‘Tis the Season for Crime – Some Tips for Safety


Gary Kopycinski
Editor & Publisher

I know it hasn’t been a good week when I have to go to the Thesaurus to find three different ways to write "robbed" for the headlines.  There were three stories that merited attention on the front page this week, all of them involving alleged armed robbery.  That’s enough for any town, and certainly more than enough for Park Forest.

Yes, these events do leave me with a sense of disquietude.  It’s not easy to stomach and much more unsettling for the victims.

But does that mean I prepare to strike the tent and move on?  No.  Nor am I attempting to be glib and promise, “Everything will be okay, just go shopping!” 

There’s a balance between panic and nonchalance.  It’s called reality.

Some would perhaps prefer that we not report on these matters, or at least keep them off the front page.  Park Forest might look better if all of these stories were tucked away under the “Police Reports” button.  But we’re not in the business of hiding the news.  If crime happened, it happened.  And if it happened thrice in one week, we need to know that.  Let’s deal with it.  Or, better yet, let’s talk about means of prevention.

Just know this much: ‘tis the season.

The bad guys and gals know that we’re shopping more during the holiday season, and that many people carry more cash and valuables at this time of year.  Police know they’ll be busier, and we need to be more cautious. 

So what can we do?  Remember the basics.  Park Forest Police offer the following tips for home safety when we’re away from our home:

  • Turn down the volume of the ring on your telephone. If someone is outside, they won’t be alerted to your absence by a ringing phone.
  • Set your lights on timers, in various rooms. With some timers, the lights go on and off at different times each day, which means a burglar can’t pick up on a pattern.
  • A home security system is a very effective deterrent. When looking for their targets, thieves usually select an unoccupied home with the easiest access. Security system decals and signs are also an effective deterrent.
  • Don’t leave valuables in sight through windows.
  • Store jewelry and other valuables in a safe deposit box.
  • Invest in high-quality door deadbolt locks for all exterior doors.
  • Leave drapes and shades open as normal. (Closed blinds during the day are a sure sign of an empty house, plus they allow a burglar to attend to his business unseen by neighbors.)
  • Plug the TV into a separate timer for late evening hours; the blue cast from the screen (bring the volume up a notch) is a sign of household normalcy. Usually, curtains are open but it’s OK to be closed in the TV room.
  • Position boxes of cereal, nonperishable snack foods or tableware on kitchen tables in plain view.
  • Foil thieves who jimmy locks on sliding doors. Cut dowels to length and place behind the slider to stop the door from opening.

Police have more advice for making sure the exterior of your home is secure at their web site.

I hope all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  May we all journey to the New Year in safety.

I welcome your comments and tips below on staying safe this Holiday Season.

Source: VOPF.com