South Jersey Home Invasions Spur Safety Concerns [AUDIO]
Are home invasions becoming the attack of choice for violent criminals in South Jersey?
A Bridgeton man was shot and killed this week when he confronted a gunman who entered his home. Days earlier, a 96-year-old woman from Pleasantville was allegedly beaten and sexually assaulted by an intruder. Four arrests this month stem from a violent home invasion in Cape May County, which resulted in a broken rib for the victim, plus several cuts and bruises.
"Home invasions are just so much different than a burglary - so much more violent and intrusive, that it really puts people on edge," said Lt. Steven Jones, a spokesperson with the New Jersey State Police.
Despite the recent pattern, Jones said home invasions are still a very rare occurrence. According to Jones, attackers in these invasions tend to know the victims or they have knowledge of certain items in the home. Simply put, there's a specific reason for the attack.
Detectives following the Cape May County attack learned it was not a random incident; the suspects were acquainted with the victim. However, at this point, the Bridgeton and Pleasantville attacks appear to be completely random.
Jones said people should keep their doors locked at all times, not only when they're out of the home. Also, keep the security system armed, especially when a vulnerable occupant is inside.
"At nighttime, certainly lighting is always one of those things we try to encourage," added Jones. "It's probably your most effective means of warding off intruders."