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Monroe mayor, police chief urge community to work together to deter recent rash of home and vehicle burglaries, thefts

MONROE – The Monroe Township Police Department’s Detective Bureau is working on putting together a community safety information session in the wake of a rash of home and vehicle burglaries and thefts.

“These crimes are not unique to our town,” Police Chief Michael J. Biennas said. “They are happening throughout the entire state from LBI (Long Beach Island) to Bergen County. The events taking place are crimes of opportunity and implementing simple steps from locking car doors to taking your keys inside, lowering the garage door and locking doors to the house will help prevent these crimes.”

Biennas touched on the wave of burglaries and thefts at a Township Council meeting on Feb. 7.

In January, the department posted surveillance footage on its social media page of an incident of suspects entering a residence using a stolen garage door opener.

They used the incident to remind residents not to leave anything of value in vehicles including keys and garage door openers.

Biennas also posted a message on preventing vehicle thefts on the township’s website.

He said one of the most important doors residents should lock is the access door to the garage.

“A lot of people don’t do that,” he said.

The chief said every car that had been stolen recently in town has been “left unlocked with the keys in them.”

On a positive note, Biennas said all the cars that were reported stolen have been recovered.

“We have increased patrol and will continue to do so,” he said.

Biennes said the department is working with neighboring towns and state law enforcement agencies to bring the suspects to justice.

Mayor Stephen Dalina said it’s a scary time for residents with break-ins, stressing “deterrence is the biggest theme” they need to get across to residents.

“We may like to pine back to the good old days when you could leave your door unlocked and all that other stuff, but we all live in a serious world, a very scary world,” he said, urging residents to listen to the professionals and continue to work together.

Residents who observe or feel something is suspicious should call police at the non-emergency number at 732-521-0222. For emergencies, dial 911.

Residents with security cameras can register with the police department at https://monroetwppolice.org/forms-permits/voluntary-camera-registry-program/.

Biennas said the security camera registration, which has been in place for a few years, allows police access to security footage, which can help lead to solving crimes.

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