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Beachcomber
5199 E. Pacific Coast Hwy. #608
Post Office Box 15679
Long Beach California, 90815-0679
Phone: (562) 597-8000
Fax: (562) 597-9410
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Feature Stories

Police Report Burglary Rate Up

From Issue: Volume XXI - Number 9
5/3/2013


By Kirt Ramirez

Long Beach Police is warning the public to beware of thieves, as residential burglaries have increased throughout the city.

During the first quarter of 2013 there were 711 reported residential burglaries city-wide – a 35.4 percent increase from the 525 residential burglaries reported during the first quarter of 2012, the LBPD reported.

So far police have captured 63 adult and 21 juvenile burglars during the first quarter of this year. But others remain at large and lurk around day and night.

The knock-on-the-door trick is going around, where a burglar knocks or rings the bell to try and sell something and when no one answers, they break in and steal. The police have seen a lot of this lately.

“When the suspects get no response at the door, they proceed to enter the home. On some occasions, the suspects have forced entry, where in other cases they have entered either through open doors or windows, and have stolen items including jewelry, electronics, musical instruments, money and paperwork used for identity theft,” stated an LBPD press release.

An example of a break-in happened March 13 in the 1300 block of West Burnett Street. Two males were seen trying to enter a residence through the front door. When that failed, they jumped the fence into the backyard and entered the house through an open window.

Police arrived and caught one of the males a short distance away with the help of the police helicopter, but the other guy got away.

Another incident happened March 14 in the 6000 block of Elm Avenue. Tievon Harmon, 18, of Compton, was arrested after a neighbor called 9-1-1 regarding a suspicious person and Harmon was observed by police running out of the house that he had just burglarized. The stolen stuff was returned to the owner.

On March 19 in the 6300 block of Colorado, two male subjects were knocking on the front door of a residence. When they didn’t get a response, they attempted to gain access through a side gate. Unsuccessful, they returned to the front door and kicked it in. But the resident was home after all. They took off when they realized this and both suspects remain outstanding.

Michele Miller, 47, knows what it’s like to be burglarized. Thieves kicked in a back door to her home in the 1300 block of Termino Avenue in broad daylight last December – around Christmas – when she wasn’t home.

“I never knew a time when I didn’t feel safe here,” she said. “I just never thought this would happen to me.”

They ransacked the place and took electronics, software, watches and a laptop among other things and put it all in an emptied-out bat bag used for softball.

Miller has since gotten a security alarm system.

Neighbor Gabrielle Loth was burglarized two weeks later.

“I have lived in this house for seven years and never had one bad incident until recently,” she said.

Loth explained, “My roomie and I were robbed on January 7, two weeks after my neighbor was robbed. They came in through the kitchen window that was cracked open. With a pillow case they took all jewelry and a laptop and left through the front door.”

Loth recommends Beachcomber readers be aware of out-of-place people and call the police if something looks strange.

She now keeps her windows closed and also had a security system installed.

And across the street recently, a man woke up to the sounds of a backyard intruder trying to steal his bike. When “hey” was yelled through an open window, the prowler bolted.

“The suspects responsible for these burglaries do not fit any one set of characteristics. Their ages range from early teens to individuals well into adulthood, their physical descriptions vary, and their ethnic backgrounds differ. These burglars can look like anyone, which is why it’s so important for community members to call 9-1-1 when they see anyone or anything that appears suspi-cious,” said LBPD Burglary Detail Sergeant Robert Woods.

Some safety tips include getting a “no solicitors” sign for the front porch. Join a community watch program by contacting your division’s Patrol Resource Officer.

Keep doors and windows locked or buy a gadget at the hardware store so that windows cannot open all the way. Get to know your neighbors.

Report loitering (which allows thieves to case the area) and suspicious activity by calling 9-1-1 and be sure to get a good description of any subjects or vehicles.

Keep shrubbery trimmed down around your home to prevent hiding places. Keep gates to backyards locked at all times. Request a free “vacation check” by contacting the Senior Police Partner volunteers at (562) 570-7212.

Be sure your house number is visible from the street so police or emergency personnel can locate your residence quickly.

Install motion sensor lighting around your property, including on garages that may face alleyways. Consider installing surveillance cameras around your home.

When away for extended periods, make sure your home has the “lived in” look – have lights on timers, ask a neighbor to park in your driveway, make arrangements for newspapers, mail and fliers that may accumulate.

Never advertise on social media sites when you will be away on vacation.

Keep garage doors locked and closed at all times; open doors allow potential suspects to take inventory of the contents of your garage.

kirt@longbeachcomber.com