your front porch while you are using Facebook, or other social media, to tell the world that your house is empty — you are increasing your odds of becoming a victim,” he said.
Another thing residents can do to discourage burglaries is to keep the outside entrances well lit and as visible from the street as possible. Burglars often break into a home using an entrance that is hidden by darkness, landscaping, or that is just not very visible from a street, alley or even a neighbor’s property.
“Making your home entries highly visible will not always keep a crime from happening, but it should at least make the reporting of the incident happen more quickly,” he said.
A precaution that may seem obvious, but is not always the case, is to lock your homes, garages, storage buildings and vehicles. A lock will not stop a career criminal from breaking into your home or vehicle, but it will discourage the juvenile offender and others looking for a “crime of opportunity.”
These ideas can help protect not only residents but also their property, however, Merrilees said it is important to remember that the police department can do a much better job when they receive help from residents. He encourages residents to use the following numbers to report information or report suspicious activity:
•9-1-1 — To report such things as a crime in progress.
•740-397-2222 — To report questionable activity during, or after, the event.
•740-393-9536 — To give information on current investigations.