Police: Slight rise in residential burglaries; auto thefts maintain high rate in 39th District

With a rise in residential burglaries, officials from the Philadelphia Police Department’s 39th District are projecting that November will keep pace with previous months for criminal activity.

By the time of last week’s Police Service Area One meeting, 50 violent or major property times had already taken place, averaging 4.1 crimes per day, just slightly above October’s 3.9 per day average.

Should trends continue, it could result in at least 124 part one crimes this month in East Falls, Southwest Germantown, and Allegheny West noted Lt. Edward Bier, the 39th District supervisor responsible for PSA-1.

The stat that stood out is a jump in residential burglaries: With ten already on the books, it could soon surpass October’s 14 and emulate September, when over 30 residential burglaries were reported.

“Why would it decrease that month, and then go back?” Bier asked aloud. “It’s all over the place.”

Set to resemble prior month’s figures are thefts from autos, with 15 recorded approximately midway through November, closing in on 37 from October.

“It’s keeping pace – too high a pace – with what we had in October,” said Bier, who said that more than half of the reported thefts from autos occurred in the vicinity of School House Lane near Philadelphia University.

“If they see stuff in that car, they’re going to go for it, even if it’s just a bag,” he said. “You have to make yourself a hard target and not put anything in sight.”

And despite the fact that several of the thefts from autos occurred overnight, Bier related that 30 of the 50 reported part-one crimes occurred during the day.

“It’s important that people who are home, if they see anything suspicious, to call 911,” he said. “People need to look out for each other in their neighborhood.”

Accessible crime curbing tools 

With a slight but steady rise in crime in PSA-1 over the past two years – both 2010 and 2011 averaged approximately three crimes per day; 2012 is on track to average four – Bier indicated that there are tools both for the public and for the police to use.

For the public, there are four programs that the department is offering.

The first is OPERATION I.D., a property identification program. BOND – Business Owner Identification Decal – is a program that registers business owners with the PPD in the event of an emergency. SAVE – Stolen Auto Verification Effort – permits police to stop their vehicle between midnight and 6 a.m. VIN etching is another offering from the PPD designed to curb auto theft.

All are available by contacting the 39th Police District at 215-686-3390.

For the police, they are diligently tracking local residents who were arrested for illegal gun possession and shooting victims with prior arrest records. In PSA-1, there have been approximately 12 such gun arrests, and over 20 shooting victims, 90-percent of whom Bier says were previously involved in criminal activity.

“They’re not just innocent bystanders,” said Bier, who observed that police are actively trying to protect residents from being injured by those engaging in deliberate acts of gunplay.

“We’re going keep up pressure on those individuals,” he said.

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