North Central News

Residents on alert after spike in break-ins

By Colleen Sparks
Residents are on high alert after an unusually high number of burglaries recently in Sunnyslope.

There were 15 residential and car burglaries within about a 20-mile radius of the intersection of 12th Street and Butler Drive in September, said Phoenix Police Commander Aimee Smith of the Desert Horizon Precinct. Smith said that area saw four residential and car burglaries in October, four in November and three in December.

“September was very odd, a very high month,” she said. “We’re working some good leads in the area. At the precinct, we have a burglary reduction program. We also have burglary crimes detectives from the Property Crimes Bureau; they’re located here in the precinct.”

Smith said in most of the home burglaries a golf ball was thrown through a window in the back of a house to break in. The thieves came through the rear gate of homes to access a window. Smith recommends people put a padlock on the back gates to their houses if they have gates.

The burglars have stolen jewelry, small electronics and golf clubs, things they can sell at pawn shops, she said.

Phoenix Police and the East Sunnyslope Neighborhood Association & Block Watch held a public meeting Jan. 28 to discuss the rash of burglaries.

Wayne Schutsky, who lives with his family in a house near 12th Street and Butler Drive, said one night in December he came home to find someone had broken into their home and stolen a laptop computer, speaker, electronics and a safe that had cash and documents in it. Someone had broken into a window in the back of the home. It happened sometime between when he left the house at 8:30 on a weekday morning and when he arrived home shortly before 6 p.m.

“They just scouted it out and knew we’d be gone,” Schutsky said. “You get that feeling of violation. It’s a crime of opportunity.”

He has since had an alarm system installed and the window replaced. Schutsky said his next-door neighbors did not see or hear anything suspicious the day of the break-in.

Jeff Tisot, president of the East Sunnyslope Neighborhood Association & Block Watch, said that organization is aware of the unusually high number of burglaries in the area.

“We’re all over it and we’ve been all over it,” Tisot said. “We don’t know the reason why. We work with the police a lot. I talk to them frequently and let them know anything.”

He said neighbors need to team up to try to prevent burglaries.

“Act as a community,” Tisot said. “Get to know your neighbors. It’s not up to the police to take care of us. It’s up to us working in partnership with them. And if you see something you’ve got to call it in.”

Smith agreed, encouraging residents to contact Crime Stop to report burglaries and other issues after the fact at 602-262-6151. For emergencies, call 9-1-1. Victims also may file police reports at phoenix.gov/police/policereport.

Gates will be installed in Sunnyslope alleys through a pilot program, which also will hopefully deter burglaries, Tisot said.

Smith said security systems also are a good way to prevent home burglaries, as well as putting motion lights outside your home.

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