Nobody is ever going to say that Rockland County is the safest county in America. According to the numbers, Rockland hovers at about the same rate in crimes per square mile and violent crime as the national average. The 2014 DA Report also talks about the burgeoning drug problem, particularly for harder drugs like heroin and the high rate of crime associated with it.
Even so, in terms of property crime, theft, etc. Rockland County sits well below the national average, which is good news both for current and hopeful future residents.
Rockland County’s residents are also very focused on reducing crime in their neighborhoods and cities. Rockland PD’s Crime Watch group is incredibly active and has reduced crime within the county considerably. The county’s enhanced 911 system has also made reporting of and responding to problems easier for both residents and fire and safety crews.
Still, Rockland County is far from being crime free and, even in residential neighborhoods, there can be problems from time to time. For example, there was recently a rash of car-related vandalism in Valley Cottage, where residents found their cars damaged by what appears to be shots from a BB gun. While not as dangerous or scary as a rash of violent home invasions–like you might hear about on the news given Rockland’s proximity to the city–it is still evidence that residents of Rockland County need to stay alert and that they shouldn’t take the relative sleepiness of their neighborhoods for granted.
How to Stay Safe
There are many things that residents of Rockland County can do to improve the safety of their homes, their possessions and even of themselves when they are out and about. Here are some tips from top safety experts:
Install Security Cameras
For most vandals what deters them more than anything else is the fear of being seen and, consequently, caught. Installing video surveillance on your property (and posting notice of that surveillance) dramatically decreases your chances for home invasion and property damage. The systems that surveil and record your property have become smarter and more streamlined. You don’t have to have a cache of tapes or DVDs anymore. According to one home security company, ADT security cameras can now connect to your mobile devices for easy viewing.
Double Check ID
Rockland County Sherriff Falco’s monthly safety tip is a good one: always ask to see the I.D. of anybody who does work on or near your home. This includes utility workers who might be there to inspect your meters, the person who shows up to install your new appliances or cable connection, contractors you’ve hired for renovation, etc. Anybody can pose as an employee and scope out your home but not everyone will be able to have official ID that can be verified with a home office. If you want to be extra cautious (which is understandable for people who live alone or who might have kids in the house) it is also a good idea to call the utility company to verify that worker’s ID before you allow the person to come inside your home.
Never Walk Alone, Especially at Night
Always travel in groups. Criminals and attackers are less likely to approach groups of people than they are individuals. Even if you’ve taken self defense or are a trained fighter and know you can handle yourself, it’s best to stop a potential attack before it happens. Walking with friends is a great way to do that. If you’ve all parked in different locations, travel together to one friend’s car and then that friend can drive everybody to their parked vehicles and make sure they get into them and drive off safely.
Have a Safety Plan
Your family probably already has a plan in place for what to do if there is a fire. It is also important to have a plan in place for what to do if someone breaks in. These plans are likely going to be very different. For example, in the case of fire, your goal is to get out of the house as quickly and as safely as possible. Trying to run outside during a home invasion, however, could put you right in an intruder’s path and cause more problems. Hiding somewhere safe inside your room is a better plan. Identify safe hiding places, download safety apps that will help you silently alert the authorities of your situation, etc. Run drills every once in a while to keep the routine fresh.
Remember, relatively speaking, Rockland County is much safer than some of it’s neighboring communities. Even so, Rockland is not 100% crime free. Taking steps to protect your safety is good sense!