Photo of Chief Steven Wojnar of the Dudley, Massachusetts Police Department

Week of March 28, 2020

A weekly column by Police Chief Steven Wojnar of the Dudley Police Department

In the last week, we experienced some thefts of vehicles and many cars were broken into during the overnight hours.  They were parked in the owner’s driveway or near their home.  It is terrible to think people will take advantage of others in such a way during a time of increased stress.  I wanted to take this opportunity to once again publish some reminders for people to assist them in preventing these incidents.

Dudley and many towns in our area have experienced similar issues in the past.  The best way to prevent most of these break-ins is to keep your vehicle locked.  Many people simply forget, or they have a false sense of security that nothing will happen in their neighborhood.  This is especially true while the vehicle is parked outside their home.  Many criminals look for unlocked vehicles to enter.  These are easy targets and the individuals have a lower risk of being discovered since they are not causing damage (breaking glass, etc.).  Perhaps as important as locking your vehicle is to never leave items of value in your car.  Items like cell phones, wallets, pocketbooks, etc. that are in plain view, can be attractive to criminals.  If these items are not there or at least hidden (combined with locked doors), there is a strong likelihood the perpetrators will move on somewhere else.

In addition to securing your vehicle, remember the value of lighting around your home.  The more lights you have, the better off you are.  Burglars and other criminals do not like to be seen.  Motion detection lights are a great tool.  They only work when movement takes place.  These will limit the amount of electricity which is used and will provide illumination at times when it is needed most.  Cameras are also more prevalent today.  Many of these systems can be relatively inexpensive, easy to operate, and can provide you the opportunity to see in or around your home easily, even when you are not there. 

Perhaps it is most important to call the police if you hear or see anything unusual taking place around your home.  Many people wait until the next day to report suspicious activity.  Often, people will dismiss their observations as something else which is easily explainable.  You know your neighborhood best.  If the police are notified immediately, there is a greater likelihood of locating suspects and stolen property while at the same time possibly preventing future occurrences.  Without public assistance, our efforts to investigate crimes and identify suspects can be extremely difficult.

Our department continues to operate during this time. Naturally, we had to alter the way we respond to some calls for service, to protect our officers and members of the public. In case of emergency, please dial 9-1-1 for immediate, emergency response.  If it is not of an emergency nature, or if you have a general request for service, we encourage you to call first to minimize personal contact. Our business line number is 508-943-4411 option 0.  It is certainly challenging to be a first responder during this trying time.  I extend thanks to all our officers who are out and about everyday serving the community under these difficult circumstances.   

Thanks again for your questions and comments.  Please send them to me at the Dudley Police Department 71 West Main St. Dudley, Ma. 01571 or email at swojnar@dudleypolice.com.  Opinions expressed in this weekly column are those of Chief Wojnar only and unless clearly noted, do not reflect the ideas or opinions of any other organization or citizen.  

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