Tips on house and vehicle burglaries, boating safety, and use of fireworks in the summer.
As the warm weather approaches and schools are out, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office wants the public to have a safe summer and has provided several safety tips for residents.
“School is out, the weather is warm, families go away on vacation and enjoy outdoor recreational activities. However, a vacation can sometimes turn into a bad experience. Houses can be burglarized and accidents can occur while trying to have fun. The Sheriff’s Office has specialized units that see these unfortunate situations and we would like to help prevent them,” said Sheriff James M. Gannon.
In 2017, the Morris County Sheriff’s Crime Scene Investigation Section responded to 329 burglaries and 203 motor vehicle burglaries/thefts. If you plan to travel, the Crime Scene Investigation Section suggests using the following tips:
- Contact your local police department to inquire about property checks.
- Be aware of what you post on social media, including photos and where you “check-in.” This alerts followers you are on vacation.
- Make sure all doors and windows are locked.
- Make your residence look occupied in your absence. Set indoor and outdoor lights on timers, use motion sensors and have your mail and newspapers collected.
- Do not have any home improvements done on your house while you are away.
- Invest in a camera system or alarm company for home surveillance. There are reasonably priced systems available.
- If vehicles will be in the driveway, make sure they are locked and the garage door opener is not in the vehicle.
- Lock valuable and important items in a safe place only you would know.
- Consider having a friend or family member check on the house.
Protect Your Vehicle
Stolen vehicles and car burglaries have affected many Morris County residents. Once someone accesses your vehicle, you can become a victim of additional crimes, such as home burglaries via garage door openers or identity theft if purses and wallets are left in vehicles. Help protect yourself by following these tips:
- Lock your vehicle and remove the key fob.
- Do not leave valuables in your vehicle.
- Protect your identity and accounts by removing purses, wallets and checkbooks from your vehicle.
- Contact your local Police Department to report any suspicious individuals or vehicles in your neighborhood.
Former Governor Chris Christie signed a bill in 2017 legalizing “non explosive, non aerial” fireworks such as sparklers, party poppers and smoke devices in New Jersey. These now legal items can be possessed or sold to persons 16 years of age or older. Explosive fireworks are still illegal.
Morris County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad Commander, Det/Corporal Doug Meyer said, “Any fireworks are dangerous and should not be handled recklessly. Although non explosive items are legal, there is still a harmful factor in using them.”
- A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities.
- Wear safety glasses when using fireworks.
- Use the legal fireworks in a clear outdoor area, away from people, buildings and bushes.
- Never try to make your own fireworks.
- Be careful with sparklers! They burn at approximately 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt glass. They can ignite clothing and burn hands and feet. A fun alternative is to use glow sticks instead.
- Be prepared for accidents:
- Have a bucket of water and/or fire extinguisher accessible.
- If injury occurs, immediately go to a doctor or hospital. Do not touch or rub an eye injury as this may cause more damage.
- Dispose spent fireworks by wetting them and placing in a metal trash can away from a building until the next day.
**Attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals!**
- Do not pick up pieces of fireworks after an event.
- Do not bring pets to a fireworks display to avoid exposure to the sound.
- Make sure your pet has an identification tag in case it runs away.
Safe Boating Tips
The Morris County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol Unit works in conjunction with the New Jersey State Police patrolling the waters of Lake Hopatcong from Memorial Day through Labor Day each year. Boating accidents can be prevented by following these safety rules:
- The operator must have an operator license, valid registration and boating safety certificate in possession.
- Have personal flotation devices (PFD) available for all passengers on board. Children 12 and under must be wearing PFDs while the vessel is moving.
- A throwable seat cushion or ring buoy must be available.
- The vessel must be equipped with an adequate horn or whistle and approved fire extinguisher.
- Navigation lights must be on between sunset and sunrise.
- Be aware of your swimming capability.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Check local weather conditions before departure.
- Use common sense – operate at a safe speed, stay alert and be respectful of navigational aids and other boaters.