Milton Police Chief Richard G. Wells Jr. had a clear message for residents concerned about the recent surge in automobile and residential break-ins: lock your car, lock the first floor windows and doors of your house, and be on the lookout for suspicious activity.
At a standing-room only community meeting last night, most of the approximately 150 residents in attendance wanted to know what they could do to protect their homes while they were at work and should they be fearful of the burglars.
James Riley, of Hinckley Road, said that he was afraid of “hardcore heroin” users who might be armed and dangerous.
Wells said that the people who have been arrested for the break-ins have been drug users who are looking for money or valuables to buy drugs, and that most of the time they aren’t armed.
He said the most important thing is to make sure that the doors and windows are locked and if you have an alarm system -- use it.
Wells also said that if children are home alone, make sure they don’t answer the doorbell and keep a radio on so it looks like someone is home. Burglars won’t attempt to break-in if they think someone is home, he said.
Wells admitted that for years he didn’t lock the backdoor of his house, but he said that times have changed and residents should start to think about potential crime.
He said if you lock your car they won’t try to break in, but they will move on to the next vehicle.
He said that although it is a regional problem -- increased property crime related to increased drug use -- Milton is targeted because it is a residential town, where most of the residents work during the day and have expensive items in their home.
Wells said that he advocates for community policing, and asked for the help of the community.
“If you see something that doesn’t feel right in your stomach, pick up the phone and call us,” he said.
Wells said it’s important to know your neighbors and know their habits so you can spot something that is suspicious.
“Paying attention is how you get lucky,” he said. “I don’t see this going away tomorrow, but I see our success and it decreasing.”
Sarah Favot can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.