EAST WILLIAMSBURG — Burglaries have jumped more than 30 percent in East and South Williamsburg this year — driven by people breaking into businesses overnight and taking cash, according to local police.
There have been nearly 170 burglaries between the beginning of the year and July 5 in the 90th precinct, up 31 percent from the same period last year.
Many of the burglaries happened in May and June, with mostly commercial burglaries contributing to the rise, said Inspector Mark DiPaolo, commanding officer of the 90th Precinct.
The precinct covers South and East Williamsburg, with Metropolitan Avenue and Maspeth Avenue bordering it from the north and Flushing Avenue bordering it from the south.
Commercial corridors such as Graham Avenue suffered from people entering businesses from the roof overnight, while many business owners would simply show up in the morning to find that a gate or lock had been broken, DiPaolo said.
Residential burglaries, meanwhile, have been dipping, he added.
"It's been a trend for most of the year," DiPaolo said. "We'll make an arrest, it will calm down, and then some other form of it will take place."
Police have made several arrests, DiPaolo said. One person was responsible for at least three burglaries, and another was arrested for eight burglaries, he said.
But the crimes are not organized, and most of the people targeting businesses are individuals with a history of committing the crime, he said.
"A lot of times, they didn’t just do their first burglary, and it’s probably not their last one," DiPaolo said. "If they get back out, they gotta make money somehow."
To combat the increase, the 90th Precinct now sends a supervisor and a patrol car to a location if an alarm goes off to investigate the situation, DiPaolo said. Previously, only a patrol car would go.
Officers have also been handing out leaflets in commercial areas in hopes of educating business owners on how to prevent crime.
DiPaolo offered these tips for businesses aiming to prevent a burglary:
► Leave some lights on. Not only are thieves less likely to steal from a business with the lights on, lights also help give police clearer surveillance video — and help the arrest process. "The infrared distorts the face," DiPaolo said of nighttime cameras. "It’s harder to say, 'That’s him.'"
► Don't leave a ton of money in your register overnight — and bolt your safe to the ground. The more cash you leave, the more will get taken if someone breaks in. And if the safe's not bolted, it's easier for a thief to take it with them, DiPaolo said.
► Opt for covert surveillance cameras that look up, not down. Burglars easily avoid cameras that are on ceilings by pulling on a hoodie, thus hiding their face. But if a camera is placed further down and looks up, it's more likely to capture the burglar's face.
► Get your security plan examined by local police. The 90th Precinct offers security surveys, where officers come by and give tips on crime prevention for a business, such as what sort of gate or lock to use and the best places to put a camera. Call the Community Affiars office at 718-963-5309 to make an appointment.