Beware of summer crime

Memorial Day weekend is traditionally a time when Chester County residents kick off the summer season, whether it is through backyard barbeques, festivals or other outdoor recreation. Unfortunately, when warmer weather arrives, Chester County residents and businesses see an increase in crime.

As a former police chief in Chester County, I know all too well how criminal activity can increase in Chester County during warmer months. Partially due to juveniles having additional free time on their hands and partially due to better weather conditions giving criminals more opportunities – like when residents leave their homes for vacations. The crime increase can be seen in residential developments, apartment complexes, businesses and more – properties that do not see a lot of vehicle or foot traffic after dark.

According to the Pennsylvania State Police Uniform Crime Reporting System, Chester County saw nearly a 50 percent increase in reported burglaries when comparing winter months to summer months for 2011. Additionally, the county saw nearly a 60 percent increase in reported vandalism when comparing winter to summer months of last year.

This summer, if crime aligns with tradition and increases, it will be at the same time local governments are working with smaller police departments, are preparing to make cuts to police departments, or are considering cutting police department manpower – all due to economic constraints.

Luckily, homeowner associations, apartment complexes and commercial property owners do have other options, including hiring private, professionally trained security officers to patrol and protect their neighborhoods, homes and businesses. Signal 88 Security of Octorara is not a law enforcement entity, but we can be help supplement police coverage and more importantly be a deterrent of crime.

As you're making your plans for the coming months, be prepared for all aspects of summer – the barbecues, festivals, vacations and most importantly your safety.

Peter J. Mango President, owner Signal 88 Security of Octorara

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