Police are urging the public to remain vigilant as a rash of apartment burglaries in University Heights and Kingsbridge Heights seem to be the crime of the summer.
As the heat has risen, so have the burglary statistics in the area where the 50th Precinct and the 52nd Precinct border one another. The precincts are taking a proactive approach in reviewing videotape that has many of the perpetrators on camera, said borough commander and assistant chief Carlos Gomez.
The area surrounding Sedgwick Avenue has seen a substantial increase in apartment burglaries, said Deputy Inspector Joseph Dowling, commanding officer of the 52nd Precinct, and Captain Kevin Burke, the commanding officer of the 50th Precinct.
“We are doing some really good things, but we could use the help of the communities involved,” Dowling said. “When the public assists us in making apprehensions, it makes the lives of people living in those communities a whole lot better.”
The burglars, who appear to be working independently of one another, are targeting apartments by climbing on fire escapes and knocking in a window air conditioner or entering through unnlocked windows, Burke said.
“Their M.O. is to go into apartments and remove small things that they can keep on their person, like rings, jewelry, small electronic games, and cash,” Burke stated.
The 50th Precinct is experiencing a 45 percent jump in burglary over this time last year, according to crime stats. Burglaries have risen approximately 17 percent in the 52nd Precinct over this time last year, according to the statistics available as of press time.
“They are probably repeat offenders, people we would classify as burglary recidivists who have been arrested for the crime before,” Burke said. “We have made some good arrests, but convictions are often difficult unless there is good video or prints.”
The public has aided greatly in the arrests, as sometimes the burglars found to their surprise that someone was home, and then were apprehended by police after descriptions were given, Burke said.
Both Dowling and Burke have seen an increase in arrests for burglary, but are urging the public to secure their windows.
Specifically, the 50th Precinct is asking for help in apprehending two burglars caught on camera. The first stole $1,500 from Van Cortlandt Park Golf Course pro shop by climbing through a window at approximately 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 2.
Another is seen on camera entering and exiting the lobby of 3489 Fort Independence Street on Friday, June 10. That crook stole laptop computers and jewelry, carring the items in a tote bag.
Anyone with information about either crime should call the 50th Precinct detective squad at (718) 543-6121.