By Charles Sercombe
Did you know that in the time it takes you to read this sentence, a professional car thief could have already unlocked your car door and would also by now be driving away?
Yes, that’s all the time it takes a pro to steal your vehicle.
That was just one among dozens of tips and tidbits the Hamtramck Police Department offered in a town hall meeting held last Friday evening at the Hamtramck High School Community Center. About 100 people showed up, which is not bad considering it was a Friday night.
Most of the information and tips were a good dose of common sense. But it’s the kind of information many of us could stand to hear again and again.
Here’s some of the information the department offered:
Police Chief Mark Kalinowski said one of the key preventative measures for a community is to clean itself up. Criminals, he said, will focus on areas where things look down and out and seedy.
He said a simple step like making your property look good will turn off criminals. Why? It appears criminals go where it appears no one cares about much, and people are less likely to be observant.
Sgt. Wally Tripp said the number one way to prevent a home break-in – one of the leading and most aggravating crimes in Hamtramck – is good lighting. On the down side, 60 percent of the house break-ins occur during the day, which is when most people are at work.
But just because you are away from home, don’t make it easy for burglars. One of the ways burglars break in is by using nearby garbage cans as a way to climb up to windows. Besides moving cans away from your house, make sure your windows are locked and have a rod or piece of wood jammed up against the windows to prevent anyone from moving them up or down.
While many front and back doors have deadbolts, that can be deceiving. In order to prevent someone from kicking in your door easily, deadbolts have to go at least two inches inside the door jam.
For door hinges, make sure the screws holding the hinges penetrate deeply.
As for cars, having an alarm is always a good thing, but an even simpler and cheaper device has proven even more effective: the club. Many car thieves are amateurs at best and most of them have a hard time dismantling a club.
Even if you have a car alarm, be sure to also use a club. Many thieves on the prowl will skip over vehicles with clubs. For the pros, however, even the club won’t stop them, but it will make the bad guys have to work at it for a few minutes.
The Hamtramck Police Department is selling clubs for the super cheap price of $12. To get one, stop by the Records Bureau in City Hall on the second floor, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.