Trooper notes a substantial burglary increase this year
Trooper Shannon Yorke, a community service officer from the Hazelton State Police barracks, attended the July 11 meeting of the Towamensing Township supervisors.
The presence of someone from the state police to explain safety procedures had been requested due to the increase in burglaries.
Yorke checked the stats for burglaries in Towamensing before she came to the meeting. She said during the year of 2012, there were 13 burglaries reported. Since Jan. 1 to the day of the meeting, there already have been 14 burglaries.
The best thing that can be done is a security system with an audible alarm, but she knows that is expensive for some people.
She said there are common sense things to be done such as locking doors and windows and keeping shrubs and trees pruned so they do not offer concealment. Outside lighting is a deterrent because the thief will want to get in and out without being seen.
Since some burglars will go up to a house in daylight, people should watch for and report something out of the ordinary.
Supervisor Penny Kleintop said she knew of a situation where a woman saw a tear in her window screen as she returned home. She went back to her vehicle and called 911.
Trooper Yorke advised that if you see a strange car write down the type, color and if it is seen, the license plate number.
"We'd rather go out unnecessarily than have something happen," Yorke said.
When leaving home for an extended time have the mail and newspaper stopped because having it pile up it is a way of saying no one is home. People can ask for a patrol to check the house.
Don't leave spare keys around because burglars know where to look. Keep garages locked. Burglars have entered a garage and taken a ladder to reach a second-floor window.
Leave lights set to go off and on at different times. Some people leave the television on at a news channel so there is the sound of people talking.
Solicitor Tom Nanovic asked if it was people in or out of the area committing the burglaries. Yorke responed that it can be either as well as people from all age ranges.
One man said he was robbed twice and is a firm believer that the person was in the house previously.
Yorke said that is not necessarily true because career criminals know where to look for valuables.
Wayne Knirnschild suggested keeping keys beside the bed at night and using the panic button to the vehicle if anyone is heard inside. Dogs are also a good sound deterrent, said Yorke.
Supervisor Tom Newman asked, in light of the castle doctrine, what she recommends.
Yorke said there is no clear-cut answer. If in fear of your life you can defend yourself. You have to keep in mind the safety of others so there is no concise answer. You can lock yourself in a room and call 911.
"Let us respond. That's our job," said Yorke.
In other business: Secretary Lora Nothstein reminded residents that permits are necessary and free to people holding yard sales. A limit of three yard sales in the same location are permitted pre year.
Steve Perisi requested a reduction in his letter of credit for the state police barracks on Route 209 and Sei Pei Road. The request was for $247,535 and township Engineer Greg Haas recommended $215,090, which supervisors approved.
RF Ohl submitted the low bids for heating oil, $3.468 per gallon, and $3.571 per gallon for diesel fuel. The two bids received each said the amounts are 50 cents above their cost.
It was announced that two girls' softball teams won championships.
The fire company report responded to a brush fire at Pine Run and Forest Street, an ATV rollover, and a dwelling fire which was contained at the water heater.
The planning commission accepted a subdivision plan by Nancy and Rick Collins.
People have asked if they can drive to the Forest Inn soccer field. Kleintop said they can because the road is stoned.
The August meeting will be held Aug. 8, which is the second Thursday of the month instead of the first Tuesday.