The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 23, 2009

What to do if you think you are being burgled

Carlisle Police Lt. Leo Crowe has a lot of experience dealing with housebreaks in Carlisle. In a recent interview he states that “Breaks are up all over the area” and that residents could expect more of them as the economy worsens. Residents have been told, “Lock your house; lock your car,” for the times when they are away from home, but what to do if you are home and suspect someone is trying to break in?

Call the police

Both Crowe and Chief John Sullivan say in one clear breath, “Call the police” if you think a break is being attempted and you are home or if you see someone who might be attempting a burglary. This means call immediately: Everyone knows about the horse and the barn door, so call immediately. If you are afraid to make a noise by talking on the phone, dial 911. All 911 calls are followed up, first by a phone call and, if the phone is not answered, the cruiser makes a check-up call: It is not necessary to talk to the person on the other end to have a police response. Crowe says “Just dial and throw the phone on the floor and we’ll be there.” In the past few weeks two separate abandoned 911 calls were promptly followed up and resulted in arrests for assault and battery.

If you see a suspicious person on your property Crowe says, “Call the police.” The usual scenario is for two individuals to drive up to a house. One waits in the car and the other knocks on the door. If the door is not answered and the presumption is that no one is home, one of the individuals goes to the back of the building to gain entrance, while the other stays in the car. For this reason, an unknown individual at your back door should be considered suspicious. If you see an unknown car going in and out of driveways in your neighborhood, call the police.

When Crowe was asked about confronting a suspicious individual, he thought it could be risky, particularly because many break-ins are drug related and the person you consider suspicious might also be someone who is high on drugs and not predictable. Again, his advice is to call the police and let them handle the situation.

If a person or vehicle looks suspicious, try to pass on as much identifying information as you can about physical appearance, clothing and identifying charateristics. A vehicle license plate number helps with immediate identification and can be followed up later. The identifying information can help prevent a future break-in. ∆

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