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Police share tips to protect homes, presents during holidays

By: Mike Koury | C&G Newspapers | Published December 10, 2019


OAKLAND COUNTY — The end of the year can bring a lot of joy.

Some are getting excited about ordering presents for Christmas, and others are planning trips to escape the cold weather. In both cases, police warn residents to take special care of their homes and personal items.

Outside of locking up the house and setting the lights on timers, Ferndale Police Sgt. Baron Brown said residents can call the department or sign up online for a vacation watch form. This would allow officers to visit and check up on your home while you’re away.

“We are happy to check on your homes,” he said. “Our auxiliary officers live for that kind of stuff because it gets them out on the street, gets them in the neighborhoods. That’s really the stuff that they like to do, is to be out there, be seen and interact with folks.”

Berkley Public Safety Department Detective Lt. Andrew Hadfield said that having neighbors keep an eye on your property is a big help while you’re away. He also said that a neighbor could use the driveway while you’re gone to act as a deterrent.

“We also recommend having the blinds closed or the drapes closed — not leaving things where someone can look right inside a window and see something of value to take,” he said.

With packages, Hadfield recommends that people either schedule delivery times for their homes, make sure that someone picks them up for them or, if their workplace allows it, have their packages shipped to their workplaces so that they are not left on porches.

“Package thefts have been pretty rampant in the area (Oakland County) for the last couple of years,” he said. “I know last year we had a couple cases of it, and there were a couple of arrests that were made off some of those cases, but more specifically, it’s a crime of opportunity, and somebody that has bad intentions that sees a free gift sitting on a porch starts to take it.”

Increasingly, people are attempting to protect their homes with video surveillance. Brown said that, while these systems are good, they only go so far in helping to find a suspect who stalked a home or stole a package, as a camera often yields only a picture.

“It helps for sure, and we hit the jackpot every now and then on stuff like that, but if you can just figure out a way to get it delivered to a secure location, whether it’s a relative’s house or work, or some other type of service or a lockbox on their porch, that’s the way to go,” he said.

Brown said that people aren’t heading out to stores in the numbers that they used to.

“Therefore, packages are being delivered more and more frequently, and it’s just one comes with the other,” he said. “If there’s more packages, there’s gonna be … more thefts of packages. That’s something that’s kind of exploded in the last couple of years, and it’s everybody’s responsibility to keep a handle on that, and look out for our neighbors and use good common sense.”