As the sounds of hammers ring out and sukkahs continue to dot the landscape of our Ihr Hatorah, the Sukkos season is undeniably upon us. Much like almost every time of year, Sukkos brings its own unique safety challenges. LCSW would like to remind the Lakewood community to take precautions to help stay safe wherever you may go. The following are some useful tips you can implement to protect yourself from becoming a victim of crime:
When going away for Yom Tov, make sure your home looks lived in.
Set your lights on a Shabbos timer, so that there will always be some form of illumination. Don’t leave all your lights blazing all week, that would look suspicious.
Position your venetian blinds, if applicable, in a way that allows some light to seep through, not totally shuttered for a dark, uninhabited look.
Ask a neighbor or friend you trust to keep an eye on your home, to collect your mail and to look out for any suspicious activity.
Cancel your bulk mail so that you don’t have an accumulation on your doorstep, a sure sign for would be intruders that the homeowners are away.
If you have more than one car, keep one in the driveway. Alternatively, you can ask a neighbor to keep one of their cars in your driveway.
Unplug electrical appliances. This will conserve energy as well reduce the risk of electrical fire.
If you keep a spare key on your porch, under a rock or anywhere near your home, remove it before going away. If a criminal does notice you’re away, he will look for the hidden spare key.
And of course, when you are all packed up and ready to hit the road, go around to every single window and side door and make sure it is locked!
Keep your Sukkah safe:
Make sure you have an effective lock on your Sukkah if you will be sleeping in it, and even if you won’t be, be careful not to leave your sukkah door unlocked and your house door unlocked.
Don’t leave valuables in your sukkah overnight.
Use caution when lighting candles in the Sukkah. Don’t leave your candles unattended outside, ever. Aside from the usual dangers of children getting to candles that are unattended, sukkahs pose additional risks, as the candles are susceptible to winds and the walls of the sukkah are at times made of flammable materials.
If your shlock uses a pull string mechanism, make sure there are no ropes dangling within reach of children, posing a suffocation risk.
Young children should not sleep alone in the sukkah with the rest of the family inside. If a father is unable to sleep in the sukkah for any reason, please make other arrangements.
When out and about over chol hamoed, keep yourself, your children and your possessions safe:
Don’t leave handbags and pocket books unattended in public places.
Review basic safety rules with your children, including not approaching or talking to strangers, memorizing their address and phone number and staying put in the eventuality that they do get lost chas veshalom.
In crowded places, it’s very easy to lose sight of your children. You can dress them in conspicuous colors, implement a buddy system pairing each adult/older child with a younger one, and memorize what each child is wearing before you depart so that you can describe them to authorities in case the need arises. You can even bring along a picture of each child for this purpose.
With young children, have them wear their name and your cell phone number as a bracelet or necklace (not in a visible place where a passing stranger can take note of their name and information). Teach them that if they can’t find you, they should find an employee or a mommy with children.
If your family owns multiple cell phones, distribute them wisely among family members so that you can all be in contact with each other.
If your child will be going on a trip with another family, make sure an adult will be accessible throughout the trip and that you have his or her contact information.
Use caution when going out on trips at night and stay away from unsavory neighborhoods. If you will be driving through unfamiliar territory, make sure your gas tank is full and that you have clear directions to your destination.
As always, if you see anything suspicious please don’t hesitate to call the police and our 24-hour emergency hotline at 732-367-1212. We will be employing numerous patrols to keep the streets of Lakewood safe over Yom Tov. If you have any concerns, you can flag down one of our members on patrol.