49th: Lock your doors and windows

With the temperature repeatedly hitting the mid-90s lately, it is tempting to leave a window or door open at night to catch a cool breeze. But officers with the 49th Precinct would like you to think again.

Recently the 49th Precinct issued a warning to residents to make sure all windows and doors are secured and locked. The reason: burglary has been on the rise in the area.

According to Captain Tom Harnisch, two burglaries occurred north of Pelham Parkway North and east of Eastchester Road during the hot and humid week starting July 26, because residents left windows and doors open.

“It was a balmy, humid night and we suspect people left their windows and doors open to ventilate their houses,” he said. “Advisories are typically done to address what’s happening when we identify an underlying pattern to the crimes. This is just to remind people to close those windows and to make sure their doors are locked.”

The advisory also asks that residents call 911 to report any suspicious person or activity in the neighborhood.

Joe Thompson, president of the 49th Precinct Community Council, said the public must be increasingly vigilant.

According to the released crime statistics from the week of July 26 through August 1, 2010, rape shot up 366 percent (from three to thirteen) since August 2009, and murder has doubled (from four to eight).

While grand larceny and burglary are down 4.1 to .7 percent since 2009, grand larceny is up 7.2 percent, felony assault is up 11.5 percent and robbery is up 17.6 percent.

“People must be more vigilant and they need to start bringing information to the police if they know there’s a potentially dangerous situation. That’s the only way you can quell this kind of thing,” Thompson said. “People need to be a lot more open and cooperative with the police.”

Crime is up across the Bronx and the rest of the city, and police at the 49th Precinct have made a record number of arrests, Thompson said. However, a bad element continues to come to the Morris Park area.

“It’s some kind of a trend,” he said. “People are drifting into the precinct’s boundaries because they think it’s an easy mark. We’ve always been a low crime area.”

Over the past 17 years crime has had a 20 to 87 percent fall in all categories except for murder, which has risen 14.3 percent since 1993.

Thompson and police agree that the only way to keep the recent spike from becoming a long-term trend — one that reverses the historically low crime levels of recent years — is for the public to get engaged.

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