Suspicious Van Puts Neighborhoods on High Alert

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Neighborhood Watch groups in Lansing are on alert, following reports of a group of people driving a blue van, trying to open doors of homes. The people claim to be selling something, but may actually be looking for ways to get their hands on valuables.

In the Moores Park Neighborhood, Andrew Eagle and his daughter spent time Monday, taping Neighborhood Watch fliers to doors. They want their neighbors to know about an upcoming meeting this week. They say communication is key to fighting crime. Eagle says, “We've got to be proactive. We need more eyeballs. We need more participation."

They want neighbors to keep alert, and let criminals know they’re not welcome. Since Spring has arrived, they’ve shared information via social media about recent break-ins, and reports of the group with the blue van approaching homes. Eagle says the criminals are striking during the light of day and seem to be targeting homes where they know no one is home. “We want to eyeball anybody who doesn't belong here. We all know who does and doesn't belong here, strange cars, strange people."

Lansing Police have officers working with neighborhood groups to stop crime, but they need help. Public Information Officer Robert Merritt says you can protect your home with some basic security measures. “Criminals or burglars are opportunists. They're looking for an opportunity. They'll pay attention sometimes to windows that are left open, screens that are available to get through, screen doors for that matter. Screen doors are easy, to just cut the screen, even if the door is locked."

A reminder that while we’re enjoying the weather, thieves are too. Merritt says, “Be aware of your surroundings. Be a part of Neighborhood Watch. If you're doing something and you see something suspicious you can get on the phone tree or notify your neighbor or let the people know that surround you what is going on."

Lansing Police say there are many legitimate businesses soliciting home improvement, and yard jobs. It's o.k. to be suspicious. If something doesn't feel right, they say, don't hesitate to call police.