Kittanning Police Chief Warns of Holiday Crime

Kittanning Police Chief Bruce Mathews outlined precautions to avoid criminal activity this holiday season. (2017 KP File Photo)

Kittanning Borough Police Chief Bruce Mathews warned of increased criminal activity during the holidays.

“As a reminder to our residents, track your packages. If packages are delivered to your home, make arrangements to have them set out of sight. A simple note on the door to move packages left or right goes a long way.

“Make sure you lock your vehicle. Don’t have anything in plain sight. Don’t leave valuables or gifts in vehicles. Lock them in your trunk or take them with you.

“Be aware of your surroundings (when you are out shopping). At this day and age with the cell phone and technology, people are not as aware of what is going on around them. They are constantly on their phones.”

“Holidays don’t end December 26. Be cautious of what you throw out. Break down the large boxes. Don’t advertise your purchases by leaving the boxes by the garbage cans.”

Chief Mathews said his officers answered 291 calls during November – a noticeable decrease from an average of nearly 400 calls per month.

During Monday’s Council meeting, Mathews publicly thanked the Kittanning Eagles for their donation of $2,600 for portable radios. The current radios are at the end of their life cycle. Effective on January 1, 2018, parts will no longer be available from the manufacturer. In addition, a possible change could occur requiring radios to be encrypted to meet PSP standards. County grants typically only cover radios mounted inside the police car. The Eagles donation lightened the load on an already strapped 2018 budget in Kittanning Borough.

Council also voted to extend the time required for new police officer Philip Young to move into the Borough. By union contract, new officers must re-locate into the Borough within six-months of being hired. After a lengthy discussion, Council deviated from the contract and gave Young an additional six months to make Kittanning his home by a vote of 5-3.