Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Residential burglary on Highgate Terrace December 3

On December 3, at approximately 10:40 AM, the Bergenfield Police Communications Center received a 911 call reporting a “break in” of a single-family home on Highgate Terrace. The resident was inside the home when the intruder entered, similar to the burglary that occurred around the corner on Norfolk Street on December 2. Once confronted by the resident, the suspect fled out the front door of the home and ran in an unknown direction on Highgate Terrace. Responding patrol units set up a perimeter in the area and officers were assisted by the Bergen County Police K-9 Unit in searching area yards and streets. Bergenfield officers were also assisted by Teaneck and New Milford police departments during this search. No suspect was located, but the search continued into Teaneck where another residential burglary was being investigated. 

The suspect was described as a dark-skinned male, unknown age, between 5’5” – 5’7” in height, wearing a dark colored or navy blue jacket, with an unknown type patch or emblem on the arm of the jacket, and dark colored or navy blue pants. Detectives also responded to the scene and are working on several leads at this time. They are coordinating with detectives from the Teaneck Police Department to compare evidence and leads.

The Bergenfield Police want to remind residents to be alert to any suspicious activity in your neighborhoods. Do not feel you are burdening the police by making a phone call about a suspicious vehicle parked in or driving through your area. If something or someone seems to strike you as odd or peculiar, make the call. It could turn out to be a benign incident, but it could also prevent a crime from occurring or solve one that already has occurred.

This time of the year in particular, burglars, who are opportunists, will take advantage of residents who are away or are simply out of their homes for shopping or other seasonal events. They will seek out a residence that appears unoccupied by looking for a lack of vehicles in the driveway, newspapers piling up, a lack of illuminated exterior or interior lights and mail accumulating in the mailbox.

Residents can do things to make your homes look occupied such as using timers on lights, contacting the newspaper or post office to stop delivery while you are away or even by having another neighbor bring these items in you.

Although you might think that burglars strike only at night, statistics show that the majority of burglaries occur between 6:00 AM and 6:00 PM. These are the times that people are not home because they are at work or school, making the homes unoccupied for a good portion of the day. Even more so is the fact that with a sunset occurring at 4:30 PM, when many people are still not home, it gives that cover of darkness for a burglar wanting to break in.

The two cases just reported here in Bergenfield occurred at 1:30 PM and 10:30 AM. So, you can see that the times of day can vary. It is important to form good neighborhood relationships so people can watch out for each other, especially with varying hours of them being home and away. The neighborhood watch is the extra set of eyes, ears and intuition of the police department.

Here are some helpful tips for residents regarding making their homes and neighborhoods safer:
  • Install an alarm system. Or, put up an alarm sign on your home or property to make the burglar believe there may be an alarm that can activate. 
  • Before leaving, check and lock all windows and doors, even for short periods of being out of your home. Consider installing deadbolt locks.
  • Install motion sensor lighting on the home exterior.
  • Use timer lights for interior lighting.
  • Keep trees and bushes trimmed and away from doors and windows.
  • Consider securing valuables such as jewelry, especially ones with sentimental value, out of your master bedroom while you are away. Burglars routinely make the master bedroom of any home their first stop looking for items to steal.

Residents should be aware that these recent burglary cases have some similar patterns. In both our cases, the burglars went to the front doors of the homes and rang the doorbell. With no answer, they then went to the rear of the home and knocked at that door. This is a typical pattern whereby the burglar can pretend to be at the wrong address if someone should answer the door at the residence. Residents are reminded that if they experience this type of “wrong address” incident, they should get a description of the person and watch the direction the person leaves in. Do not feel you are imposing by calling the police department to check on this. As stated before, it could turn out to be something.

Bergenfield Police officers have heightened their patrols, in particular, to the southwest sector of the borough, due to the recent two burglary cases. One case resulted in the arrest of two men and both are incarcerated at this time. With the new incident today, it shows there are others out there and residents must remain vigilant to help the police prevent and solve crimes such as this. We urge you to report any suspicious activity and be a part of the efforts at crime prevention in your neighborhood.

If anyone has any leads, tips or information on today’s burglary, please contact the Bergenfield Police at 201-387-4000. In particular, if any residents have or know of a resident that has an exterior home video surveillance system in the areas of Highgate Terrace, Westminster Avenue, South Prospect Avenue, Briarcliffe Road, Churchill Road in Teaneck, or any streets in that area, we ask that you have them check for any suspicious persons or activity that might have been captured during the time of 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM on December 3. If so, please contact the police department.

Chief Michael T. Carr

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