Spike in burglaries for two Houston areas

May 22, 2009 4:45:20 PM PDT
Thieves have targeted two areas of Houston, leading to a dramatic spike in burglaries. Police officers gave Eyewitness News reporter Andy Cerota and our cameras an exclusive look at what they're doing to keep families safe. They call themselves the Burglary Apprehension Team. It is a multi-agency crime fighting initiative. Six officers and one police sergeant are taken out of the call for service loop to focus on burglaries and other types of theft crimes. When they catch these crooks, they oftentimes end up arresting the same ones over and over.

The crime statistics in this eastside community are staggering. Residential burglaries have more than doubled in the first few weeks of May from what they were this time last year.

"They knock at the door and if you're not there, they find some place they can enter," said Sgt. Robert Ruiz of the Houston Police Department.

So HPD put together a team of officers from several different law enforcement agencies to saturate the neighborhoods where clusters have been reported.

We rolled up on a scene, moments after police made two arrests. Burglary victim Leslie Lynn chased down the two juveniles who she said ransacked her home and stole her stuff after she saw them walking down her street.

"I grabbed my two bags from the little boy and we started pushing and pulling each other. He's like, 'You are stealing from me, you're stealing from me.' I said, 'No, you are stealing from me,'" said Lynn.

We put our exclusive Crimetracker to work in the eastside communities the thieves are targeting. Burglaries here are up 44%. So far in May, there have been twice as many compared to this time last year.

The Forest Oaks, Meadow Creek and Oak Meadows subdivisions have been hit especially hard. In one area, they went from one burglary this time last year to 12 burglaries so far this year.

"We want the citizens to know that this is happening and we're on top of it and we want them to lock their doors and take common sense precautions. We're going to catch these guys, it's just a matter of time," said HPD Capt. Bruce Williams.

Counting the two arrests, police so far have made 24 arrests. Lynn got most of her stuff back along with some things that were not hers after confronting the suspected burglar with one very important question.

"I was like, 'Why? Just tell me why you did this to me?' He said, 'Because I needed the (bleepin') money,'" said Lynn.

Police are also using this crime fighting initiative as a way to reach out to citizens and encourage them to report any suspicious activity in their neighborhoods. Burglaries are very difficult to solve unless police have witnesses and fingerprints.

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