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Door-to-door Dangers: A Real Threat Reemerges

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Central Jersey has recently become the target of burglaries and a hotspot for would-be scam artists.

East Brunswick PD reported a rash of burglaries on Saturday, January 28th, with home burglars removing electrical meters to cut power to homes.

Just two days later on January 30th, a Sayreville resident reported a suspicious incident to police. According to Sayreville PD, the resident told of a 30-something male who knocked on his door, identified himself as a JCP&L employee, and requested entry to the home to check the fuse box. The resident denied him access, shut the door, and called law enforcement.  The suspicious individual has yet to be located.

Just yesterday, on February 1st, Woodbridge PD posted a public service announcement on Facebook, warning local residents of scammers posing as utility workers in an attempt to gain access to homes. “DO NOT LET THEM IN,” the post reads. Find the original post here. While this scam is nothing new, recent reports suggest an increase in these incidents in the Central Jersey area.

All of these reports should have us all in a healthy state of alert.

Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself:

Lock EVERYTHING.

House. Car. Shed. Fence. Gate. Garage. Windows. At all times.

  • Keep your entrances and pathways well-lit and well maintained.
  • Install motion sensor lighting.
  • Trim shrubs and landscaping back to eliminate hiding spots for would-be burglars.

Do not leave your possessions sitting unattended in plain sight. Put your stuff away.

Not only is it a lure for serial takers, but it may also suggest apathy toward safety measures.

If your stuff is casually left unsecured, could your doors be casually left unlocked?

If you have a security system, use it.  If you don’t, consider purchasing one.

Many security systems now interface nicely with smart phones and Nest technology, making the industry more competitive, and more affordable, as a result. Create a custom a la carte system with Scout’s wide range of security products

Get a dog

Securing your home should never be your sole reason for dog ownership, but dogs can be a helpful addition to your home security plan. Barking dogs are a great burglar deterrent as the noise draws attention, complicating burglary plans.

Make friends with your neighbors

  • Regularly interact with your neighbors. Make nice.
  • Develop a rapport that will keep them vested in your personal safety. And remember to return the favor.
  • Allow them to learn some of your habits and meet some of your visitors.
  • Let them know when you’ll be out of town. A little bit of nosey goes a long way when it comes to safety.

If you see something, say something

Report any and all suspicious activity to your local police department.  Better to call and secure yourself, than to not and risk yourself. Do not allow others to intimidate you or discourage you from advocating for your personal safety or that of your family.

Make your house easy to find for law enforcement

Ensure your house address number is large, reflective and easy to read from the street. When you’re in trouble, every second counts. Give police a little help finding you by making your house number easy to see.

Avoid announcing to the world when you’re away from home

Do not post your travel plans on social media. If you must post photos, wait until you return home.

 

…if someone knocks on your door while you’re home…

 

Use your windows

If someone comes to your door, look out the window, peep through the door. Can you vouch for their identity at a glance? If not, there is nothing wrong with asking someone to identify themselves before you even open the door.

 

…if they claim to work for ANYONE…

 

Call the company they claim to represent.

Verify the visit and the representative’s identity. If the company doesn’t know what you’re talking about, immediately call 911.

 

…if you open the door…

 

Grab your cell phone

Be prepared to call 911 or snap a photo at any moment. 

Ask for identification

If the person is a legitimate employee of any organization which they claim to represent, he or she should have identification on-hand.

Listen to your gut

If it doesn’t feel safe, say “thanks, but no thanks” and shut the door.

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In light of recent events, it helps to be reminded of the need for personal safety. Of course it’s not healthy to live in a constant state of paranoia or fear, but the objective of personal safety is to alleviate these completely reasonable concerns.

If you live in fear, the Bad Guys win, without ever stepping foot in your home.

Live safely and wisely, but not fearfully.

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