By joe gorman
The police department plans to shift more of its investigative resources to burglaries and other property crimes.
Chief Rod Foley said a decrease in violent crime, especially homicides this year, allows him to shift the focus of some of his detectives to investigate burglaries because of a recent surge in those types of crimes.
Foley said the department saw a 23 percent spike in burglaries in August of this year compared with August 2012, which he said worries him because it could mean there are groups or gangs or organized thieves committing the crimes.
He said investigators believe the same groups may be committing the burglaries because of the similarity in the methods being used.
“We’re trying to give our property detectives more resources to help them out,” Foley said.
Foley said he will be meeting weekly with investigators to help map out a strategy to not only combat property crime, but catch the people responsible.
Burglaries traditionally are a hard crime to solve because they often occur when no one is around and the evidence often is taken. Foley said FBI statistics show a solvability rate of between 12 percent and 13 percent for most burglaries.
However, Foley said statistics also show that if bodily fluids are left at the scene and collected, such as blood, then the rate for solving them jumps up 70 percent, so a new emphasis will be put on collecting DNA or other types of evidence at burglary scenes.
Foley said two areas on the South Side and one on the East Side have been experiencing an increase in burglaries. Investigators think juveniles may be responsible for them because of the items that are being taken, Foley said.
School hours are especially vulnerable because most people are working during that time and are not around to see someone suspicious in their neighborhood, Foley said.
As of the end of August, the department has answered 685 burglary calls in 2013, according to statistics provided by the department, with the most being August, when they answered 113. Last August, the department had 87 reported burglaries.
In 2012, the department took 1,042 burglary reports.
The low month for burglaries this year is March, which saw 55 burglaries.
Foley said burglary calls are a priority especially for officers on the road because it is the type of crime that often affects people the most. He said he wants to take advantage of the department’s ability to quickly store and analyze dates, times and locations of burglary calls so he can assign officers to those areas instead of just randomly throwing them out on the road.
“That’s somebody’s castle,” Foley said. “If your house gets broken into, you feel violated.”