BRICK — Hopefully reducing the number of shattered windows and kicked-in doors, and improving upon how quickly emergency responders can successfully respond to a problem, police in this Ocean County township have launched a program that would give them instant access into homes where the resident may be unable to answer the door.

With the launch of Project Safe Lock, the police department will provide free realtor-style lock boxes to eligible residents. The resident would provide a house key for the box, which can be mounted on a door or railing. The combination to the box is stored in the police department's dispatch center.

"We have a number of senior citizen complexes in our town, and quite often we're called to them for some kind of medical emergency where they've become disabled," Chief of Police James Riccio told Townsquare Media.

Eligible homeowners may also include those who live alone or are home alone frequently, those who are handicapped, and those who have a second home on the barrier island and live hours away.

"We've broken windows before, we've kicked in doors," Riccio said.

Searching for a hide-a-key hasn't always successful for police, the department said. Oftentimes, the key can't be found in the area specified by a resident.

With a generous donation by Artis Senior Living, the department can purchase about 50 boxes for the initiative. Those interested in applying for a lock box can fill out a form here or show up at the township's Community Policing Unit during business hours for an application. Those interested in supporting the project should contact the unit.

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