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Burglary Rates in Sayville, Bayport On The Rise

Precinct commander offers advice on how residents can help thwart house break-ins.

The number of home burglaries in Sayville and Bayport between January and mid August of this year has more than doubled when compared to the same time period in 2011, and local police are boosting enforcement in response to the increased activity.

“Burglaries, throughout the precinct as a whole, have increased and we’re adjusting our staffing to put more detectives and street-level resources on to deal with the increase,” Fifth Precinct Inspector Aristides Mojica told Patch in an interview Thursday.

On Wednesday police arrested three teens in Medford for a slew of burglaries in the Holtsville and Sayville areas.

“We are using units from our gang teams to help out to monitor what’s happening,” Mojica said.

Between January 2011 and August 2011 there were 10 burglaries in Sayville. This year, in the same timeframe, there have been 22, according to Suffolk Police statistics obtained by Patch.

All are second-degree incidents, which means no one was home during the crime. First-degree burglaries are those in which a person is at home and is threatened or injured during the burglary.

In Bayport there have been eight second-degree burglaries between January and August of this year, compared to three last year in the same timeframe. Bayport had one first-degree burglary last year and none so far this year.

In West Sayville there were four burglaries in the first eight months of 2011, and three in the same timeframe this year.

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In many cases Mojica said burglars target homes that are easy to break into and get out of quickly, mostly during the daytime when homes are typically empty given people are at work and school.

Burglars will opt for a home with windows open and lots of dense tall foliage around doors and windows, he explained, as it makes it easier to go undetected when breaking in.

“What homeowners and residents need to do is what police call ‘target hardening,’” said Mojica, who has served as precinct commander since 2008.

That basically means shoring up security measures such as motion light detectors, locking windows and doors even if a resident is leaving their home for only 15 minutes.

“It’s also good to go the next step in securing the home, such as adding a deadbolt to a door,” Mojica said, adding that security cams are also becoming a much more viable option as they are now less expensive.

“Cut down the tall bushes near windows. We all love our landscaping but those tall bushes are perfect for burglars as it shields them and lets them break in easier,” he said. “Take all the precautions you can and go the extra step if you can afford it."

The harder it is to break in the more likely the burglar will opt for another house where there are open windows and back doors.

“They [the burglars] want to get in and out quick,” said Mojica.

Along that vein, residents are advised to secure valuables in the home. That means not leaving expensive jewels on dressers, or electronics such as iPads and laptops on a table or countertop.

“Burglars want to get in and spend about 30 seconds to grab stuff, so if they can’t find it quick they’ll leave as the longer they’re in the home the higher the risk of getting caught,” he explained.

Residents who want to be proactive in stopping neighborhood crimes may also want to consider forming a neighborhood watch group, which Mojica believes can go a long way toward a safer community.

“We can help residents interested in forming one and what’s valuable about a watch is that everyone’s keeping an eye out for anyone suspicious or anything suspicious,” he explained.

The precinct also holds a community forum every month where residents can learn about crime incidents, trends and insight from various police units about law enforcement efforts.

“It’s open to everyone and I encourage residents to attend,” said Mojica.

The next forum will be held October 10 at 7 p.m. at the precinct on Waverly Avenue in Patchogue.

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