There were several neighbors at last night’s 70th Precinct Community Council meeting, and when it came to questions, most of them had the same: What is being done about the large number of home burglaries in the past month?
Yesterday alone, two homes in our area were broken into during the day. In one incident, a man with a gun reportedly broke into a house on Westminster between Beverley and Cortelyou in the early afternoon. We’re told a girl was home at the time, and that the intruder broke her arm. The other incident, on DeKoven near Rugby, the home was broken into mid-morning, and items were stolen–even though the family’s dog was home.
The 70th tried to reassure residents by pointing out that crime is down overall in the precinct, that their manpower is the same as this time last year, and that they are actively addressing the burglary problem.
“Every burglary we respond to, we try to look for surveillance,” said our new Captain Ebony Washington, who recently replaced Matthew Harrington, who has moved on to another unit. “We also send out our evidence collection team to pick up fingerprints. Or sometimes, believe it or not, people leave items behind. Detectives are working on it. We’re aware of it.”
Lieutenant Jacqueline Bourne explained that once they identify a particular area where crime is increasing, they address it either by increased patrol or other anti-crime measures.
“Even though you might not see the officers out there, they’re out there,” she said. “If it’s a burglary condition, we have our plainclothes units out there. We are working very hard on the burglaries. That’s an issue right now, and we are aware of that.”
In addition to the two burglaries yesterday, residents complained of several others in the past month:
• On that same block of Westminster, neighbors report four burglaries–three in just the past month, all during the day, including the one we wrote about two weeks ago.
• Three attempted break-ins have been reported in the past two weeks on blocks near the burglary at DeKoven–two we mentioned yesterday, and another on Argyle.
• Neighbors in South Midwood say four homes have been burglarized in the past month–on E 17th, E 19th, E 22nd, and E 23rd. In each case, the burglar entered through an unlocked first floor window.
Some things to remember about keeping your home safe:
• Always lock your windows when you go out, even if you’re just leaving for a few minutes.
• Secure air conditioners so that they cannot be pushed in or pulled out.
• Illuminate the perimeter of your house, especially around doors, with enough light to see a silhouette. Lights that are too bright will hamper viewing. Install light fixtures out of reach, and in tamper- and weather-resistant housing.
• Keep shrubbery cut or designed so that it does not obstruct viewing from inside or outside. Keep a clear view to provide maximum visibility and little concealment.
Lt Bourne also reminded everyone that you can invite the 70th Precinct to do a crime prevention survey in your house or apartment. They’ll take a look at the whole place, and make suggestions about what you can do to help prevent break-ins. Contact the officers in the Crime Prevention unit at 718-851-5504 for more information.
And remember to always call the police, even if it’s an attempted burglary. As they said, they will send officers in to collect evidence, which could lead to an arrest, and the report also helps them know what areas might need more patrols.
After you’ve reported it to the police, please send us an email at email@example.com or fill out the form on the crime map page with the details, including date, approximate time, and what happened, and we’ll add it to the map.
We’ve got some more more updates from the Community Council meeting, but we’ll get to those in another post later today.