Crimetracker Spots Burglary Trend in Fresno

November 13, 2008 6:44:25 PM PST
Burglars are striking Fresno in higher numbers this year and the north side of town is getting especially hard hit.The Action News Crimetracker spotted the trend that has police and neighbors taking note. Seven times in the last two months, burglars have hit the apartment complexes on the corner of Valentine and Barstow in northwest Fresno.

Apartment managers are changing up their security and police say they're putting extra focus on the northside because of a trend you'll see in our Crimetracker analysis. "I did see a couple policemen out here yesterday," said Ruth Jones, who lives in one of the apartment complexes.

The Action News Crimetracker spotted the same trend police are noticing -- 546 burglaries in September and October of 2007. 619 of them during the same period this year. That's a 13% increase this year and the most drastic increase has come on the northside.

Burglaries are up more than 20% on the north side of town over the last two months. Neighbors are concerned and apartment managers are reacting to the problem. "They've upped the security around here," said Arturo Martinez, who lives in one of the apartment complexes. "They've changed the security, so I guess people are worried about it around here."

Police officers are also making regular visits to these apartment complexes now. "We've done a number of operations with saturation patrol, undercover operations," said Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer. "We've tried to put flyers up to let people know they could be a victim."

The number of burglaries has fallen over the last ten days, but with the economy still struggling and unemployment high, police and neighbors expect the trend to continue. And Dyer says sometimes, people are even making themselves targets for burglars -- by leaving their garage doors open, for instance. "I think people on the north side of Fresno, in some cases, have a sense of complacency because they've had a decrease in crime for the last 7 years."

Another trend that could contribute to the rise in burglaries: police say they've seen more gang members moving north over the last couple years. The police operation up on the north side includes 230 parole and probation searches over the last two weeks.

Officers have arrested almost 70 people and they say that's cutting down on burglaries.

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