Neighborhood Watch Tips

Tips for Home Safety
Last edited:  20 December 2016
New items in red
 

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Wonder why you get ridiculous solicitations from obvious scam artists?  They want to save time and immediately weed out people who are smart enough to suspect a scam!!   

 

Should you come upon an item in your neighborhood that you suspect was used in a crime, don't touch it! 
If you do, it likely renders the evidence, if that's what it is, unusable, at least for gathering fingerprints, DNA, etc. 
Best to immediately alert your police department and ask for instructions!

How and Why You Should Record the Police

Bloomingdale Police Department Tips - Click Here - PDF


Hot Tips


Remember the movie "Home Alone." 
Try to avoid showing potential burglars any predictability in your behavior and lighting! 

Be alert when purchasing very expensive small items such as jewelry at stores. 
Thieves can follow you home, assess when you'll likely be away, then
smash and grab*. 

Don't put your valuables in your master bedroom.  That's the first place burglars look!

Carry two wallets, one with maybe just $5 as a decoy.  If accosted, think about throwing down the decoy and running. 

________

Kwikset's "10 Things You Must Know About Home Security"

Tips from a locksmith: 
Dog dish, no barking?  Put radio on a timer.  Lubricate locks with WD40 to clean them, then use Ace Hardware's "TriFlow" -- makes them harder to "bump"; do this once a year.  Check length of lock screws; if short, replace with longer screws.  As some burglars use suction cups to lift patio doors, put in something to keep dowel rods down. 

_________
 

Tips from an ex-cop for his elderly aunt, 14 January 2015

After interviewing a few burglars when I was working on a burglary team: I was told by one burglar the following:

Burglars DO NOT like:

1.  Dogs
2.  Having to deal with "Big Guys."

So a quick inexpensive way worrying about your house being burglarized is to .....

Buy a "Beware of Dog Sign".  Slide it in your front window/door.  Who cares if you don't have a dog.  Plus, it can be a test for your nosey neighbor.  I went to a thrift store and bought a pair of boots & gym shoes, size 15.  Both shoes were $5.00 each.  I did this for my 75-yr old aunt who lives alone, and she feels very comfortable having the sign up and the shoes that she rotates from her front door to side door.  Also, I bought a cheap dog bowl, and my aunt puts bird seed in there....  No burglar has the time to make sure the bowl has dog food.   A lot cheaper than all those expensive home security devices.

 

Identity Theft (Downloadable PDF) -- Bloomingdale Police Department, Jan/Feb 2015


(BPD Neighborhood Watch Newsletter July 2012)

SAFETY REMINDERS:


 

Keep doors and windows closed and locked at all times, including doors that connect from the garage to the home.  Utilize outside light and motion light detectors around your home.
Utilize timers to turn lights, radio(s) or television(s) on and off at appropriate times in different areas of your home.
Residential alarm system: verify it is operational and use it
anytime you leave your home.
Landscaping: Maintain lawn, bushes & trees, as well as, removal of snow.
Leaving newspapers, mail and / or garbage containers out for extended periods will draw unwanted attention.
Properly lock your unattended vehicles at all times, including in your driveway.
Remove all personal / valuable items from unattended vehicles, including GPS devices and garage door openers.
Do not publicize vacation plans, especially on social networking sites.
Report
all suspicious person(s) and vehicles in your neighborhood.

 
(BCRA News, April 2011)

 

Unfortunately there have been some recent home break-ins within our
community. Please follow these tips to help avoid it happening to you.

1. Keep outside lights on at night.—A well lit home keeps the rats away.

2. Close all window coverings.—Keep prying eyes from seeing inside.

3. Install a random timer to vary times a light or radio is on while you are
gone from your home.—If the time varies, it looks like someone is
home. You can run it during the day also.

4. Have a neighbor watch your home and stop all mail and newspaper
deliveries. – A pile of papers means you’re not at home and check for
things stuck on doors or door handles.
5. Place a stick in the sliding glass door channel to make it more difficult
to slide open the door.—The more difficult it is to get inside, the more
likely they’ll go someplace else.
6. If you see something out of the ordinary or strangers milling around,
call 911.
7. LOCK YOUR DOORS AND WINDOWS!




SECURITY & SAFETY REMINDERS
 (courtesy BCIII)

 

If you notice suspicious activity or feel uncomfortable
in any way, please don't hesitate to
contact the Bloomingdale Police Department to
ensure your safety and security as well as that
of our community.

• Keep doors and windows closed and locked
at all times, including doors that connect
from the garage to the home.

• Utilize outside light and motion light detectors
around your home.

• Utilize timers to turn lights, radio or television
on and off at appropriate times in different
areas of your home. You may want to
program your TV or radio to talk show channels
that sound like real conversations.

• Properly lock your unattended vehicles at all
times, including in your driveway.

• Remove all personal / valuable items for un-
attended vehicles, including GPS devices.

• Report any suspicious person(s) and vehicles
in your neighborhood.

 

AYN-DIY “ASK YOUR NEIGHBOR, DO IT YOURSELF”
(courtesy Shawn Rodgers, BCIII Member & BCRA President)

We need to get serious about security this month. In recent weeks we have had a rash of burglaries and car break-ins in our community. While police presence has been increased there are several things you can do to better secure your home.

Light It - Sounds simple right? You be amazed about how easy it is to light up the outside of our houses at night however many owners are in the dark. Keep your front and rear outside lights on 8pm to 4am at least. I would love to drive down the road and see everyone's lights on. You can easily add timer switches to these lights ($20/each) to automate this. If you have fol­lowed my previous article about fluorescent lights, you know that this won't run up your electric bill either and will provide even more light than normal. You can use a 100W fluorescent bulb in place of the standard 60w light without any issue in our fixtures.

Lock It - don't leave your house with your windows open. You are making it easy to break into you home. Make sure your locks and strike plates are well-secured and working properly and for the sliding glass doors add a pin lock or a short stick or bar between the jam and door so it can't be easily slid open.

For homes with the garage separate from the home (Tyler Units) consider adding a Garage boor Monitor ($35) so you can tell if your door is open or closed from within your home. They are very easy to install.

Lower The Temptation—If you leave you home make sure to not leave your drapes or blinds open. Someone could look into your windows and see what you have. If you leave them open you are just making it easy for the burglar to decide if he wants to rob your home or not. If you leave them closed he doesn't know what you have and will look elsewhere.

Also if you have large shrubs or bushes in front of windows consider removing them or trimming them back. You do not want to "make" a hiding place for someone to work on breaking in or to hide a broken window.

Record and Document
- If you do get burglarized how can you insure yourself? First take pictures of all of your belongings BEFORE something happens and docu­ment the cost of each item. I know it sounds hard and tedious to do but it will save you time and headaches when filing an insurance claim.

Going on Vacation? Let a neighbor know you will be gone and to look out for your place. Bloomingdale Police D
ept. also has a vacation Watch program. Call 630- 529-9868 for more information. Add timers to interior lamps that will randomly turn on lights or a radio at various intervals; in doing so it may look or feel like someone is home.

Watch your ChildrenIf you children are outside teach them about safety. There are many classes that your children can attend on general safety issues. Also instruct your children about bike safety it has been brought to my attention there are several children that don't follow the usual look before you turn rules and unfortunately there are a few speeders in our neighborhood also.

Alarm It
- Adding an alarm system to your home is an expensive choice in many cases. It not a fool-proof sys­tem either. Anyone that says they can "protect" your home doesn't know what they are talking about. You can only detect an intrusion and alert with sound or an automated phone call to the police or a central alarm monitoring station. Putting an alarm sign outside may act as a deterrent however it also could also tip off someone that you have something of high value to steal in your home.  There are many alarm options to choose from. While I have many years of experience in this area, an alarm system for a home should be customized based upon your living situation and habits. So I'm not going to recommend anything here in this article.  However, it’s been brought to my attention that one should be careful about the length of service contracted for as well as be alert to any deceptive information provided by the sales person.  Be sure to get things in writing and ask for and check out references.  

Look Out—If you see something suspicious, like a stranger walking around oddly or a parked car with someone in it for a long period of time or a non­descript van taking out furniture or belongings. Call the Police if you feel something is wrong. Remember utility companies almost NEVER visit a house to do any kind of inspection. Don't let anyone in your house unless you have called or are expecting them.

 

Neighborhood Watch Tips

(courtesy Bill Bahr:  to be further edited, condensed, and supplemented; last edit  4/5/2011)


At the last Neighborhood Watch meeting, we heard from Deputy Chief of Police Randy Sater that criminal activity has been dramatically up since the first of the year, most likely due to the poor state of the economy.  He also said that most of the burglaries were residential “smash and grabs” with the thieves often cutting the telephone lines (for dial-
out alarms), quickly breaking in through a door, and grabbing a pillow case to quickly carry out jewels and cash mostly found in master bedrooms, and leaving before police or neighbors can respond to an alarm.  Bill Lawler, Director of the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy, said he recommended installation of burglar alarm systems, as well as camera surveillance systems if one can afford them.  Thieves often take the jewelry, especially gold, to pawnshops or “cash for gold” stores or drop it in mailers to places (some out of state) that buy and melt down precious metals with few questions asked.  Seniors are especially susceptible to scams – people knocking on front doors, pretending to be solicitors of inspectors who cause a distraction, while someone else enters, either back or front door, and does a quick burglary.  “Solicitors” unlicensed by the Village often ring doorbells; if no answer they go around back and break-in an unlocked sliding door or pry open a window.  It’s an unfortunate sign of the times, but we may all be better off if we immediately report to the police a solicitor that doesn’t have a Village of Bloomingdale soliciting permit (normally worn around the neck).  Especially beware of repairmen just happening to be in the neighborhood and wanting to work on your house.  Also, don’t be afraid to ask “village” workers who come onto your property for their credentials.   


Further tips (I’ll try to put together a collection of the many I passed out before):

  1. Make sure you have an answering machine.  A phone that rings off the hook gives the appearance of an unoccupied home.
  1. If you’re handy, protect your telephone lines from quick cutting of the weather-protective PVC piping by covering it with metal framing stud track, which you can purchase at Home Depot (lumber department) for $2.90 for 10 feet.  Wireless alarms, eg, “Cellguard,” a cellular calling system from ADT likely costs an additional $15/month to their regular monthly service.  
  2. Lock your car doors if they’re left on your driveway; most of the car burglaries have been from unlocked cars.  
  3. Call 9-1-1 at the first hint of someone suspicious.  Don’t feel you need to go out and find out what the person is up to.  If you, remember that thieves are usually into lying; a smart thief will likely have a “good” alibi; and you may scare them away for an hour after which they’ll likely be back.  Best not to confront them, but get their license number (good memory and good eyes needed; otherwise, and if you have time, use binoculars or a camera) and quickly notify the police.

     

Neighborhoods are like a chain.  If there’s an obvious weak link (a house unlit, side gate open, overgrown vegetation allowing a thief to hide while he breaks into a house, unshoveled show, newspapers gathering on the driveway, etc, etc), a thief will be attracted.  To save time, he’ll also start looking nearby for other unprotected houses (yours?).  Please don’t think anyone is going to go around writing up suggestions and handing them over to your neglectful neighbor to protect their home.  Maybe your volunteer Neighborhood Watch block captain will do this, maybe not, maybe you can ask him/her.  But to best promptly protect yourself, be a good neighbor and TALK TO YOUR NEIGHBOR.  It’s a lot cheaper than the financial, physical, and psychological loss associated with someone burglarizing their or YOUR home!      


Note:  One theory about the burglar activity is that, after observing a house over a long period of time, one or two persons of a burglary team goes into a house to smash and grab (looking for cash, jewelry, and other small items of value in the master bedroom, etc; then leaving within 5-
10 minutes before any alarm system can alert and have police arrive).  When the “smash and grab” is completed, the burglar(s) then call(s) their accomplice in a car to pick them up, not necessarily in front of the house robbed.  


Again, I can’t stress this enough, you can help yourself by helping your neighbors help themselves.  If you notice they don’t have enough lighting or other efforts to prevent burglars, let them know.  If their house is attacked successfully, the thieves will likely be back at some time for another nearby target.  Maybe your house will be chosen the next time. 

=========================================

 

THIRTEEN THINGS A BURGLAR WON'T TELL YOU:

   

   1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.

   2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.

   3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste... And taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.

   4. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it.

   5. If it snows while you're out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway.

  6. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don't let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it's set. That makes it too easy.

  7. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom - and your jewelry. It's not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.

  8. It's raining, you're fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door - understandable. But understand this: I don't take a day off because of bad weather.

  9. I always knock first. If you answer, I'll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. (Don't take me up on it.)

  10. Do you really think I won't look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.

  11. Here's a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids' rooms.

  12. You're right: I won't have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it's not bolted down, I'll take it with me.

  13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system….

 

   8 MORE THINGS A BURGLAR WON'T TELL YOU:

   

   1. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.

   2. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.

   3. I'll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he'll stop what he's doing and wait to hear It again.. If he doesn't hear it again, he'll just go back to what he was doing. It's human nature.

   4. I'm not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?

   5. I love looking in your windows. I'm looking for signs that you're home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I'd like. I'll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets.

   6. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It's easier than you think to look up your address.

   7. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it's an invitation.

   8. If you don't answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the Jackpot and walk right in.

   

   Sources: Convicted burglars in North Carolina , Oregon , California , and  Kentucky ; security consultant Chris McGoey, who runs www.crimedoctor.com/.com and Richard T. Wright, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, who interviewed 105 burglars for his book “Burglars on The Job.”

 

      Protection for you and your home:

   If you don't have a gun, here's a more humane way to wreck someone's evil plans for you.   (I guess I can get rid of the baseball bat.)  

 WASP SPRAY

A friend who is a receptionist in a church in a high risk area was concerned about someone coming into the office on Monday to rob them when they were counting the collection. She asked the local police department about using pepper spray and they recommended to her that she get a can of wasp spray instead.

The wasp spray, they told her, can shoot up to twenty feet away and is a lot more accurate, while with the pepper spray, they have to get too close to you and could overpower you. The wasp spray temporarily blinds an attacker until they get to the hospital for an antidote. She keeps a can on her desk

In the office and it doesn't attract attention from people like a can of pepper spray would. She also keeps one nearby at home for home protection.

Thought this was interesting and might be of use.

   

FROM ANOTHER SOURCE

   

   On the heels of a break in and beating that left an elderly woman in Toledo dead, self defense experts have a tip that could save your life.

   Val Glinka teaches self-defense to students at Sylvania Southview High School . For decades, he's suggested putting a can of wasp and hornet spray near your door or bed.

   Glinka says, "This is better than anything I can teach them."

   Glinka considers it inexpensive, easy to find, and more effective than mace or pepper spray. The cans typically shoot 20 to 30 feet; so if someone tries to break into your home, Glinka says, "spray the culprit in the eyes". It's a tip he's given to students for decades. It's also one he wants everyone to hear. If you're looking for protection, Glinka says look to the spray.

   "That's going to give you a chance to call the police; maybe get out."

   Put your car keys beside your bed at night.  If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get in your house just press the panic button for your car. The alarm will be set off, and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the car battery dies. This tip came from a neighborhood watch coordinator. Next time you come home for the night and you start to put your keys away, think of this: It's a security alarm system that you probably already have and requires no installation. Test it. It will go off from most everywhere inside your house and will keep honking until your battery runs down or until you reset it with the button on the key fob chain. It works if you park in your driveway or garage. If your car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break into your house, odds are the burglar/rapist won't stick around.

   After a few seconds all the neighbors will be looking out their windows to see who is out there and sure enough the criminal won't want that. And remember to carry your keys while walking to your car in a parking lot. The alarm can work the same way there.

   This is something that should really be shared with everyone. Maybe it could save a life or a sexual abuse crime.

   P.S. I am sending this to everyone I know because I think it is fantastic.

 Would also be useful for any emergency, such as a heart attack, where you can't reach a phone. My Mom has suggested to my Dad that he carry his car keys with him in case he falls outside and she doesn't hear him.  He can activate the car alarm and then she'll know there's a problem.

Stay safe!  See something suspicious, call 9-1-1.  Keep your home well-lit.   Motion-activated lights on the outside of your house, to include the sides and back, work great!  Nothing so cute as a startled (and maybe heart-attack prone) crook!!    :)  

Possible lesson:  If you see that your neighbor’s exterior lights, normally kept on at night, are dark, you may want to check things out.  I know that some folks manually turn on their outside nights at light, so maybe they forgot, but a lot (maybe most) have converted their systems to automatic.

Here’s a somewhat related tip:  Even with a decent burglary alarm system, it may be ten minutes after activation before the police arrive at your door at the earliest, due to the nature of the alarm system procedures.  The modus of the criminals is to “smash and grab,” going straight to the master bedroom to steal jewelry boxes, cash, etc, and be out the door in five minutes.  If you’re at home when this happens, you maybe naturally concerned about your personal safety.  If you have an extra  keyfob to your car, you may want to keep it next to your bed to activate your car alarm system to alert neighbors if there’s an emergency.  


Also, remember to take out any valuables from the cars you might park in your driveway.  Especially make sure you remove any garage door openers.  Thieves can gain entry to your car, then use the garage door opener to quickly enter your house.  It’s happened here in Bloomingdale.  

If your neighbor’s away and not made other arrangements, please be a good Samaritan and pick up flyers, newspapers, and other items left around doors or driveways and starting to accumulate.  Makes for a big tip-off to burglars that someone’s not at home.  Also along these lines and as a courtesy to your neighbors (and by BCRA regs), put your trashcans and lawn trash bags out of site until day of trash pick-up and retrieve promptly.


See anything suspicious, please report it immediately to 9-
1-1 and kindly let me know as well.  


Also, FYI, next week (likely Friday), there’ll be another tree-
limb/branch pick-up.  Again, neighbor-visibility is a major key to keeping our community safe.  Make sure you can see your neighbors’ houses, especially the entrances, from your windows, and that they can see your house entrances.  Clear away any vegetation, especially tree limbs, blocking the view.  As a well, you might just clear away any tree limbs that have leaves within your upward grasp.  If you can touch ‘em, cut ‘em.   As a courtesy to your neighborhood strollers, might as well check those trees overhanging sidewalks.  

Also, if you go away for a couple days, please let your neighbors’ know or at least make sure no newspapers are lying on your driveway or packages left at your doorstep.  They’re sure give-aways no one is at home.  Also make sure any trashcans are retrieved and put out of sight (also per BCRA regs) after the trash-pick-up if you’ll not be home to do so.  If you’re a neighbor and no one has asked you to help out regards piling-up newspapers, pick ‘em up anyway and be a good Samaritan.  You’ll be helping yourself anyway by keeping the burglars away and your neighborhood crime-free.  

As regards preventing burglaries, I again encourage you to do all you can to make sure your home looks occupied, especially when you're on vacations.  Use timing and motion-activated lights and ground lights aimed at any otherwise deeply shadowed areas near entries to your home.   Have your neighbor pick up any newspapers, flyers, packages that might unexpectedly come.  Keep your lawn mowed (or driveway shoveled).  

Also keep your trees and shrubs from blocking views of your windows and doors.  Try to see if your neighbor can see your windows and door from his window and door and you can see his.  If not, clear away the vegetation.  And, while you're at it and regardless of view, don't forget those branches hanging low over the sidewalks able to take the heads off individuals skateboarding or just strolling.  One should be able to raise one's hand and not touch any leaves.  So keep your insurance rates down and plan ahead.  

Lock all your doors and stay safe!  

Remember, a lot of these burglaries are "smash and grabs":  burglars entering homes, going mainly to the master and other bedrooms and grabbing jewelry, coins, and cash, all within 10 minutes or less.  Seems to happen just after dark.  Others burglaries in area have involved daylight efforts of 1-2 individuals ringing doorbells and when no one answers, going around to the back or side to break in.  When someone does answer the door, they have flimsy excuses, eg, "Doesn't Joe live here?", hokey flyers, etc, etc.  To make burglars think your house is occupied, leave a car in the driveway (make sure it's locked and expensive accessories removed or hidden; however, beware of the risk of vandals); use variable light timers (nice to have some means to activate or keep on an overhead light vis a vis the floor lamps that timers normally activate), keep your snow shoveled, grass cut, mail/packages/flyers/newspapers picked up.  Make sure neighbors can easily see your doors and windows and that these potential entrances are not hidden by vegetation and/or shadows.  Keep your outside garage lights on with some dawn to dusk light activators.  For the side(s) or back of your house, one of the best investments you can make is a security light with motion detector.  Make sure it won't be activated by wind blowing nearby vegetation.  When gone for an "extended" period, you can also call the Police Department and have your home put on Vacation Watch.  Great to keep a pair of binoculars handy to read/record license plates of suspicious cars.  Remember to immediately report all suspicious activity by calling 9-1-1 and to also keep your Neighborhood Watch block captain and neighbors informed.  


If I were to guess, I'd say that the houses were cased well in advanced looking for signs of inactivity.  All houses were vacant at the time; at only one did the owners come home while the burglary was in progress. To help prevent burglaries, you might want to get motion-
activated lights for those areas of your house that are normally hidden from view.  If you haven't already done so, you may want to work a buddy system with your neighbor(s) and make sure that snow is shovelled, deliveries/papers/flyers picked up, trash is set out, etc, etc regularly.   While your neighbor is gone, you might occasionally want to walk around their house, especially looking for missing screens (taken off to make prying windows easier.    


For more information, go to
www.villageofbloomingdale.org/sites/default/files/BNW-Nov-Dec%202009.pdf or go to http://www.villageofbloomingdale.org/public-safety/police/police-programs/neighborhood-watch

Also, FYI, if you haven't already, you can subscribe to the informative Village of Bloomingdale Residential E-News by sending a free subscription request to Barb Weber at weberb@vil.bloomingdale.il.us .  

Unfortunately, I have to report to you an incident that occurred at my own house around 10 pm this evening.  We heard a noise from outside that was either very close to our house or hitting our house.  Hearing some more noise and seeing our motion detecting light on the side of our house go on, we went out to investigate.  We found a cellphone by our patio (likely dropped by the intruder when he was surprised by the security light).  We then called the police.  It was interesting that then the phone rang several times, likely from the intruder's friends/accomplices, as they were trying to locate the phone in the dark.  Then the police came.  They thought this could be a gang of juvenile delinquents, possibly those that have been vandalizing our gazebo and painting graffiti on street signs and obscenities on utility boxes.   About 30 minutes after the police left, a group of juveniles rang our doorbell and one of them apologized for making the noise (he said his friend not present hit our back door) and wanted to know if we had found his cellphone because someone was now calling his friends from it.   We told him that the police had it and told them why we had phoned the police.  The cellphone user would only say he was from Bloomingdale, another of them said he was from the Bloomfield Club townhomes, and all of them said they didn't know anything about vandalism.  After they left, we called the police about this, and they said they had already spoken with the cellphone owner's parents and that they would all have a meeting tomorrow morning to discuss things.  

Please keep an extra sharp eye out for intruders in the coming weeks.  If you see anything, please remember that all you need to do is to call 911and report suspicious activity.  If for some reason you want to remain anonymous, you can call the Anonymous Crime Tip Line  630 529-7274.  

Thanks and get yourself a motion detecting security light if you don't have one!!  

Note:  many of the burglaries these days appear to be "smash and grabs," home invasion burglaries that last only a few minutes, with the criminal(s) heading to the likely places to grab easy to carry, high-value items such as jewelry.  Please make your "stuff" hard to find, especially if you're going off on vacation.  Consider calling into the Bloomingdale Police to put your home on "House Watch" for the duration of your vacation.  Also notify your next door neighbors to insure mail doesn't linger in your mailbox and advertisements, newspapers, and packages don't litter your driveway or steps as telltale signs you're not there.  Also arrange to have your lawn cut while you're gone.  

If you have an alarm system, you may want to turn it on overnight or even during the day while you are home, if addition to when you're away.  If you do have outside cameras, remember that if you don't have any outside night lighting, there's not much they'll capture.  At least put in a dawn-dusk light out back.  

For the latest Neighborhood Watch Newsletter, you can go to www.bloomfieldclub.org and click on the Neighborhood Watch link.  


As a matter both of neighborliness and safety, please ensure that not only your's but your neighbor's newspapers and advertisements left on doorhandles are picked up by midday.  Trashcans should also be removed from roadside by the end of the day.  Thieves are on the look-
out for houses that seem vacant.  You are urged to have at least one night light on both the front and back of your home.  Outside dawn-to-dusk timers are ideal.  Also, a motion-activated light on the side(s) of your home is quite useful in discouraging unwanted night-time activity.  

Please report any suspicious activity to the police. After 6 PM all police calls go to the dispatcher so just dial 911.

If you have an incident on your property please record the name of the police officer and ask for a report number. Report numbers are important because when reports are written they are discussed during daily police meetings and enable the police to see trends.

If you do NOT ask for a report number there may NOT be any police record of the incident.

Just a reminder that Bloomingdale's Branch Collection week occurs several times each year.  If you have any tree branches you'd like to dispose of, especially those that obstruct the view to your home and your view of your neighbors homes, please take these opportunities.


And again, please do your best to keep your outside lights on at night.  The cooler temperatures now make it easier to install outside lighting, especially in those areas of your property that would allow thieves to hide at night while gaining entry to your home.  Please consider installing motion-
detection-based lighting.  It has the effect of unnerving nighttime intruders and even those just taking shortcuts through your yard (they'll likely not do it again).  

The last Bloomingdale Neighborhood Watch meeting was very informative.   With regards to reported break-ins in our area, I was told that Bloomingdale is not being specially targeted.  Other areas are suffering a similar increase in crime.  At this meeting, the owner of Action Lock (near the intersection of Lake and Garden) gave an outstanding presentation on how to make your home safer.  While you're away, he advised using timers (also connected to radios) and lights, especially outside lights and motion-activated lights. He advised cleaning (with WD40) and lubricating (with TriFlow found at Ace Hardware) your locks, as it makes them hard to "bump," a trick allowing someone to easily hit your lock with a hammer and gain almost immediate access to your home.  He also advised that sliding doors be modified, if need be, to prevent thieves from lifting up and out the doors and from easily dislodging the familiar "broomstick" brace.  Action Lock also sells a number of locks; the owner demonstrated an ingenious new lock coming out based upon finger-print reading.  Of course, he also mentioned, to everyone's active agreement, cutting back any overgrown shrubbery that gives visual cover to anyone intent on breaking and entering.  My own rule of thumb:  if it's a tree branch in your yard and you can reach up and touch it, it's probably blocking a neighbor's view of your home.  Also consider getting an alarm system for your home.  However, realize that a common criminal tactic these days is "smash and grab."  They knock on the front door; not hearing anyone, they go to the back of the house and enter.  Knowing they'll likely trip an alarm, they figure they'll have 60 seconds to grab high-value items such as jewelry and leave.  Don't hide your valuables and keys in the typical places.  If that's where the average person would look, that's where a criminal would look.  Also, lock your car if you keep it your driveway and, above all, don't leave any valuables in open view.  

 

Two websites you might want to check out are:  

www.kwikset.com/HomeSafety/TenThings/default.aspx
www.vil.bloomingdale.il.us/Police/pdnbhwat.htm

This last one needs a bit of updating but still will give you all sorts of good advice as well as familiarize you a little more regarding Neighborhood Watch.

Finally, please look after your neighbors' property; hopefully they'll look after yours.

Just wanted to alert you to the fact that there was an attempted break-in yesterday on Greenfield Drive.  Police are still investigating.  Possibly related to this is a report that individuals had come through the neighborhood several months ago aggressively asking to come into homes to make telephone calls.  If such should happen to you, have them stay outside while you make the call for them or call the police so that they can help them.


Please do all you can during these summer months to look out for your neighbors and watch out for your neighborhood.  Call 911 should you see something suspicious.  If you haven't already arranged with a neighbor to look after their house during the summer vacation period (or anytime that matter), and you see newspapers, packages, or notices left for days piling up around their house, please be a good neighbor and pick them up.  Piling more than a few of them by their door may also be suspicious, so you may want to keep them for your neighbor and give them back upon return.  

 

Also, please use this week to take advantage of the Village's free tree limb pick-up.  It starts today and goes through this week until the truck comes through.  You'll know when it does, as all the current piles of tree limbs will be gone.   Please look out from your house and grounds.  If at any point or location on your property, you can't clearly see a neighbor's door or windows, they can't see you (and watch out for you in an emergency).  Please do yourself a favor and remove any obstructing tree limbs or shrubbery.  Also, double-check and walk in front of your neighbors' houses and see if there are any view obstructions of your property.  Finally remove any low-hanging tree limbs that threaten to take someone's head off, especially at night, should they be walking on the sidewalk in front of your home!  : )

Hope you're doing well.  As we head into a holiday weekend, I just wanted to urge you all to make sure, if you're leaving for any extended period, to let a friendly neighbor know about your absence and to make sure that any deliveries (mail, newspapers, packages, notices/door-hangers, etc) to your home are taken care of, so that they don't pile up to let strangers know about your absence.  You're also encouraged to use inside, randomized light timers and other devices (eg outside motion-activated lights) to give your house an at-home appearance.


I would also recommend you take advantage of the upcoming village branch collection service mentioned in the Village Almanac.  Take a walk around your house from in front of your neighbors' houses.  If you can't see your doors or first-
floor windows from your neighbors' vantage point because of overgrown vegetation (think about how the vegetation will grow in in a few weeks), they can't either.  Wouldn't you want them to be able to see if someone was breaking into your house?


The police have also asked me to pass along that, with the rise of crime in Bloomingdale (and the country at large), you are asked to make sure cars parked on your driveway are locked and to also immediately report to 9-
1-1 any suspicious activity.  (Please let me know about it as well.)  

1.  Keep your outside lights, both front and back, on at night.  Not everyone is doing this.  Please do this as a courtesy to your neighbors and as part of our Neighborhood Watch team.  


2. Trim your bushes and trees.  Vandals take advantage of lack of visibility.  They know that if someone sees them they are likely to get caught.  Hence they go out at night (as did our vandal last night) or prowl in areas of high vegetation where folks can't see them.  Take a trip outside around your house.  Stand in front of your neighbors' houses and look at yours.  If your neighbors can't see the entrances to your house, due to overhanging trees or uncut bushes, they can't see a burglar or vandal trying to enter.  In other words, they can't help you.  So help them help you, and trim your bushes and trees.  Please remember that one house attractive to criminals puts more at risk.  

 

Smash and Grab Reprise


He also said that most of the burglaries were “smash and grabs” with the thieves often cutting the telephone lines (for dial-out alarms) and grabbing a pillow case to quickly carry out jewels and cash mostly found in master bedrooms.

Note:  One theory about the burglar activity is that, after observing a house over a long period of time, one or two persons of a burglary team goes into a house to “smash and grab” (looking for cash, jewelry, and other small items of value in the master bedroom, etc; then leaving within 5-10 minutes before any alarm system can alert and have police arrive).  When the “smash and grab” is completed, the burglar(s) then call(s) their accomplice in a car to pick them up, not necessarily in front of the house robbed.  

Here’s a somewhat related tip:  Even with a decent burglary alarm system, it may be ten minutes after activation before the police arrive at your door at the earliest, due to the nature of the alarm system procedures.  The modus of the criminals is to “smash and grab,” going straight to the master bedroom to steal jewelry boxes, cash, etc, and be out the door in five minutes.  If you’re at home when this happens, you maybe naturally concerned about your personal safety.  If you have an extra  keyfob to your car, you may want to keep it next to your bed to activate your car alarm system to alert neighbors if there’s an emergency.  

Remember, a lot of these burglaries are smash and grabs:  burglars entering homes, going mainly to the master and other bedrooms and grabbing jewelry, coins, and cash, all within 10 minutes or less.  Seems to happen just after dark.  Others burglaries in area have involved daylight efforts of 1-2 individuals ringing doorbells and when no one answers, going around to the back or side to break in.  When someone does answer the door, they have flimsy excuses, eg, "Doesn't Joe live here?", hokey flyers, etc, etc.  

Note:  many of the burglaries these days appear to be "smash and grabs," home invasion burglaries that last only a few minutes, with the criminal(s) heading to the likely places to grab easy to carry, high-value items such as jewelry.  Please make your "stuff" hard to find, especially if you're going off on vacation.  

However, realize that a common criminal tactic these days is "smash and grab."  They knock on the front door; not hearing anyone, they go to the back of the house and enter.  Knowing they'll likely trip an alarm, they figure they'll have 60 seconds to grab high-value items such as jewelry and leave.  Don't hide your valuables and keys in the typical places.  If that's where the average person would look, that's where a criminal would look.  Also, lock your car if you keep it your driveway and, above all, don't leave any valuables in open view.


Ruse Burglaries:

Essentially a ruse burglary happens when someone, usually posing as a contractor, comes to your front door and tells you he’ll be happy to provide a “much-needed” service to you, eg. trimming trees.  He’ll show you what he means, just come to the back of your house.  While he’s taking you to the back of your house (leaving your front door unlocked), his accomplice goes in the front door and starts burglarizing.  Usually the person with you then has to take a cellphone call (from the guy inside); they start communicating in code or a foreign language, all to the effect of both buying time and letting the guy inside know how much time he has before you come around to the front door.  This type of burglary is on the rise.  Beware!!!!!  

Social Networking Photos:  

If security is a concern, beware of posting pictures taken on your mobile phone to social networking sites.  Likely has location embedded.  Take a few minutes to look over this slide show prepared by the US Army. Most people probably do not realize how much information they share when they post pictures on Social Networking sites.

www.slideshare.net/USArmySocialMedia/social-media-roundupgeotagging-safety


Holiday Tips from the Bloomingdale Police Department:

   Lock doors and windows
   Keep bushes and trees trimmed
   Use interior and exterior lighting in and around home
   If you have a residential alarm system, verify it is operational and use it when necessary
   Don't leave newspapers/mail/garbage cans out for days
   Verify the overhead garage door is closed and the side door locked.
   Do not post your travel plans on a social network
   Report suspicious vehicles or persons in your area -
call the police (Bloomingdale:  630-529-9868) to check things out.


 

Simple Tips to Prevent a Burglary at Your Home from the Bloomingdale Police Department (1/30/13)


1. Make the Home Look Occupied

Burglars tend to avoid homes that they believe are occupied. Outdoor motion lights and putting your inside lights on timers are excellent deterrents.

Don't leave your garbage cans at the curb for extended periods of time. Cancel or put a hold on your mail and newspaper deliveries when you leave town. Have someone you trust check on the house regularly.


2. Close and Lock Doors and Windows

Lock up even when you leave for a short time. Make sure you close your garage door when you leave, too.


3. Upgrade Flimsy Door and Window Locks

Burglars are able to breach flimsy, worn-out locks on both doors and windows. Homeowners should upgrade exterior doors with flimsy push-button or switch locks to deadbolt locks that securely bolt doors to their frames. Both double and single-cylinder models are available for doors with and without glass panes, respectively. Professional locksmiths can also upgrade window locks and the locks on sliding glass doors, which are common points of entry for burglars.


4. Invest in an Alarm System

Another great way to deter burglars is to install a security alarm. These systems include door, window and motion sensors that sound an alarm when triggered and notify the police that a breach has been made. Posting signage about the presence of a security alarm may deter burglars.

5. Block the View into the Home without Providing an Easy Escape Route


One way to prevent burglaries is to make sure the burglars cannot window shop before breaking in. Use curtains on windows, including garage and basement windows, so burglars cannot case the house and plan their entries.

However, do not use landscaping to block the view of potential burglars, since heavy shrubbery or hedges can be great cover for a thief making his or her escape from a home. Instead, keep dense landscaping away from the house.


6. Avoid Stashing Valuables in the Master Bedroom

Most families keep their most prized possessions in the master bedroom, including jewelry and cash. Burglars know this and often make the master bedroom their first stop after breaking into a home. One easy way to avoid theft is to keep one’s valuables in a safe in an inconspicuous part of the home or outside the home in a safe deposit box.

7. Hire a Professional to Upgrade doors and Install Locks


One of the best ways to prevent a break-
in is to upgrade the locks on one’s home and change the locks after purchasing a home or after being burgled. Don't overlook the doors on the house either. Often builders use cheaper hollow core doors for exterior points of entry. Consider upgrading to something heavier, making it difficult to shoulder or kick open.

==============================


Links to more Neighborhood Watch Tips:


www.adt.com/for_your_home/products_services/?wgc=top_10_home_security_tips
www.adt.com/for_your_home/products_services/?wgc=12_mistakes
www.adt.com/for_your_home/products_services/?wgc=home_invasion_tips
www.adt.com/for_your_home/products_services/?wgc=traveling_tips
www.adt.com/for_your_home/products_services/?wgc=home_safety_tips

www.elkgrovepd.org/prevention/crime-
prevention.asp

www.sacsheriff.com/crime_prevention/documents/neighborhood_watch_04.cfm
www.adt.com/for_your_home/learning_center/safety_tips?wgc=neighborhood_watch
www.coj.net/Departments/Sheriffs+Office/Community+Affairs/Watch+Programs/Neighborhood+Watch+Program.htm
www.ehow.com/way_5409467_neighborhood-watch-tips.html
www.gbtribune.com/section/1/article/11511/
http://www.nnw.org/usaonwatch 
http://organizing.tips.net/T008600_Organizing_a_Neighborhood_Watch.html
www.ncpc.org/topics/home-and-neighborhood-safety/neighborhood-watch
http://www.ncpc.org/topics/home-and-neighborhood-safety
http://memphis.about.com/od/midsouthliving/ht/neighborwatch.htm
http://tannerscreekhoa.com/watch/NW_TIPS_HAND_OUT.pdf
www.aspinwallneighborhoodwatch.com/safety-tips
www.ranchocordovapd.com/crime_prevention/residential_crime_prevention.cfm
www.ci.palm-springs.ca.us/index.aspx?page=996
http://cherrywood.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=41&Itemid=1

http://news.consumerreports.org/home/2011/09/burglaries-are-down-but-your-house-may-be-screaming-rob-me.html
http://myhoa.com/newsletter_articles/neighborhood%20watch%20tips.pdf

https://www.alertid.com/search/home-and-neighborhood-safety.asp
http://www.denvergov.org/Portals/720/documents/safetyandprevention/NW_Book_2014.pdf

 

Helpful websites:

www.scambusters.org
www.fraud.org
www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/e-scams?utm_campaign=email-Weekly&utm_content=78581

http://www.villageofbloomingdale.org/public-safety/police/police-programs/neighborhood-watch
http://peprimer.com/nhoodwatch.html

 

ID Theft:

www.slideshare.net/lawrencemedical/id-theft-handout-individual-june-2011
www.slideshare.net/lawrencemedical/social-networking-fraud-handout-june-2011-8748247

 

Crimestoppers:

www.illinoiscrimestoppers.org
www.idthisperson.com :  Website for “fun and profit.”  Find out who’s “hot” in your neck of the woods (just put in your zip code); maybe earn a reward!

 

Family Emergencies:

www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/Family_Emegency_Plan.pdf
www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/FamEmePlan_Child_Fields.pdf

 

Security System Review:

www.reviews.com/home-security-systems


Travel, Vacation, and Safety Tips:  

www.bahrnoproducts.com/TravelVacationSafetyTips.htm

 

How to Avoid Home Repair Fraud:

http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/tips.html


Checklists:

Home Security Checklist:  http://www.ncpc.org/cms-upload/ncpc/File/homechk2.pdf
Home Security Assessment Checklist:  https://www.cor.net/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=298
Home Security Checklist (Martha Stewart):  http://www.marthastewart.com/266995/home-security-checklist
Home Security Inspection Checklist:  http://www.lockdoctorls.com/id59.html
Home Security Checklist:  http://www.croftontownhall.com/home.htm
Crime Prevention Merit Badge Sample Home Security Checklist:  www.usscouts.org/mb/docs/Crime-Prevention-Home-Checklist.pdf
 


Note:  Commercial Smash and Grabs:
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smash_and_grab

 


More to come.  Check back soon.
 

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NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH TIPS