Residential burglaries are on the rise in 7th Police District

Phil­adelphia po­lice on Monday is­sued a pub­lic warn­ing via the ReadyNo­ti­fyPA sys­tem about a re­cent spike in the num­ber of res­id­en­tial burg­lar­ies oc­cur­ring in the 7th dis­trict.

Capt. Joseph Zaffino, com­mand­er of the dis­trict, re­por­ted that the ma­jor­ity of home break-ins in­volved in­stances in which the burg­lars gained ac­cess via un­locked doors or win­dows.

“We’ve had prob­ably our worst month in sev­er­al years,” said Zaffino, who did not provide spe­cif­ic stat­ist­ics without ap­prov­al from po­lice ad­min­is­tra­tion. “Sev­enty-five or eighty per­cent [of cases] have been un­locked doors and win­dows.”

In the ReadyNo­ti­fyPA warn­ing is­sued at 10:30 a.m., Zaffino stated that burg­lar­ies had in­creased par­tic­u­larly in the pri­or week throughout the 7th dis­trict. The dis­trict’s bound­ar­ies are Rhawn Street to the south, Roosevelt Boulevard to the east, Poquess­ing Creek to the north and Mont­gomery County to the west.

In ad­di­tion to ur­ging res­id­ents to close and lock first-floor doors and win­dows, Zaffino warned them to store car keys in a safe place be­cause, in many cases, burg­lars have taken vic­tims’ keys and cars.

The crimes seem to be oc­cur­ring dur­ing day­time work­ing hours as well as dur­ing overnight hours. The dis­trict has re­ceived no re­ports of phys­ic­al con­front­a­tions between burg­lars and res­id­ents, al­though in some cases crooks have broken in­to oc­cu­pied homes and fled when dis­covered.

Po­lice have made three re­cent ar­rests that seem to have re­duced burg­lary in­stances in a couple of isol­ated areas with­in the dis­trict, but res­id­ents must re­main vi­gil­ant.

Zaffino sus­pects that the sum­mer heat may be a reas­on that many res­id­ents are leav­ing doors and win­dows open. Al­though health should al­ways be the first con­cern dur­ing a heat wave, he said, res­id­ents should try to keep first-floor win­dows and doors locked, even if the second floor win­dows re­main open.

Res­id­ents should also con­sider in­stalling se­cur­ity devices such as win­dow stop­pers that pre­vent win­dows from open­ing bey­ond a few inches. Homeown­ers should also trim bushes to re­duce the po­ten­tial hid­ing spots for a burg­lar. Oth­er se­cur­ity op­tions in­clude out­door light­ing, burg­lar alarms and video cam­er­as.

Res­id­ents who en­counter a burg­lar should not con­front the crook. They should call 911 im­me­di­ately and provide a good de­scrip­tion of the sus­pect. Res­id­ents should also mon­it­or their neigh­bor­hoods for sus­pi­cious strangers or activ­ity and re­port it to 911. ••

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