Over the last month there has been a rash of home invasion robberies throughout the five boroughs committed by crooks posing as police impersonators. The PIX11 Know Your Enemy team has some important tips to protect yourself from falling victim to a Police Impersonator.
Incidences of police impersonators are on the rise. Cities across American are seeing more and more of these crimes.
Those who impersonate police officers erode the public’s trust in law enforcement and may endanger unsuspecting people. It’s bad enough to think about criminals forcing their way into your home but when they are claiming to be the police it makes it even more frightening.
1.) If an individual appears at your door and claims to be a police officer-but is not in FULL uniform and you can’t see the police car parked in front of your house DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR. Tell the police officer through a cracked window and locked door that you plan to cooperate but would like to check his/her credentials before you open the door. Best practice is to ask the police officer for his name, badge number and the department he is a part of and call 911 to verify. These questions should not be difficult for a police officer to answer and if they are, you should become very suspicious.Trust your instincts. If they don’t seem to be a real police officer they are probably not.
2.) Use the door peephole BEFORE opening the door. Make sure you have strong locks and that the windows also have strong locks. You can add some extra strength to your windows by placing dowel rods into the track of the windows. Make sure you keep your doors locked even while at home. Do not rely on door chains. You also want to make sure that if you have a window AC unit that it is not easy to pull out from the outside. It’s recommend that they be bolted from the inside.
3.) If you are a victim of a home invasion/robbery do not fight back. You cannot put a price on a life. Your best defense is to remember a head to toe description of the crooks (what they wore, did they have a weapon, height, weight, age, and any other important details you could remember) and remember to call 911 immediately.
Always keep in mind, criminals will continue to pose as law enforcement, service providers because it works!!! They know that law abiding citizens will open the door for police and that people in “nice” neighborhoods may be more trusting and wanting to help. Always be vigilant and follow your gut instincts!! If something doesn’t feel right or seems out of place-chances are its true! And remember…always take a moment to asses the situation-It is better to lose one minute in life… than to lose life, property and personal safety in a minute.