Police: Dramatic drop in residential burglaries in East Falls, Southwest Germantown and Allegheny West

Police announced last week that residential burglaries have decreased significantly in sections of the 39th Police District.

At the monthly community meeting for Police Service Area One, which includes East Falls, Allegheny West and Southwest Germantown, Lt. Edward Bier of the 39th Police District said that residential burglaries have decreased from 35 in September to only seven in October.

“That’s a huge decrease,” said Bier, and noted that as of Oct. 24 only two commercial burglaries had taken place within the boundaries of PSA-1.

Asked whether the reduction in burglaries was a result of an arrest, Bier responded that no direct arrests were made in regard to burglaries. Observing that each burglary scene is processed for physical evidence, he offered a possible explanation, saying, “Hopefully, people are making themselves harder targets.”

While no burglary arrests were made by 39th District Police in PSA-1 in October, Bier noted that 24 narcotics arrests took place, possibly due to the reintroduction of the district’s Narcotics Enforcement “NETS” Team, the return of which 39th District Commanding Officer Captain Verdell Johnson signaled at a community meeting earlier in the week.

Along with four apprehensions for disorderly conduct and three arrests for prostitution, all the arrests references occurred in Southwest Germantown, according to Bier.

Auto thefts continue 

Other downward trends were observed in the arena of violent crime: No homicides or rapes were reported, with one robbery at gunpoint and three aggravated assaults at gunpoint taking place. Five additional robberies and five other aggravated assaults occurred as well.

Still nagging are thefts from vehicles, with 24 on record at the time of last week’s meeting. It’s a difficult trend for police to mitigate, with thieves being sufficiently motivated to hazard hurricanes in their pursuits. As reported by NewsWorks on Tuesday of this week, vehicles on Midvale Ave and Walnut Lane were broken into at the height of Hurricane Sandy.

Given current crime indices with just under four property and/or violent crimes per day, October is on track to have 112 part one crimes, a decrease from September’s total of 124.

Taking advantage of social media 

Rounding out the statistics were crime stories, including one that social media may play a part in solving.

On Wednesday, Oct. 24, at approximately 9 p.m., an elderly male was jumped by three teenagers in the vicinity of 5200 Wayne Ave. The man sustained minor injuries, but as he suffered from poor eyesight, he was unable to identify his assailants.

No arrests were made at that time; however, eyewitness reports indicate that the perpetrators were seen videotaping the attack, triggering gasps at the meeting and inspiring one community member in attendance to mutter in regard to the offenders, “They’re so stupid.”

Bier predicted that video evidence might be the clue that police need to crack the case. 

“I’m sure you’ll see that up on Facebook somewhere,” he said. “Let them do it, and that’s a way that we can apprehend them.”

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