Community Voices

Crime Watch: When clocks move forward, it’s time to check our smoke alarms

Let’s start today with checking if we moved our clocks forward and did we check our smoke alarms? Please, it is imperative that you keep that smoke alarm updated — it will save your life if there is a fire. So go check it now if you haven’t. And if you don’t have one, especially if you have seniors in the house, call me and I will try to get one for you. Seniors (like my 96-year-old neighbor) sometimes cook and forget and the pan catches on fire. I gave my neighbor a smoke alarm and it’s always going off which is good because we hear it and go check in on her.

Well, your emails on Medicare numbers and fraud were overwhelming; you all are really great in keeping me informed with all the scams. I forwarded many of them to Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen so she can see the big problems we are having down here in Miami-Dade, and I am thankful for her support. Maybe soon we will have legislation to stop the abuse. Now if we could hear from other congressional members, that would be nice!

I have also received several emails from readers who’ve been recent crime victims. I always say, “If it’s happening in the south end of the county it’s going to happen in the north end also.”

One reader wrote that she awakened one day and found that air bags were stolen from three of her family cars. She heard the alarm go off but figured it was the cat that jumped on the car and triggered the alarm. Folks, that can happen but when you hear the car alarm you need to get up and look to make sure nothing is happening. Cars built from 1995-2005, especially Hondas and Toyotas, are being stolen for parts. Dumb stuff but it’s happening, so be aware where you park your cars. This is happening not only at home but in parking garages, too.

Another little thing they are stealing: your car’s tag or sticker. How many of you check to make sure you have your tag or sticker on your car? I check every morning to make sure it’s there. Why? Because they steal the tag to use in stolen cars, or for drivers who can’t get tags for one reason or another. Make it a habit to check your tag in the mornings. If you park in a big parking lot, also check to see if your tag is still there. And make sure you know the tag number — sometimes they switch it with another tag. If you have a paper tag, the crooks love those because they are easy to take and change the date. Try to get your permanent plate as soon as possible.

Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to, or call her at 305-470-1670.