In the wake of the arrest of the alleged Crestwood Village burglar, police are urging residents to take steps to ensure that their homes do not become attractive targets to criminals.
"You have to do everything to harden your residence," Manchester Chief of Police Brian Klimakowski told a group of seniors last week during a safety talk at AristaCare at Whiting. "We know we have to protect ourselves."
Entry to homes in the Crestwood Villages during a recent months-long string of burglaries appeared to have been made through unlocked doors and windows. Police have said that if the alleged burglar, 26-year-old Crestwood Village VI resident Jason M. Clancy, encountered a locked residence he would move on to another.
"Most of these crimes are crimes of opportunity," Klimakowski said.
It appeared success in finding easily accessible homes emboldened the alleged burglar, who faces multiple charges after an early-September arrest, as the incidents happened progressively more frequently since beginning in July.
And they consistently appeared to be crimes of opportunity. Home windows were not smashed. Noises were not made.
"It's quiet out here at night," Klimakowski said, referring to the heavily wooded and mostly calm neighborhoods found in Whiting. "If someone starts breaking windows, someone's going to hear."
To reduced the potential of becoming a victim of a crime of opportunity, Klimakowski recommended the following:
- Install motion sensor lights outside of the home
- Have a hole drilled in window frames so they can be pinned and opened only to a certain height
- Keep shrubs trimmed to below window height to eliminate a hiding spot for anyone trying to enter a home
- Look out after your neighbors
To that final point, the chief said that the public should not hesitate to call police if something does not seem right.
"Don't ever feel that anything is too big for the police department," he said. "We'll do anything we can do to help."
If a resident ever encounters a burglar inside of their home, Klimakowski urged that they do not confront the individual. Burglars are looking for goods to lift, not for an altercation.
"They want to get into the house, get what they want and get out," he said.
A resident who encounters someone in their home should yell for help and immediately dial police for help.
Burglars mainly target items that cannot easily be traced, Klimakowski said, such as cash, jewelry and prescription drugs. Regulations at secondhand shops make it easier for law enforcement to track certain stolen goods, like a television with a serial number.
"Thieves try to stay away from anything that can be traced," the chief said.
If the man charged with the Crestwood burglaries posts bail, which according to the Ocean County Department of Corrections remains at $75,000, he would be able to return to his father's home in Village VI while awaiting further proceedings.
"I know that's not something you want to hear," Klimakowski said. "But they go home."
The chief said that he will meet with representatives from the villages and said it may be possible for them through their bi-laws to place certain restrictions on who can live in the villages.