Following another break-in at a township home and another high-end vehicle theft, the and Township Committee have arranged a crime prevention forum with residents for later this week.
The aim of the Friday morning summit is to ratchet up public awareness before summer.
Committeeman Kevin Rooney said Monday that crime in the township had reached the point where officials needed to reach out to residents in new ways.
"We hope to curb this latest crime wave," Rooney said, adding that the downturn in the economy and the township's location were likely factors in the uptick in burglaries and automobile thefts.
Burglars used a screwdriver to pry open the back door of an Eastview Terrace home while the homeowners were away late Thursday or early Friday, police said.
The homeowners reported the break-in to police just after 11 a.m. Friday, saying they found the cast-aside screwdriver cops said was used to pop open the rear door.
The home is approximately one mile from the Cedar Hill Avenue entrance onto Route 208.
"Our closeness and proximity to [routes] 208 and 287 allows people to jump on the highway and just disappear," Rooney said.
A West Stevens Avenue resident reported Monday morning a 2010 BMW 328i was stolen from his driveway during the overnight, Wyckoff Police said.
According to police, the resident said he had left his electronic key fob in the $30,000 import car. When the owner went out that morning he discovered the car had been stolen.
West Stevens Avenue is a small residential street located about a mile from the Russell Avenue exit of Route 208.
"When my detective told me [about the theft] this morning, I just really wanted to bang my head against the wall," Wyckoff Police Chef Benjamin Fox said Monday afternoon. "Despite all the previous press releases, all the warnings, we had yet another car stolen that was unlocked with keys inside. Burglaries have continued as well."
Fox, who has over the what he called the carelessness of some township vehicle owners, said he's worried that the car thefts and burglaries could turn into something much worse for residents.
"I'm concerned about what might happen should an unsuspecting resident stumble upon one of these crimes in progress," Fox said. "I don't want to see crimes of property turn into crimes of violence."
As part of an effort to educate the public, Fox met with Rooney and Boonstra Monday morning and arranged the forum.
"The goal is to create an even [more] heightened awareness for the citizenry of Wyckoff regarding the criminal activity that this community faces," Fox said. "Many burglaries increase in the summer months... windows are left open and entry can be facilitated very easily."
Rooney, Fox and township officials said Monday that the public awareness event would be held Friday at 10:30 a.m. in the second floor court room in Memorial Town Hall.
According to a press release issued by the township the session will include:
- An update regarding the recent rash of home break-ins and car thefts in the community important to residents and businesses.
- An update regarding recent scams, credit card fraud and counterfeit currency.
- Preventable measures residents can take to discourage home break-ins and car thefts and other criminal activity.
- How you can be more aware and work with the police.
Last weekend's crimes were the latest in an increasing number of incidents in the Wyckoff-Franklin Lakes area over the past several months.
On March 6, a 2007 BMW 530XI was stolen from the driveway of a Crankshaw Place home overnight after it was left unlocked with the keys in the ignition, Fox .
The market value of the car is estimated at approximately $20,000.
Wyckoff Police also reported that on March 4 and March 6, thieves broke into unlocked cars parked in driveways on Albermarle Street, Calvin Court, Mountain Avenue, and Sicomac Avenue and stole a GPS unit, iPod, $60 and a lamp.
In February, a Wyckoff resident reported that he went to a friend’s home on Annette Court and parked his running car in the driveway, Mercedes E350 was missing.
Earlier that month another Wyckoff resident had nearly $100,000 in personal property taken from her when her .
All of the residents who suffered losses had failed to lock their vehicles, Fox said.
In December 2011, .
The vehicle — valued at about $100,000 — was also unlocked and its proximity key was left in the vehicle, police said.
Editor's Note: This article was first published on April 17, 2012.