One of the most desirable neighborhoods in New York City has experienced a serious increase in residential crime over this past spring. Park Slope, in western Brooklyn, is widely acclaimed for its architecture, restaurants, schools, and general quality of life: however, its score for safety is taking a hit, according to this recent article.
In the past four weeks there were 15 burglaries in Park Slope, creating a big uptick in this particular kind of crime, according to the 78th precinct’s Commanding Officer Captain Michael Ameri. During the 78 Precinct’s Community Council meeting on Tuesday night, Captain Ameri explained that in the past year, to date, burglaries went up 76 percent, but overall crime went down 2.3 percent.
This is a common theme across the US, where crime statistics often show that home intrusions are up while other types of crime are flat or even slightly reduced.
How Burglars Broke In
Ameri said most of these crimes were perpetrated by crooks that climb up fire escapes on the back of buildings and into apartments through unlocked windows. He also said that the burglars have been focusing on residential apartment buildings around 13th and 14th streets, between Prospect Park West and Fifth Avenue area and then around St. Marks Place and Bergen Street between Fourth and Flatbush avenues. “I know it’s nice weather and people want to leave their windows open, but you need to lock them,” Ameri said.
A Disturbing Trend
Park Slope Patch recently reported on a string of burglaries where each apartment was broken into through the back window, with four burglaries from March 7 to 15. And last week, between March 15 and March 22, there were three more. The first incident occurred when a crook climbed the fire escape of a building on Third Street and broke into an apartment through the back window while the 30-year-old victim was away for a long weekend The crook, who caused no damage when he climbed through the unlocked window, made off with a PC laptop, Apple headphones and $500 in assorted foreign currency for a total of $800.
The Same Burglar?
The next burglary occurred in the same building: a thief climbed up the same fire escape and through another Third Street apartment bedroom window and made off with an Apple MacBook Pro, a PS3 game console, a Toshiba Satellite Net Book, and other property for a total of $3,400. The third incident occurred on March 22 when another climbing crook broke into a St. Marks Place apartment through the back window and stole a laptop, a wallet and $100 in cash. The 34-year-old victim told police that she left her apartment for five minutes at around 1 p.m., but that was enough time for the thief to enter her apartment through the back window and rob the place.
Captain Ameri said that he has assigned additional officers to the day shift, for most burglaries occur during the day when people are at work. He said that the most important thing is to keep an eye out and if you see anything unusual to call 9-1-1. “The most important thing to do as a neighbor is to call us if you see someone on the fire escape, if you hear something unusual or even if your neighbor’s dog is barking for 30 minutes during the day,” Ameri said. Ameri explained that burglaries are extremely invasive crimes and he plans to curb the uptick within the month. “Hopefully in four weeks I’ll tell you that we have made a couple of arrests,” Ameri said.
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