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Kinnelon May Use Signs to Help Deter Burglars

Council questions whether neighborhood watch signs would be effective on Cutlass Road.

The discussed last week placing permanent neighborhood watch signs on Cutlass Road and whether the signs would ward off or attract more burglars to an area that has been reportedly burglarized a few times in the past several months.

On March 19, Kinnelon police responded to an apparent burglary on Cutlass Road where a safe and unknown amount of jewelry appeared to have been taken. In December, cash and electronics were apparently taken from a Cutlass Road home.

Kinnelon Mayor Bob Collins said a resident requested that the borough put neighborhood watch signs up in the area and that another resident sent a letter saying that they do not feel enough is being done to solve the burglaries, although the mayor disagreed with the letter and said he felt Chief John Finkle has had a "comprehensive response" to the incidents. Electronic signs warning residents about the apparent burglaries have been posted for weeks both on Cutlass Road and on Boonton Avenue, near

Councilman Andrew SanFilippo said he felt that the neighborhood watch signs would be ineffective and possibly even counterintuitive.

"Putting out a couple of crime watch signs is kind of like waving an empty gun around," he said. "That's kind of like asking someone to come and rob the house."

SanFilippo said police have stepped up patrols in the area and that the road's close proximity to Route 23 may play a factor in the burglaries, more than other parts of the borough.

"Cutlass Road is as the first couple roads in the North Gate of Smoke Rise. They're highway-worthy," he said. "You hit them and you're on the highway and you're out of here forever."

SanFilippo said he did not want to see the borough invest in signs "for the sake of putting up a sign." But Councilman Gary Moleta said he felt the signs may give the residents in the area peace of mind.

"It will make the residents feel happier, but then, we have to look at the fact of what is it telling other people driving through? Is there a problem in Kinnelon?" he said.

Moleta was concerned that the signs could, to some extent, devalue the area.

The council will be consulting Finkle and continuing conversations on the topic at following meetings.

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