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Letter to the Editor: Be Vigilant After Woodmere Burglary

Five Towner says there are steps community members can take to be safe.

This letter was submitted by Noah G.

On Saturday night (Feb. 11) at approximately 9:00 p.m., a suspicious white van with two black occupants was observed near the corner of Pine Street and Central Avenue in Woodmere. Several hours later, a home on Pine Street was burglarized. Baruch Hashem no one was home. As of this writing there is no indication of forced entry.

The homeowner was not gone for long.

(Editor's note: Police confirmed the burglary took place at 2:30 a.m. Proceeds were a laptop computer and jewelry. The homeowner had left the residence at 2:20 and came back and noticed the things were missing.)

There have been several reports of home and vehicle burglaries recently in the Five Towns. Therefore, please be vigilant, report suspicious vehicles or people and consider some of the suggestions below:

1. Use your alarm! Even when home, most have a “stay” mode. If you are away, arm it.

2. Do not leave valuables in plain sight. Consider that a GPS mount on the windshield without a GPS in it suggests that it is in the car. Even loose change has been reason enough for vehicle break-ins.

3. Doors and windows should be locked. Children come in from school and sometimes forget to lock the door (if they even remember to close it).

4. Make sure your home is well lit at night and the house number clearly visible.

5. If you are on vacation:

a. Cancel your newspaper (a few days’ of newspaper in the front of the house is an invitation).

b. Suspend mail delivery (if the mailbox is full…another clear indication) or have a neighbor take it in daily.

c. Leave random lights on timers. Makes the home appear occupied.

6. Those that employ domestic help may be vulnerable. Keep valuables out of their sight. Consider changing the alarm code when away on vacation (just call your alarm company for instructions).

a. Note: there is no evidence in this particular case that it was an “inside job,” but it has been the case in other instances.

I am told that vigilant neighbors in this case contacted police and provided a license plate number.

Zerodarkthirty February 14, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Black occupants? Any description besides that? What were they wearing? Why even mention that? I live in Woodmere and I'm black. Sometimes I feel unwelcome here. Sometimes my neighboors feel I am going to burglarize their houses too...I can see it in their eyes. They look at me like I do not belong. They thought they priced me out. There are black people in woodmere now. They are not all out to rob you. Just an fyi :-)
Stephen J. Bronner February 14, 2012 at 07:58 PM
This is an excellent point, and I'm sorry you feel unwelcome in your own neighborhood. No one should.
Jodi baum February 15, 2012 at 12:07 PM
It's one thing to give suggestions about how to avoid home burglary. I don't understand how two "black occupants" in a vehicle are even relevant. Thanks for your racist laced advice.
Chris Albanese February 16, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Maybe I read the article differently, but I did not read a "suspicious white van with two black occupants" to be racial in any way. If anything, it's the white van that should feel that it was profiled since it was the one called suspicious. Do you see how ultra sensitive we're getting here? Now if it read, a white van with two suspicious black occupants, then it reads a little differently. I actually appreciate as much detail as possible and wished they had published the license plate number. Then I would know that if there is a white van on my block with two black occupants <I'll take that to mean dark skinned hispanic as well> then I need to be vigilant. Then again, if there is any car on my block that I am not familiar with, I will often stare down the driver just to let him know he's being watched. It doesn't matter what his/her skin tone. Criminals come in all forms. It takes a whole community to safeguard themselves.
Chris Albanese February 16, 2012 at 06:06 PM
To echo Stephen's comment to Zerodarkthirty, hold your head up brother. Not everyone looks down on people of other races. I was pleasantly surprised when we moved here. Being a "mixed family", we were concerned that we woudln't fit in and have found many wonderful friends in the community of all races/religions/socio-economic backgrounds. (yes, there are some jerks but I try not to associate with them as much) Being white and growing up in Far Rockaway, I once got "jumped" by about 30 guys in Edgemere. One of them said-"you're white. what are you doing here?" So I know a bit about how you feel. I hate to think of how that day could have turned out, but a black girl (obviously with some juice) came to my defense and told them to back off-and they listened (major juice?). It just so happens that I met her a few days prior when I started in a new school and got the periods mixed up and went to the wrong class. Instead of the honors class, I wound up in a remedial class. I sat next to her and she asked if I could help her with her homework <easy with the stereotypes> I never got the chance to say thank you as I literally ran for my life and our paths never crossed after that. There's still hundreds of years of prejudice and ignorance to work through, but every positive connection brings us a step closer.
phil February 18, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Hmm. Racist? Maybe, maybe not. I don't know Noah G., the writer of the letter so I'll take what he said at it's face value. There was a suspicious white van with two black occupants and then a burglary. Whether they are suspects or not, it's not much of a description. I do take offense , however, to the fact that many publications, including this one, constantly print stories with detailed descriptions of ACTUAL suspects taken from police reports and edit out the race from the descriptions. How the heck is that helping the police catch the bad guys?? How is that making my family and neighbors safer? No matter how many times i read that a white guy did something I never seem to be offended by the description. How many people do you think "America's Most Wanted" would have caught by now if they didn't show us the pictures?
ftptch February 18, 2012 at 02:12 AM
>> Whether they are suspects or not, it's not much of a description It may or may not even be completely relevant to the burglary. Why put it in if you aren't even sure? Many of the lovely people in the 5T are simply afraid of those who are not like them, whether it's skin color, beliefs or gender
Stephen J. Bronner February 18, 2012 at 02:37 AM
We NEVER edit out people's races. We provide all the details that the police give us.
phil February 18, 2012 at 03:03 PM
"We NEVER edit out people's races. We provide all the details that the police give us." My apologies to the editor, Mr. Bronner. I must have been thinking of that fishwrap I find on my front walk in the morning. I stand corrected. In response to 'ftptch': If something "may or may not" be relevant, that's worth including. If it's definitely NOT relevant, that's something else. Such as " two white men were arrested for drunk driving" They have been caught already, no description needed.

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