Safety Tips from Assemblyman Miller

January 11, 2010

In light of the recent string of home invasions in Richmond Hill and the 38th Assembly District, it is important that we do everything we can to protect our homes and the people who live in them.

Growing up, our parents and teachers taught us the basics. Be sure to lock doors in the daytime, even if you are home or if you leave for just a few minutes. Before opening the door, ask visitors to identify themselves and use the chain bolt when checking identification. These people include repair and deliverymen, as well as police officers. Never let a stranger into your home. If someone asks to make a call, try offering to make the call for them instead. These tips are essential to protect you and your family, and there are many other ideas that can further safeguard your home.

Lights – Inside and outside lights offer a great deal of protection for you and your home. Leave a light on to deter robbers, especially if you are not home. Changing the location of outdoor lights or the light you leave on in the house will prevent robbers from tracking your habits. Leave a light on near your front door and have your key ready so you can enter your home immediately.

Windows – Open windows draw attention to your house and the valuables you may keep in it. Be certain that your curtains fully cover windows and don’t forget to lock them. Locks that can be opened from the inside should be at least 40 inches from the glass in order to prevent an invader from reaching his or her arm inside a broken window to open it. If you notice that a window or door has been forced open or broken while you were out, do not enter your house. Use your cell phone or a neighbor’s phone to call the police and wait outside until they arrive.

Vacation – When you go on vacation or take an extended trip, be sure to safeguard your home. You should stop deliveries for the days you are away and set automatic timers on your lights. This will give the impression that you are still home. Also, you should notify the police that the house will be vacant for several days, so that the police can be aware of suspicious activity. You can keep a “Beware of Dog” sign posted, even if you do not own a dog. The sign alone can deter a would-be criminal from attempting a break-in.

By staying alert and implementing these simple suggestions, we can work together to make our community safer. Please call my district office at 718-805-0950 if you have any questions.