Residents on alert after rash of burglaries

SOMERTON - August 4, 2011

It's all in response to a rash of home burglaries over the past month.

"The police came in and caught the robbers," said Sai Fung.

Sai Fung recalls the recent night when police nailed a gang of burglary suspects who'd forced their way into his home while he and his parents were out shopping one evening. Alert neighbors saw what was going on and called the police.

"When I arrived there were five cops, and the robbers had already been caught," explained Fung.

The break-in is part of a wild spike in summer burglaries in the lower end of police District 7, which includes Rhawnhurst, Somerton, Fox Chase and Bustleton.

The residential break-ins have averaged more than one a day in June and July.

In roughly 7 of 10 cases, the veteran police commander says, the victim's are being hit because they leave door or windows unlocked.

"People leaving their windows and doors unlocked there sliding glass patio door unlocked, with the false sense of security, people leave their screens down," said Captain Joe Zaffino.

Police have been doing reverse 911 calls throughout the 7th district, but still the dramatic increase in home break-ins is news to a lot of residents.

"We don't have an alarm system, so I'm glad they told us," said resident Chrissie Pender.

"Hopefully we don't get any at my house, that's for sure," says Agron Hajdari. "That's why we're keeping our fingers crossed."

A random ride through key neighborhoods showed many windows still open during the daytime hours when most people are out earning a living, but they may come home to heartbreak.

The police will continue to make arrests, but there is no real end to this kind of story.

Police are always in pursuit of burglars; that's their job, but they are asking that the people be more alert, and not make it so easy for the crooks.

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