Carfax Building, 3540 Indian Queen Lane, Phila., PA 19129
Partners in Crime Prevention - As part of the community’s efforts to maintain or enhance a safe, pleasant quality of life, East Falls Town Watch serves as "Eyes and Ears" for the 39th police district through patrols, community meetings and public outreach. We promote positive police and community relations, common-sense vigilance, and subscribe to ‘broken windows" theory - that a neighborhood that looks cared for: lights on, sidewalks swept, weeds pulled, graffiti removed - deters crime.

Together We Can Make a Difference 215-848-2033

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Top 10 Simple Ways to Discourage Break-ins

Top 10 Simple Ways to Discourage Break-ins
by Cristen Conger        

Nearly 1.5 million homes were burglarized in 2006 in the United States.
­With the advent of the deadbolt in the 1960s, residential burglaries began their descent [source­: Sullivan]. As more homes installed them in the 1970s, burglaries went on a steady decline and reached a plateau in the past few years. Today, 25 percent of homes in the United States have electronic security systems, not to mention reinforced glass, superior lock technology and a veritable army of private security guards monitoring neighborhoods [source: Sullivan].

But in spite of the dwindling numbers, almost 1.5 million homes were broken into in 2006 [source: FBI Uniform Crime Reports]. And when burglaries happen, police often have a difficult time tracking down the culprits. Of all property and violent crime clearance rates reported by the FBI, burglary ties for the lowest at 12.6 percent in 2006 [source: FBI Uniform Crime Reports].

­When thinking about how to prevent this from happening to you, there are a few things you should keep in mind. When thieves break into homes, there's a greater chance of them doing so during the day when many people are at work. Also, around 40 percent of annual household burglaries in the United States are not forced entries, meaning someone was able to walk, climb or crawl inside of houses almost as easily as if the owners left a key in the door [source: Bureau of Justice Statistics].

To keep unwanted intruders out of your home, you don't have to turn your property into a suburban Fort Knox. There are many solutions that require no money at all -- just a little common sense. Read on to learn about 10 things you can do that take little time or resources to make your home a safer haven.

10. Don't Showboat

Leaving certain things lying around your yard or in plain sight from the road can unwittingly lure thieves onto your property like frantic bargain hunters to a flea market. First, if you have a bicycle or scooter that someone could easy to walk away with, roll it inside or into your garage. Also, after purchasing a new plasma screen television or other pricey electronics or appliance, don't leave the box out beside the trash can or recycling bin [source: Kraeutler]. That tells people you have something brand spanking new that could fetch decent dollars on the street. It may also leave them wondering what other goodies are inside your home.

­You ma­y also be showing off too much to people walking by your house as well. Open up your curtains, blinds or shades and stroll around the house and see what's visible. If you have a number of expensive items within plain sight or near windows, think about doing a minor redesign to move them out of view.

9. Tricking Burglars

If burglars can tell that someone is home, there's a greater chance that they won't attempt to break in. Remember, more break-ins occur during the day when many people are at work. For that reason, when you leave the house, create an illusion that someone's still there. You can leave a light on, along with music or your television for good measure. Of course, if you're going to be burning up that electricity by not turning off lights when you leave, make sure you've installed compact fluorescent bulbs that last longer and are better for the environment.

You can also mentally fake them out by putting a home security system sign in your yard. This won't guarantee they won't test out whether it's valid, but it could deter them. According to the Office of Community Oriented Police Service, most residential thieves stay away from houses with such signs [source: Sampson].

8. Secure Sliding Doors and Windows

You can easily break into some older sliding doors by simply popping them off of their frame, even when locked. It's harder to do that with newer ones, but you should still take extra precaution to secure them since they can be an inviting entry for burglars. Simply take a strong dowel, steel bar or two-by-four and slide it into the back groove. That way, even if people can pick the lock, the rod stops the door from sliding back and opening.

Although you should always lock your windows before leaving the house, you can install a simple pin or nail into to the frame to stop it from raising more than a few inches. This will add an additional layer of security in case someone pops off the screen and you have left the window unlocked. If you have a wooden window frame, you can drill a hole at your desired height above the sash, where the top and bottom window meet. Then, insert a thick metal pin or a sturdy nail into the hole. You can remove the stopper if you want to open the window completely and put it back in for security.

Also remember to check window air conditioning units. If you can jimmy the window up from the outside, add a stopper to that frame.

7. Don't Leave a Spare Key Out

­­­It may seem like a good idea to leave a spare key hidden under a flower pot or doormat in case you get locked out of your house. But that's an open invitation for a burglar to walk inside without any difficulty. Someone could also see you retrieve the key at some point, giving away your hiding place.

Instead, give a spare to a neighbor you know well or friend who lives nearby for safekeeping. Since most people now own cell phones, if you lock yourself out you can call for help or walk over to the person's house. You could also put the spare into a combination lockbox and hide that somewhere outside.

­Remember to never put any identifying information on your house keys. If you lose them, and someone else finds them, it would be fairly easy to trace them back to your home and break in. ­

6. Secure Your Yard

Tall shrubs and overgrown trees are welcome hiding places for criminals to wait until the coast is clear to get into your house. That doesn't mean you need to cut down every plant in your yard. Just keep things manicured.

Low shrubs in front of windows remove additional covering for thieves if they attempt to break in through one. Cut away any tall tree branches that reach upper story windows and protect against attacks from above. Regularly trimming larger bushes and tree branches also eliminates dark shadows that help hide intruders.

This type of security measure is referred to as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). CPTD strategies aim to prevent crime by creating an outdoor environment that makes it difficult to pull off. Its four tenets are:
  • Natural surveillance -- keep entryways to your home visible to prevent people from being able to sneak up.
  • Territorial reinforcement -- using landscaping and design to define your territorial space.
  • Natural Access Control -- adding hindrances to easily access your property. For instance, holly bushes or other thorny shrubs around your house.
  • Target Hardening -- structural security, such as deadbolts and double-paned windows.
[source: CPTED Security]
You can implement these techniques in various combinations, depending on your property. It can also spruce up the appearance of your yard as an added bonus.

5. Get Police Help

Police can help you stop crime before it happens, rather than just responding to it. For instance, if you're leaving town for a while, let the police know and request that they drive by your property to check on things.

Many police stations also offer free security evaluations for your property [source: Olsen]. If your local jurisdiction has a crime prevention officer, find out if he or she can survey your property and help you identify any security steps you can implement.

Take advantage of a recent trend in police practices called community policing. Community policing involves officers being assigned to neighborhood beats where they make a greater effort to build relationships with the residences. This may include walking instead of driving through or setting up community safety workshops. If the police in your area practice this, get to know the officers who patrol your neighborhood. Successful community policing has been linked to lowered crime and healthier neighborhoods and could lower the chances of break-ins.

4. Prepare Before Vacation

­­Residential crime spikes during July and August as people set off on summer vacations [source: OIsen]. As mentioned earlier, if you are going out of town for an extended period of time, call your local police and let them know. Also, alert neighbors you trust about your trip and ask that they keep an eye on your property during that time.
More importantly, when you leave town, don't leave signs of an empty house. That will only make your house look like a giant bulls-eye to a thief. First, if you have a home phone, don't change your message to alert callers that you have left town. Also avoid having piled up mail, overgrown lawns and newspapers strewn about your yard that send surefire signals you're miles away.

Have a friend house sit or at least pick up your mail and newspapers. Ask them to move your car periodically to make it look like you're still around. During the winter if you live in a cold weather climate, consider having someone shovel snow from your driveway. In the summers, arrange for someone to cut your lawn.

3. Know Your Neighbors

Getting to know the people you live around is one of the most important safety steps you can take. Closer-knit neighborhoods generally report fewer break-ins [source: Olsen] because strangers will stick out, and people are more likely to keep a casual eye on other people's security. Neighborhood Watch Programs, started in the 1960s, can be very effective at lowering and preventing crime. According to the National Crime Prevention Council, more than 30 million people in the United States have joined these groups [source: National Crime Prevention Council].

Studies have consistently found that watch programs effectively reduce crime and violence in neighborhoods. The National Sheriff's Association oversees the nationwide watch group organization and offers a number of resources for starting and joining one.

If you rent a house or apartment, you have more incentive to get to know your community because renters are 85 percent more likely to experience a break-in [source: National Crime Prevention Council]. This may be because renters aren't as likely to watch out for one another or have any sort of community watch program.

2. Stay Vigilant!

Although it's nice to know you have people watching out for you in your neighborhood, you also need to watch out for yourself. If you aren't paying attention to what you're doing, you could unknowingly be rolling out a red carpet for a burglar to waltz through your front door.

While it ­may seem like a symptom of paranoia, keep your identity and any travel plans on the down low. For instance, only put your street address on your mailbox. Give away your last name, and someone could find your phone number, work place and a host of other stats with a few mouse clicks [source: Discovery Channel]. Before you jet off to Bermuda, don't talk about it openly in public because a sinister stranger could be taking note.

Educate yourself as well about crime in the area. Check the crime section in your local newspaper to see if your neighborhood has been hit recently [source: Discovery Channel]. Also, local police stations, particularly in larger cities, have online crime maps that will show you precisely where reported incidents occurred around you. If you notice a lot of criminal activity, that's your signal to pay extra attention to security. And always keep an eye out for suspicious activity in neighborhood. A little added effort can go a long way to protect your home and your safety.

1.      Lock it Up

As mentioned earlier, more than 40 percent of break-ins happen without the use of force. That means a lot of people are leaving their houses without locking the doors and windows. If you have a thumb latch lock and a deadbolt on your doors, always lock the dead bolt. Double-check weaker doors such as patio and sliding ones to make sure their locks are strong enough to withstand kicks. When you leave your home, don't forget to lock up the door leading from the garage to inside. Even if your garage door is down, someone can easily open it. ­

You may need to change your locks to stronger ones to keep out would-be burglars. For more detailed information about choosing a lock, read What's the best way to prevent a thief from entering your home?

Sunday, April 17, 2016


Next meeting of the 39th PD is on Monday, 4/25/2016 at 6pm at Headquarters
2201 W. Hunting Park Ave. Philadelphia, PA

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Patrols with a Focus

by Mary Jane Fullam -Sep 1, 2015

At East Falls Town Watch, members patrol for safety in general and also with a focus.
Now that school has resumed, the safety of students and their behavior are two constants when we are on patrol.
Recently, dismissal procedures were addressed with administrators at the 350-student Eastern University Academy Charter School in the Falls Center on Henry Ave.
Readers might recall that a melee erupted late in the last school year at Henry and Midvale Aves. involving Eastern students and others from outside of East Falls. School officials have informed Town Watch that Eastern students involved in the incident have been expelled, and staff members have pledged to continue to accompany students from the school as they walk on Henry Ave.
If you’re looking for something to do, EF Town Watch has opportunities for you… Bring a friend, even, and find out together about the deeds we do in all parts of the neighborhood.
Just give us a call at 215-848-2033 or send us an email at and we’ll set you up for an interesting and worth-your-while patrol.
Or, feel free to take part on our monthly meetings at 7:30 pm on the second Thursday of each month at the Carfax Building next to Old Academy Playhouse on Indian Queen Lane.
At these meetings, we schedule patrols and discuss news from neighbors and officers in the 39th Police District.
This summer proved to be a busy one as EFTW members continued their roles in three programs:
· At a community get-together as part of the National Night Out held on the first Tuesday in August, neighbors, police, firefighters and elected officials gathered at our office.
Local Engine No. 35 truck and members of Firefighters Platoon A were the stars as youngsters enjoyed climbing on the truck and meeting fire personnel. A big thanks to Capt. Stephen Paslawski of Ladder No. 35, Platoon B for facilitating the company’s participation; Police Officers Joseph Lukaitis and Julia Bruhns handle crime prevention and victims assistance, respectively, for the 39th; State Rep. Pam DeLissio and Josh Cohen, representing City Councilman Curtis Jones.
· EF Town Watch partnered with students from Philadelphia University for an annual community service project. The goal was to keep East Falls beautiful. Armed with gloves, trash bags and trash pick-sticks and garbed in safety vests and gloves, we spent a Friday afternoon cleaning the Ridge Ave. area under the US Rt. 1 Twin Bridges. A dozen full trash bags later, the area looked much improved. Thanks to the Philadelphia U. students and TW volunteers, all of whom who deserve a shout-out for this much needed clean-up.

· Tires, tires and more tires. Not only did our summer collection of old tires in a city-sponsored fundraising/clean up drive reach our own allotment, but we gathered enough to contribute to other volunteer groups, including Ray of Hope and Port Richmond Corridor.
Thanks to EFTW board members Marie Filipponi and Bill Epstein for their help in preparing EFTW’s monthly write-up for The Fallser.

Monday, August 3, 2015

National Night Out, Tuesday, August 4th 5:00 pm

National Night Out

Tomorrow, Tuesday August 4th is National Night out from 5pm- 7 ish. Stop by Town Watch HQ at 3540 Indian Queen Lane, there will be police, legislators, sanitation officials---- if you would like to come talk about issues with them. Also, the firetruck will be there about 6pm for the kids to hop on. Water ice and soft pretzels will be provided. We would love to have a nice turnout.

Pass the word around

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Prominent Issues on the East Falls Town Watch Radar

East Falls Town Watch did "double duty" at EFCC's annual Flea Market in McMichael Park in June. Pictured, l to r, Mary Jane Cross, Pat Adams, Marie Fillippone, Christina Kistler and Mary Jane Fullam chatted up East Falls Town Watch and collected donations for ongoing programs.
Several issues are prominent on the East Falls Town Watch radar screen as we enter the summer – and we ask all of our neighbors to help us as we tackle these priorities:
 Short dumping: The practice of degrading our neighborhood by dumping mattresses, pillows, bags of trash, industrial waste, tires and other refuse continues in the McDevitt Playground parking lot, along Henry Ave., Midvale Ave., Ridge Ave., Cresson St., Vaux St. and Scotts Ln.   Added to the practice of residents and apartment house owners who put out their trash days before the City’s Monday collection day, we have problem that has to be – and can be – addressed.
 Itinerant vendors: We’ve reported several vendors illegally hawking clothes, snacks and religious pamphlets on Fairmount Park grounds, including McMichael Park and in the vicinity of the Wissahickon bus transfer station on Ridge Ave.
What makes this practice illegal? At least one vendor used five-inch nails to hammer his cardboard signs into trees in McMichael Park on June 16th.
These activities deface our community. We urge residents to call police at 911 if you see them in progress, or, report them to 311 for City clean-up action after the infringements.
The police tell us repeatedly, “Every call is important. No call is a bother.”
Town Watch echoes this advice. Call! If you see something that doesn’t look right,; say something. Don’t hesitate!
 Unruly students on Henry Ave.: Another current concern is student behavior along Henry Ave. at dismissal time for the Eastern University Academy Charter School in the Falls Center at 3300 Henry Ave.
On June 3 a large melee involving students from this and other local schools took place. Police were forced to resort to drawing batons.
Town Watch will participate with officials of the East Falls Community Council in meetings with school officials to learn their perspective and to encourage them to put appropriate personnel in place along Henry Ave. until these incidents cease.
EFTW sends a sincere thank you to those supporters who invested their time and treasure in support of our organization at the June 13 East Falls Community Council Flea Market and then later that same night at the Old Academy Playhouse’s performance of Godspell. The events were a boon to our coffers and a boost to our morale. Thanks for your vote of confidence and generosity!
Thank you, everyone, who invested time and treasure last month in support of East Falls Town Watch (EFTW). Proceeds from items sold and chances taken at our booth at the McMichael Park Flea Market June 13th, plus donations made via the fund-raiser we sponsored at the Old Academy later that evening, were not only a boon to our coffer but also a boost to our morale. Thank you for your votes of confidence and your generosity!
Several members and several businesses deserve special recognition: Franco Faggi of Fiorino Cucina Italiana, Paul and Dave of Franklin’s, Ashley Jones of ShopRite, Marie Filipponi and Bill Epstein, board members of EFTW – all donated items which were sold or chanced off on our behalf..Saluti, amici! A random drawing to determine the winners of the donated gift certificates was made by EFCC member Roger Marsh; names drawn were Franz Ostertag of Calumet Street, Phil Hughes of Netherfield Road and Sheldon Wolfe of W. Queen Lane.
All the good will generated at these events spills over into building community and sustaining a pleasant quality of life, as does looking out for our neighbors and calling 9-1-1 immediately whenever something seems amiss.
The 39th PD exhorts us never to leave doors or windows unlocked, and to be aware of our surroundings at all times.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Town Watch Honors Roger Marsh

Accepting the East Falls Town Watch Good Neighbor of the Year Award is long-time community activist Roger Marsh (second from left) as Town Watch board members make presentation.
Marsh was honored for his service to the East Falls Community Council, including his tenure on the Zoning and Land Use Committee and his chairing of the annual Mifflin School Arboretum clean-up. From left are Mary Jane Cross, Bill Epstein, Town Watch President Mary Jane Fullam, Marie Filipponi and Joan McIlvaine.
Godspell Tickets to Benefit Town Watch
The East Falls Town Watch has several rows of tickets for the Old Academy Playhouse’s Saturday, June 13 performance of the hit musical Godspell as a fundraiser for Town Watch.
For tickets, $25 each, call Marie Filipponi at 215-438-4978 or Bill Epstein at 610-505-6105.

Saturday, May 16, 2015've got the action.

Please join us for Movie Night at the 39th PD

2201 West Hunting Park Ave (roll call room) Phila 19140

Movie feature: Despicable Me 2

When: Friday May 29th at 6:00 PM

Please RSVP by May 22nd, 2015.

Contact: P/O Keys #1166, CRO 215-686-2751

Police Alert / Scofflaws Beware

Lt. Ed Bier, head of the 39th Police District's Service Area #1, announced November 22nd, the following:

Beginning November 28th, all shifts, the 39th P.D. plans increased surveillance along the 3600 block of Calumet Street in the vicinity of the bridge passing over the RR tracks. Traffic compliance of posted regulations will be enforced.

Also, beginning November 28th, Mifflin and St. Bridget school drop-offs and pick-ups of students will be monitored with inreased police presence. All safety and traffic regulations will be enforced.

William J. Murphy

East Falls Town Watch would like to express our condolences to the Murphy family for the loss of a kind and gregarious man. Mr. Murphy passed on December 29th. He was the recipient of the 2008 Good Neighbor presented to him by East Falls Town Watch for his contribution to the community. He will be sadly missed.


June 14, 2011


We have been informed that this morning (June 14th) at approximately 8:15 a.m. a woman walking a dog on the 3300 block of Warden Drive was hit in the head and knocked to the ground, and the dog was taken from her. While this incident did not involve students, your safety is our priority and we feel it is important that you have this information.

As a reminder, please remember to always exercise good judgment and observe these general safety rules: · Do not display electronic equipment in public.· Be alert and use caution if approached by a stranger.· Always keep all of your doors and windows locked.· Travel in groups and always choose the most well-lit route.· Never let strangers in the residence halls and apartment buildings.· Use the Ram Van or call Safety & Security after Ram Van hours for an escort.· Do not resist a robber; give up the cash or property.·

If in immediate danger and you will not further jeopardize yourself, run away and scream "Help!" "Police!" or "Fire!"

Any information or if you witness any suspicious activity please call 9-1-1.

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