A wave of property crimes is hitting Fresno hard this summer. The Action News Crimetracker shows more than 1,000 home burglaries, car burglaries and minor theft cases like shoplifting all just over the last three weeks.
Compare that to seven months ago and you can see the difference fewer than 900 of those crimes show up that's 16 percent less and the bad economy may be to blame. I think that judgment kind of goes out the window when people are hungry," said Madera County resident Liz Threlkeld, "and I think they might get desperate and do things they wouldn't ordinarily do."
Threlkeld didn't get hit by a burglar, but her mother did and her northwest Fresno neighborhood is a somewhat surprising target for property crimes. Crimetracker shows a large number of them in both the northwest and northeast policing districts, more than 500 in the last three weeks.
The police department is tracking the trouble too with their "Crimeview" system. Chief Jerry Dyer also thinks more crimes are happening because people just need money. But he also says suspects like Cheng Her can really throw off the numbers. "One or two individuals can wreak havoc on an entire policing district," said Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer. "A good example of that: we arrested an individual here recently. He was responsible for 40 burglaries of a vehicle in a 30-day period."
Dyer says that arrest and efforts to keep people diligent in protecting their property are going to turn the trend around. "We're going in the right direction again finally, but we still have a lot of work to do in driving property crimes down," he said. Fresno police say their numbers show a 2% decrease in property crimes, but that includes a big drop in auto thefts. The other numbers are still on the rise and Crimetracker shows us they've been rising all year.