Crime Prevention Officer Lesinette Ortiz gives crime bulletin flyers to Mack Duncan, president of Mt. Airy Concerned Neighbors at the PSA 4 meeting held at Germantown Fields. (Photo by Sue Ann Rybak)

by Sue Ann Rybak

Sergeant Nicholas Tees issued a crime bulletin at last night’s PSA 4 meeting held at 7 p.m. in the concession stand building at Germantown Fields located at Mt. Pleasant and Woolston streets in Mt. Airy. In November, 14 burglaries were committed in PSA 4, of those 10 occurred during the day.

Research has shown that in 2 out of 10 burglaries, thieves don’t even have to use force to gain entry – they are able to gain access through an open door or window.

Tees said burglaries dramatically impact the quality of life in the community because burglars steal more than just the person’s belongings, they steal residents’ sense of security.

Community Relations Officer Synell Hall, who was recently promoted to that position, said criminals will often go “trash shopping” (a look at curbside trash) to see what new items are in the house. She suggested that residents rip large cardboard boxes up into small pieces or recycle boxes at commercial sites. Hall said neighbors need to be especially vigilant immediately before and after the holidays.

Police handed out documents that advised residents to reduce the risk of burglary by taking simple precautions:

  • Secure all windows: Easily visible locks may deter some thieves, because a window lock forces the thief to break the glass and risk attracting attention. Lock away any ladders or other portable items that could be used to reach upper windows.
  • Secure all doors: If your front and back doors are not secure, neither is your home. Use a deadlock with a key, so a thief can’t smash a nearby panel to open the door from inside. If the thief gets into the property through a window they can’t carry out your property through the door.
  • Good lighting: Good lighting can deter a thief. Trim bushes to eliminate sources of cover.
  • Burglar Alarms and Security cameras. Visible burglar alarms and security cameras make burglars think twice. Remember to set your alarm and make sure the first call the alarm company makes is not to your house but to a cell phone number. If the first number the company calls is to your house and you are not there then you are delaying the police reaction time and warning the burglar.

Also in attendance was Officer Lesinette Ortiz, the new crime prevention officer for the 14th District. She encouraged residents to call her at 215-685-2147 to get a free security survey of their home or business.

Three robberies occurred in November. Two were domestic incidents. Police made an arrest in the third robbery which occurred on the 8500 block of Michener Avenue in Wadsworth.

Thefts from autos continue to be a problem. Seventeen thefts from autos occurred in November. Tees urged residents to not leave any valuable items in their car even change.

Five automobiles were stolen in November. Two cars were stolen from the 1100 block of East Mt. Airy Ave. Tees reminded attendees to park their cars in well-lite areas.

Two aggravated assaults were reported. One was a domestic incident that occurred on the 8200 Block of Williams St.

ID Program

In January, the Philadelphia Police Department will begin promoting a burglary-deterrent program called Operation ID. The program involves labeling personal property with resident’s state driver’s license or state identification card number and recording serial numbers.

Participants label items such as televisions, guns, kitchen appliances, computers, GPS devices and cell phones. Participants are then provided with window stickers to display to let burglars know that your items have been labeled. If a burglar is caught with labeled property, it is solid evidence of possession of stolen goods.

To participate in Operation ID, citizens should contact the Philadelphia Police Department online at or by calling 215-686-3140.

The next PSA 4 meeting is schedule for Dec. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Water Tower Recreation Center, 200 E. Hartwell Lane.