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Paramus police chief: Burglary of gun, jewelry, cash provides holiday warning

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

PUBLIC SAFETY: It’s that time of year again: A 9mm handgun was stolen, along with an undisclosed amount of cash and jewelry, from a Paramus home yesterday, police said this morning.

Detectives determined that whoever was responsible pushed in the front door of the Harrison Street home between 3-5 p.m. yesterday, Paramus Police Chief Kenneth Ehrenberg said.

Ehrenberg reminded residents to make their homes less inviting to burglars, during a time of year when break-ins spike dramatically.

It helps, he said, to know that burglars will avoid having to take time or risk being seen. So their “work” becomes systematic.

They look for soft targets — those that don’t have obvious signs of security, of course, but also those that are obscured by objects.

They will then spend no more than a minute’s time trying to get in. If they can’t, they’ll move on. If they can, they’re out of the house inside of three minutes.

Three-quarters of those who do get in have broken a window, jimmied a door, or forced an entrance open, the chief said.

Some tips:

  • Make sure all doors and windows are secure, especially in back; use window stops (you can always pop them out when you’re home on a comfortable day);
  • Clear windows and doors of any bushes, trees or shrubs so that you, your neighbors — and, if necessary, police — can see them;
  • Deadbolts are a no-brainer, but only if the screws are at least a couple of inches long. Otherwise, Snooki could kick your door in;
  • If you don’t have motion detector lighting outside, get it; if you do, make sure it’s working properly — and don‘t have it close enough to the ground that someone could unscrew the bulb;
  • Lock away ladders, other types of boosters or tools lying around the outside of the house;
  • Set lights, televisions and radios on timers;
  • DO NOT KEEP VALUABLES in obvious places: The first, and sometimes only, destination of any burglar is the master bedroom;
  • Inventory your valuables with photos or videos, put the disc in a safe place — and, please, make sure you use an innocuous label (“Billy’s Birthday” will do just fine). It could help police but also comes in handy when you notify your insurance company;
  • Lock your car, even when it’s in your driveway;
  • If you’re going away for awhile: (a) notify police headquarters to put your home on the vacant list; they‘ll be sure to drive by now and then (b) arrange for deliveries to be suspended or picked up.

One of the most tried-and-true burglar deterrents is a dog. Doesn’t matter what kind: A burglar doesn’t want to spend time or be noticed.

Also keep in mind that burglars use computers, too. So don’t announce anywhere that you’re going away for any length of time — or even the activities you have planned for the day.

Wait until after you’re home to tell people what you did.

Finally: Make sure your house number can be seen clearly from the street at any time of day, just in case you need police, fire or ambulance service.

Citizens should also be on the lookout for “diversion” crimes: That’s when one or two people convince a senior citizen of a utility company or TV service visit. Don’t allow anyone into your home without 100% of who they are and where they come from.

If they are genuine, they will understand if you call a particular utility — or even the police. Don‘t think twice: It‘s all right to call, Ehrenberg said.

If you have elderly parents, remind them of this.

And if you see something, say something.

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