GLEN RIDGE, NJ — Glen Ridge Police Chief Sheila Byron-Lagattuta and East Orange Police Chief Phyllis Bindi joined forces on Friday, Sept 23, in an expression of solidarity to neighborhoods bordering both communities that these areas are being served by two police forces, not one.
“When you live in an area bordered by two towns, you can expect law enforcement by the two police departments,” Byron-Lagattuta said during a press conference at the intersection of Sommer Avenue and Glen Park Road.
She said crime prevention in a city is different from crime prevention in a town.
“It’s not all cookie-cutter,” she said. “A lot of crime down here during the summer has been crimes of opportunity. Our experience is that you don’t have guys and girls breaking into cars down here; it makes noise.”
Both chiefs put the show on the road and began knocking on doors or stopping to introduce themselves to residents, hearing their concerns and assuring them there were two police departments at work. Byron-Lagattuta said she wanted people to call the police to report suspicious activity.
“People know their neighborhoods,” she said.
Because the borough has a tradition of being lit by gas lamps, she said it was important to school residents to light their properties. She also said people should charge their cell phones in their bedroom, if they charge them during the night, so that they are handy.
Bindi said a good deterrent to criminal activity is a parked police car.
“People don’t know if there is a camera in the vehicle,” she said.
Two residents visited by the chiefs were Joe and Mary Tycon. The chiefs were invited into the house.
Joe said one method a thief would use was to put a fake contractor’s card in the mail box and come back the next day to see if it had been removed. If it was not removed, chances are better that the homeowner may not be home.
“In our town, we don’t see a set-up for a burglary,” Byron-Lagattuta said. “It’s mostly a crime of opportunity.”
She said the getaway vehicle is most often a bicycle.
Another way mentioned that a thief would determine if a house is worth entering is by looking to see what is on the curb. If cardboard boxes that contained holiday gifts were there, chances are the merchandize is in the house.
Byron-Lagattuta has some advice for the Tycons.
“You know your neighborhood and we know crime,” she said. “Put them together and — boom!”