Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Crime Prevention...not panic

I consider Westborough a safe community and crime statistics back that perception, but we all know there are crimes that are committed in and around the Boroughs.  At the last Fales Parent Group meeting, the FPG president had coordinated with Westborough Police to bring in a Detective Sergeant McLeod as a guest speaker to talk to the community about crime prevention.

Most people at this point would tend to tune out, and typically I am no exception but as I drove home I realized the message is important and in my opinion it bears repeating.  Yes, Westborough (and most of the Boroughs) are relatively safe, low crime areas.  But this is exactly the right time to think about our habits and make sure we are being safe.  But it is not a time to take things to extremes and panic.  I know too many people who worry about everything and topics like this are hard because fear gets ahead of common sense.

The talk focused on an increased rate of precious metal/jewelry theft in neighboring communities, specifically Shrewsbury.  The value of gold, copper, and other precious metals, and even scrap metals are increasing to new highs each month.  Breaking and entering crimes where thieves focus on stealing jewelry are on the rise.  The stones are popped out and the metal is melted and resold.

Lots of people have insurance to cover costs, but it is impossible to restore sentimental value.  And since the crimes typically include melting the material from it's original form to resell, even if the perpetrators are caught the merchandise is not the same.

The goal of the discussion was to raise awareness to our own habits and modify them to be the best practices for safety before Westborough has an issue.  Below are some of the key points I took away from Detective Sergeant McLeod:
  • Criminals have varying degrees of desire and ability.  Victims can provide opportunity.  If all three line up, the potential for a crime to occur is high.  Each preventative action we take reduces opportunity and possibly changes desire in the thieves eyes.
  1. Lock your doors.  Too many home thefts are because people leave the door unlocked.
  2. If you have valuable (monetarily of sentimentally) items that are  not worn every day, consider a safe deposit box or a separate safe for those items. 
  3. Be aware of items around your yard that can help a potential thief gain access to your home.  For example, the ladder behind the house or your neighbors shed.  It is safer to lock second story windows then to hope a thief doesn't see the ladder in the backyard.
  4. Use your alarm system, it adds security.
  5. Be aware of what is left in plain sight, through a window or in a car.  Enticing a thief increase their desire.  Laptops, GPS, iPods, etc are all enticing, and although the hardware may be replaceable, the years or digital photos or documents are probably not.
  6. If you are really unsure of what to do, ask for help.  The Westborough Police offer guidance on safe guarding your home and even provide survey assessments of your property.  For more information on this visit:
I am by no means a trained law enforcement officer, so I know there are many more things that can be done.   I have lived in both rougher city neighborhoods where I hated parking on the street and in rural communities where I never took the keys out of the ignition of the car.  I usually base may actions around the area I live in, but I know after this talk I should do a little more.  I don't want to contribute to a rise in crime by adding opportunity.

Thank you to the Westborough Police, Detective Sergeant McLeod, and Fale's Parent Group (FPG) for providing this type of talk.  I know it is sometimes hard to get the community involved unless they are directly affected, but prevention is far superior to recovery in this case.

1 comment:

  1. Not your usual topic type, but I for one appreciate the info. I know I forget these things sometimes and it is always better to prevent.

    It is good that Westborough works with groups to get this information out.