A RECENT SPATE of break-ins and burglaries has some residents wondering if such crimes are on the rise in the two rivers.
One woman was recently arrested in connection with a string of car break-ins that occurred in three local towns. And ta Rumson man was charged with entering a home in Fair Haven in broad daylight, where he was discovered by the resident.
And just about a year ago, the home of rocker Jon Bon Jovi was burglarized.
Little Silver Police Chief Daniel Shaffery said his community had seen a total of three structure burglaries for all of 2011. So far this year, however, 2012 Little Silver has had six, with most of those occurring in March.
“I know there’s been burglaries in other towns. They’re seeing what I’m seeing,” Shaffery said.
That appears to be the case for neighboring Rumson.
“It’s a very noticeable spike,” observed Rumson Police Chief Richard Tobias.
Rumson has experienced an increase in home burglaries. “We have been seeing a lot more. Even daytime burglaries,” he said. There has also been a rise in car break-ins and actual car thefts.
In Shrewsbury, Fair Haven and Red Bank, home burglaries are no more frequent than in the past, officials say.
But ten vehicles in Shrewsbury were broken into and contents stolen, according to Det. Sgt, Robert Turner.
Red Bank Capt. Darren McConnell said the borough experiences about 40 burglaries a year and that number has remained pretty constant over the years.
The bulk of the break-ins in Rumson, have been vehicles and stolen cars, with most of the vehicles left unlocked, said Mayor John Ekdahl.
Usually the culprits are looking for whatever they can grab: GPS units, money or valuables, like computers and cell phones, Ekdahl said. Most such burglaries are done by locals, he said.
As for vehicle thefts, a surprising number of them happened because the owners left the keys in the cars. The thieves seemed to be targeting high-end imports, particularly Range Rovers. The perpetrators are often professionals who operate statewide,Ekdahl said police have told him.
“The thing about burglaries,” McConnell observed, “a lot of the times, when we do see a spike, it’s where we have one person committing serial burglary.”
For these relatively small communities and rather small number of incidents, “a one-man crime wave” with break-ins, over a short period could skew the statistics, he said.
According to Fair Haven’s Shaffery, residential burglars generally seem to be looking for jewelry.
That was Rumson’s Tobias’ take on it as well, with Tobias adding the thieves steal prescription drugs if available.
“The price of gold is at an all time high,” Shaffery said. “And those ‘we buy gold’ shops are popping up everywhere.”
Why an increase in this type of crime? “It’s really hard to speculate why,” Shaffery answered.
“Honestly, I think, and I hate saying this, but I just think it’s a sign of the times,” said Det. Sgt. Jessie Dykstra of the Fair Haven department. “People that normally wouldn’t be criminals and doing this stuff, it’s turning them to it.”
“The economy has a lot to do with it,” Tobias said. “The other factor is drugs. A lot of it is feeding those types of habits.”
Rumson police and officials have taken steps to educate the public and be proactive. Tobias said the town has suspended issuing home alarm summons, to encourage residents to keep them activated. Officials have issued reverse 9-1-1 messages and offered burglary prevention tips in the borough newsletter, Ekdahl said.
“Call if you see anything suspicious, immediately,” Tobias recommended. “Don’t wait until the next day. Just call.”
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