Police use electronic sign to warn homeowners of recent burglaries
Portable electronic signs are typically used to warn people of construction and traffic alerts, but now police are using them to warn people about crimes.
Woodland Avenue in Warwick Township sits in a quiet neighborhood. A few days, ago thieves broke into several homes. The thefts occurred at night while the homeowners slept inside.
"Criminals look for vulnerable spots to hit," said Sergeant Rick Rhinier with Northern Lancaster Regional Police. "You can't violate a person more than coming into their house, especially when they have their family there. That's your safe haven. That's the place you go and you call home."
Northern Lancaster Regional Police decided to take a different approach to solve the crime and inform homeowners. They put an electronic sign in front of a home on Woodland Avenue for everyone to see. "We thought this was the quickest way to get our message out. Hopefully we can make them [homeowners] aware that things are going on in their neighborhood," said Sgt. Rhinier.
Neil Dreibeleis knew nothing of the burglaries until police asked to put the sign in his yard. Dreibeleis happily obliged. "I thought the sign was a good way of informing all of the neighbors, drawing attention to what's going on without requiring a lot of manpower," he said.
"We had the technology and we wanted to get the message out as quickly as possible," said Sgt. Rhinier.
Chief David Steffan said he used the same idea when he worked with Northern York Regional Police Department. Chief Steffan said the department already had the equipment.