Burglaries on the rise in affluent Bucks community

January 24, 2011 3:12:46 PM PST
Police want residents of one Bucks County township to be on the lookout for shady activity, because the number of break-ins and burglaries has doubled.

"I call it the 'Oz Factor,' when people think they live in Oz and nothing is going to happen to them," said Sgt. J.R. Landis of the Buckingham Police Department. "The people who are committing these crimes are using that attitude against them."

Landis is talking about why his tiny, affluent town seems to have become the target of choice for burglars.

Landis says Buckingham has developed a reputation among thieves as a town where rich people often leave their homes and vehicles unlocked due to a false sense of security.

On top of that, many of these homes are unoccupied during the day because of all the working couples who live there.

Neighbors we spoke to said that was a pretty accurate assessment.

"We probably don't take as much care as we should about locking doors, that sort of thing," said Christopher Kennedy.

"It's a false sense of security around here. Neighbors are always leaving garages open," said Kevin Losorelli.

The crime stats really tell the story -

  • In 2009, there were 64 reported burglaries in Buckingham, Plumstead, and Doylestown.
  • In 2010, that number nearly doubled to 111.
  • Just three weeks into the new year Buckingham alone has already registered 8 burglaries.
What has investigators here most concerned is how many neighbors have witnessed burglaries without calling police right away.

"Sometimes they don't call for a day or two, until they discuss it with a neighbor, who says someone down the street gets burglarized. Then they tell us about it," said Sgt. Landis.

Local authorities say, from the few arrests they have made, this mostly seems like the handiwork of drug addicts looking for easy targets. Police are urging anyone who sees anything suspicious to call 911 immediately.