Hazlet Police Launch Home Security Review Service

For Release July 14

Police To Advise Homeowners How to Prevent Break-Ins, Auto Thefts

“Operation Safe Neighborhoods”

HAZLET, NJ – In response to a wave of luxury car thefts and related home burglaries in New Jersey, the Hazlet Police Department is sending out highly trained officers to offer free home security assessments to residents.

In the first month of the program pilot of “Operation Safe Neighborhoods,” Hazlet’s 15 trained officers have visited an estimated 350 homes to offer the 15-minute voluntary security review. With roughly 7,300 households in Hazlet, Police Chief Ted Wittke’s ambition is to visit at least 1,500 additional homes by year’s end. 

“We cannot rely on enforcement alone to combat what is arguably New Jersey’s number one crime that is affecting almost every community,” said Chief Wittke. “We will continue to solicit our residents in allowing us to perform this preventative program, which in turn will make our community a safer place to reside.”

Starting July 14, interested homeowners can invite a Hazlet Police officer to their home to survey their property. The officer will create a free customized Home Security Assessment Report on paper for the homeowner on the spot with actionable advice to prevent break-ins and auto theft, taking into consideration vulnerabilities not addressed by any existing cameras and alarm systems.

Interested homeowners can sign up on the HazletPD.org website for an appointment.

  • Since 2021, Monmouth County has reported approximately 303 luxury car thefts. In 22% of those instances, the suspects entered the residence to search for keys to a vehicle.
  • During that period, Hazlet Township experienced six luxury car thefts. In half of those incidents, thieves brazenly entered the residence at night to look for keys while the residents were sleeping.

This disturbing crime trend is what motivated Hazlet Police Chief Ted Wittke to use his department’s expertise to shut down opportunities for thieves.

“It’s no secret that throughout the State, incidents involving motor vehicles being stolen from private residences have become more frequent, brazen, and risky during recent years,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago said. “That’s why we are so eager to throw our full support behind Hazlet’s Operation Safe Neighborhoods initiative, which offers an easy, effective mechanism through which local homeowners can learn how to best protect themselves and their property.”

“Auto thefts and home break-ins continue to be an ongoing issue throughout the state and one that the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and our partners in law enforcement have been tackling from the onset,” said Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden. “I commend the Hazlet Police Department for working on this significant initiative which will further maintain safety in our communities since it will help deter criminals from such dangerous acts against residents.”

Wittke, along with several other officers, have extensive training and certifications in crime prevention, security and risk assessments through the American Crime Prevention Institute as well as Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service.

To devise the home security checklist, they drew upon that training and the experience of conducting security assessments for the Hazlet school district. They then trained 15 additional officers.

For the past five years, the Hazlet Police Department has provided comprehensive risk assessments for the Hazlet School District’s eight schools. The NJ School Board Association invited Chief Wittke and Lt. Joseph Forgione to speak at its 2022 Conference on the strengths of Hazlet Township’s school security program, and more specifically how Hazlet is leveraging security assessments to make improvements and mitigate risk.

Hazlet Police have also interviewed other police departments that have experienced higher rates of break-ins to gain latest information on how thieves are accessing homes.

Every free Home Security Assessment Report reviews layers of security and provides an objective evaluation of a resident’s existing security measures, identifies areas of security weakness, and provides options to consider for home security improvements.

“As an association, we are proud of Chief Wittke’s ambitious commitment to the security of his Town and taking proactive steps to prevent auto thefts and associated burglaries.” said Chief Michael Kelly who is the Oceanport Police Department Chief of Police and President of the Monmouth County Police Chiefs Association.

“We have found that the public has been very receptive and pleased that we are taking a proactive approach to helping them prevent crime,” said Chief Wittke.

The 15- to 30-minute typical Home Security Assessment Report includes:

  • Discussion with homeowner about current crime trends.
  • Interviews with homeowner to gain an understanding of security concerns, past security problems and daily activities at the home.
  • Survey of exterior perimeter of site and home, including examination of site boundaries, perimeter fencing, landscaping, security lighting and signage.
  • Survey of interior of home if necessary. (Completely voluntary)
  • Review of physical security devices, including doors, windows, safes, and lock hardware.
  • Review of security systems, including intrusion alarm systems, panic alarm systems, video surveillance systems and security intercom systems.
  • Identification of likely security risks and potential threats.
  • Distribution of confidential Home Security Assessment Report on paper.

Hazlet residents can visit Home Security Assessment Program – Hazlet Township Police Department Official Website (hazletpd.org) to fill out a request form. The police department said it will do its best to accommodate the days and times requested. Appointments will be conducted on a first come-first serve basis. Participation is voluntary.