CLIFFVIEW PILOT HAS IT FIRST: If you own a business anywhere, you can take steps to better protect it, say police in River Vale, who have visited every merchant in town and boosted patrols this week following a flash of overnight commercial burglaries.
“We can’t just sit back idly,” River Vale Detective Sgt. John DeVoe told CLIFFVIEW PILOT. “We want to do all we can not only to solve these crimes but to encourage people to be proactive and help keep them from happening.”
Investigators are eyeing various known burglars following a string of break-ins to four River Vale businesses before dawn Monday. They’re still taking inventory, but it appears the intruders grabbed mostly cash.
River Vale Police Chief Michael McCann has increased patrols. Meanwhile, he and DeVoe wrote a letter (see below) that was hand-delivered by officers yesterday to every business in town, listing several measures that help deter burglars and minimize loss should any of them break in.
The first sign of trouble came at 4:38 a.m. Monday, when a business owner on River Vale Road called police to report a break-in.
Officers then canvassed all area businesses to determine whether others were hit. They immediately found two more nearby but not in the same neighborhood. Soon after came a call from another victim.
The Bergen County Sheriff’s Department’s Bureau of Criminal Identification unit collected evidence from each of the crime scenes. Police are also reviewing surveillance video and pooling intelligence with other departments.
“It’s obvious that these aren’t isolated incidents,” DeVoe said.
Dear Business Owner:
There have been several incidents of burglaries to businesses in River Vale and the surrounding areas in the recent past.
While the River Vale Police Department will be patrolling our business district with increased vigilance, we need your help to combat this problem.
As such, the Detective Bureau is advising you of these incidents in order that you can employ target hardening strategies to mitigate potential vulnerabilities and thereby reduce the likeliness of this crime of opportunity to your business.
Here are some general suggestions for sound security measures:
· Install a security/alarm system with a cellular back-up. If you have an alarm system, always set it at the close of business.
· Consider installing a video surveillance system. Ensure that the cameras are properly positioned and that the recording system is separately secured or, ideally, backed-up at an off-site location.
· Lighting is one of the best ways to combat a burglary.
· Install motion-sensor lights on the rear and sides of your business and position them in out-of-reach places so they can’t be easily disabled by a would-be thief.
· Keep outside lights (timer lights or steady-on lights) illuminated throughout the entire night as long as they don’t interfere with nearby homes.
· Consider installing covers over exterior lights and power sources to deter tampering.
· Light the inside of your business, especially around doors, windows, skylights, or other entry points.
· All outside or security doors should be metal-lined and secured with metal security crossbars. Pin all exposed hinges to prevent removal. Make sure every external door has at least one sturdy, well-installed deadbolt.
· Always lock all doors, roof hatches, and windows – including those on the second floor.
· Keep ladders, garbage cans, building supplies and tools locked up out of view so you don’t provide a would-be burglar with the means to break into your business.
· Clear excess equipment and trim shrubs near the building so they do not provide hiding places for an intruder. Remove/trim limbs that could allow someone to climb to an upper story window.
· Keep your cash register in plain view from the outside of your business, so it can be monitored by police during the day or at night. Leave it open and empty after closing.
· Empty tip jars and remove valuables from outside view.
· Utilize a safe for money and valuables and make sure that it is fireproof and securely anchored. Leave it open when it’s empty. Remember to change the combination when an employee who has had access to it leaves your business.
The River Vale Police Department relies on business owners and concerned citizens to report suspicious incidents and persons in a timely manner.
Keep a diligent watch over your business and your neighborhood and contact the police immediately at (201) 664-1111 or 911 (emergencies only) if you observe something amiss.
Please forward a copy of this notice to your landlord, if applicable.
Chief of Police Michael J. McCann
Detective Sergeant John J. DeVoe
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