Brooklyn police have warned the public to be wary of opportunistic criminals ahead of Valentine’s Day on Wednesday.
The public must be careful and make sure they are not soft targets for robbers and hijackers, said police spokesperson Captain Colette Weilbach.
“Most couples prefer to go out for a romantic dinner on the day and it is important to make sure all house doors and windows are locked and alarms activated,” said Weilbach.
Security gates should be locked and alarm systems activated at all times – even while enjoying a romantic dinner at home.
Residents should also ask their private security companies to patrol the area they live in for greater peace of mind. Alternatively, residents can also inform a neighbour that they would be out, so they could keep an eye on the property.
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Weilbach said expensive jewellery and watches should be locked away at home as some criminals scouted restaurants to identify victims with expensive watches and jewellery.
“Keep handbags, cell phones and vehicle keys under your direct control at the restaurant.
“Handbags left under a chair or a cell phone lying on a table create opportunities for criminals.”
Weilbach said there have been reports about car keys being stolen from handbags in restaurants so as to steal the vehicle outside. Thus, vigilance was important even while inside the restaurant.
“Park in spots that are clearly visible to the public eye.”
“The more people can see your vehicle, the less likely it is someone will have time to break into your it without raising any suspicions.
“Pick parking spots that are well-lit at night and close to CCTV cameras or security guards.”
Any additional security devices to make it more difficult for someone to steal your vehicle are also a good idea.
People should also remove all loose items from parked vehicles.
“Too many laptops, cell phones, handbags, sports bags and other items are stolen from vehicles.
“Upon leaving the restaurant, check whether you are not being followed back home,” said Weilbach.
“Make sure there is no vehicle behind you, or somebody hiding close to your driveway before opening the gate.
“When coming home, do not park right in front of an electric gate while it is opening. Leave enough space that will let you escape if somebody tries to block you in. Upon entering, you should immediately close the gate behind you.”
Weilbach also advised the public to drink and drive responsibly.
Alcohol also impairs judgement and robbers will see you as an easy target, she said.
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