“They stole electronics and jewelry,” he said.
His wife added that her family has lived in the home since the 1970s and never had an incident like that. She said the police were very responsive.
“They came right over,” she said. “They sent three patrol cars. Their response was terrific.”
Others in the audience wanted to know what they should tell their children.
“I spoke with my son and we talked about if he was alone and has his cellphone, can he text 911,” one man said, “so the intruder doesn’t know he’s there.”
Higginbottom cautioned parents not to frighten their children.
He said the best way for them to notify police is by using a landline to call 911, which goes directly to the Andover police station and gives police an address.
Dialing 911 on a cellphone goes to the Framingham State Police headquarters, but is then forwarded immediately to Andover. He said the department did not have the capability to accept emergency text messages from residents.
Another resident wanted to know about response times.
Keefe said that there are so many officers now patrolling west Andover that response times are within two minutes in 95 percent of the cases. But in rare instances, response can take up to four to six minutes if a call is made in the middle of a shift change and all the officers are at the central station downtown.
However, he said, “if the word ‘child’ is mentioned, you’ll get the whole shift there” right away.
Keefe, Higginbottom and Aufiero suggested people call anytime of day or night if they see or hear anything suspicious. One thing people might see are suspicious drug transactions. Higginbottom said that many times drug buyers will meet dealers in culs-de-sac for quick sales that last only a few minutes.