Community Voices

Crime Watch: Carbon monoxide alarms stop ‘invisible killer’

Carmen Gonzalez Caldwell
Carmen Gonzalez Caldwell

Sunday is the day we turn our clocks forward for Daylight Saving Time, but it’s also the day we need to change the batteries in our smoke alarms. Hopefully, you also have a carbon monoxide alarm that needs battery changing.

Although the popularity of carbon monoxide (CO) alarms has been growing in recent years, it cannot be assumed that everyone is familiar with the hazards of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home. Often called “the invisible killer,” carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels — including gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil and methane — burn incompletely.

In the home, heating equipment and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of carbon monoxide. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. So if you don’t have one, please make it a priority to install a carbon monoxide alarm inside your home.


Here are some interesting emails I’ve recently received from readers:

From Chuck Ross in the village of Biscayne Park regarding a car burglary:

Sometime between 7:50 and 8 p.m. someone broke into an unlocked car on Northeast Ninth Avenue near 115th Street. A resident unloading groceries and putting things away in her kitchen came back out to get the rest of her groceries and discovered her car had been ransacked. Annual Disney passes were taken from her glove box.

Please take everything out, be aware of your surroundings and then lock your car.

From another reader:

First of all, thanks for your weekly advice I read in the Miami Herald preventing many scenarios of fraud and crime. My concern is that we are receiving mail (junk, so far) for two people who do not live in my house. That mail is addressed to persons who have my same last name and I am concerned that these two have used my address for not good purposes.

Is there an office where we can check that? What is your best suggestion for this scenario? — Raul Leon.

My response: I suggested to Mr. Leon that he should contact his postal carrier and also the post office. Also to check his credit report to make sure there is nothing there that sends a “red” flag that his information is being used.

From a third reader:

On Saturday and Sunday I received two phone calls informing me the IRS (my former employer) was about to file a lawsuit against me. Both times I hung up. However, it would please me no end to help to nail these vultures. Is there anything I can do?

My response: I suggested he go online and report it on the IRS website. From now to April 15, these types of calls will continue. I have received tons of emails and calls from readers that this has happened to them and I am proud to say that everyone has hung up and not returned any calls.

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.