LAKEVIEW — There were fewer burglaries in Lakeview last year than in 2012, but one part of the neighborhood is seeing a spike already this year, with nearly five times more incidents than the same time last year, police said.
Beat 1924 — an area bordered by Addison, Belmont, Southport and Halsted — saw 14 burglaries between Jan. 1 and Feb. 5, up from three last year.
Only one of last year's early winter burglaries involved a forced entry into a home. All but three of this year's were the result of a forced entry.
Chicago police Sgt. Jason Clark said at a meeting this week that most of the burglaries happened when the victims were out of town. Police suspect that unshoveled sidewalks might have tipped off burglars to some of the empty homes, he said.
"If it snowed and nobody shoveled, that's a good sign that nobody's home," he said.
Plus, with winter moisture from snow, door frames are more likely to get stuck or not close all the way, he said, making it easier for burglars to enter a home. He said thieves also broke in homes through windows.
"Burglaries are what we’re concentrating on," Clark said.
The spike so far this year is in stark contrast to last year, when all of Lakeview saw a big decrease in burglaries, according to police statistics. In the 44th Ward alone, burglary incidents were down 45 percent in 2013 from 2012, from 465 incidents to 255 — a decline police credited to education efforts such as reminding people to lock doors.
But this year so far has been rougher for burglaries. Many of the crimes happened in just the last week.
Other areas of Lakeview also saw increase in burglaries, though the entire neighborhood did not see the same jumps that Beat 1924 did.
Beat 1925, bordered by Irving Park, Belmont, Halsted and the lake, doubled in burglaries, going from three last year to six this year. Beat 1923, bound by Irving Park, Addison, Southport and Halsted, went up one, from five burglaries last year to six this year.
Police recommended that residents help vacationing neighbors out by walking in their neighbor's yard after a snow to create the illusion that somebody's home. Child safety devices for windows can also act as an extra security measure, Clark said.
Beat 1924, which encompasses much of Wrigleyville, was known as the beat with the most robberies in the entire city over the summer, prompting residents to demand more police in the area.
The area also had a spike in robberies last January with 19 incidents, but last month, police recorded just five robberies, according to Clark.