Morris County Sheriff offers Summer Safety Tips

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.

Profile of Sheriff James Gannon in uniform
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon

Burglary Prevention

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.

Fireworks Safety

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.

Bucco bill expands CrimeStopper programs to help fund tips in schools to protect our students

TRENTON, N.J. Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco has introduced legislation to help expand Crime Stopper programs with additional state funding.Crimestoppers seal Crime Stoppers is a non-profit group that encourages the public to contact police with anonymous tips about possible crimes without fear of retribution. Programs are funded through private donations and fundraising.

“Crime Stopper programs are very successful in preventing crimes statewide,” said Bucco (R-Morris). “My hope is to help expand the program into our schools to elicit tips from students and the public before an incident occurs. A $1 surcharge for petty offenses to help fund these additional programs is more than a bargain especially when it involves the safety of our students.”

Bucco’s bill (A3944) imposes a $1 surcharge on people convicted of traffic violations and disorderly person offenses. The money will be deposited into a criminal investigatory tips fund in the Treasury department and disbursed by county prosecutors to eligible Crime Stopper organizations.

Assemblyman Bucco presents the citation to Sheriff Gannon, an officer, and a K-9 dog
Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco awards K9 Sigmund with a citation for capturing suspects in a Roxbury burglary.

“These programs take ‘If you see something, say something’ even further,” said John Sette, Morris County Sheriff’s CrimeStoppers chairman. “We guarantee a caller’s anonymity while offering cash rewards for information leading to indictments or arrests. Encouraging reluctant callers to provide information is invaluable, particularly if it can prevent another school shooting.”

“We’ve had great success with Crime Stoppers in Morris County for the past 32 years,” said Morris County Sheriff James Gannon. “Engaging the public in our efforts is priceless, especially when it saves lives. Assemblyman Bucco’s legislation is a reasonable way to raise funds to help us expand the program to better protect students and staff.”

Crime Stoppers has resulted in 716,661 arrests; $106,449,902 in rewards paid; more than $2.8 billion in drugs seized, and nearly $1.2 billion in property recovered statewide as of May 30, 2018.





National Missing Children’s Day

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25 as National Missing Children’s Day. Each year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) commemorates Missing Children’s Day with a ceremony honoring the heroic and exemplary efforts of agencies, organizations, and individuals to protect children.

Missing Children’s Day is dedicated to encouraging parents, guardians, caregivers, and others concerned with the well-being of children to make child safety a priority. It serves as a reminder to continue our efforts to reunite missing children with their families and an occasion to honor those dedicated to this cause.

The Morris County Sheriff’s Office is proud to commemorate this day.  Please take the time to review the National Center for Missing Children (NCMEC) posters for these missing New Jersey Children.

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