April 3, 2013
Police Report Burglary Rates More than Doubled in Harford County, Maryland
Harford County, straddling Route 95 on the southern bank of the Susquehanna River, has traditionally been a pretty safe place to live. Situated strategically at the head of the Chesapeake Bay, the County also boasts the waterfront city of Havre de Grace, once considered - along with Washington, DC - as a possible site for our nation’s capital. But lately Harford County has been in the news for another reason: a rash of burglaries, in which several neighborhoods are experiencing home intrusion statistics at double the rate of last year, as reported in this article.
Burglaries have risen sharply in Harford County this year, according to local police, most likely driven by the weak economy and drug habits - but the lack of a pattern to the crimes is baffling investigators. In the northern end of the county, the burglary rate from January through August is up 116 percent compared to last year, according to Monica Worrell, spokesperson for the Harford County Sheriff's Office.
As Bad as It Sounds
In 2011, through Aug. 10, a total of 67 burglaries had been reported in the area covered by the Sheriff's Office's Northern Precinct Station. In the same period this year, 145 burglaries were reported. There has been a 23 percent increase from January through August for the southern end of the county as well, she added. In 2011, through Aug. 10, a total of 193 burglaries were reported in the area covered by the Sheriff's Office's Southern Precinct Station. This year, 239 have been reported.
Wow – that’s a huge increase from one year to the next: but not unlike some spikes we’ve seen reported in other jurisdictions. Some blame the economy, others blame greater use of drugs, and the need to feed drug habits… Whatever the reasons, residential crime is definitely up in plenty of cities, towns, and counties across the US.
Police Struggling to Identify a Pattern
Unlike the string of burglaries in Fallston a few months ago, Worrell said, many of the latest crimes show no commonalities or trends. They range from residential to shed break-ins and are sometimes by someone the family knows or other times by strangers. In several cases, however, Worrell explained, things of value have been left unsecured or were not put in a place where they are safe. "That's the challenge," she said Thursday. "There's no commonality geographically, in the time of day, in the mode of entry, in what is being taken. We can't identify patterns."
Law Enforcement Safety Tips
The Harford County Sheriff's Office is encouraging people to be aware, to report suspicious people or vehicles in their neighborhoods and to use technology – smart phones and digital cameras – to take pictures of suspicious vehicles, she added. "Lock you doors, lock your car, compile serial numbers because if something is taken, you have a much better chance of retrieving it if you have identifying information," she said. Investigators believe the economy is a factor in the burglaries, as well as people with drug habits needing to steal to get drugs, according to Worrell. "They [the burglars] are looking for anything pawnable that can quickly be turned into cash," she said.
It still amazes me how many burglars gain entry into homes through unlocked doors and windows. In fact, we know exactly where burglars are mostly likely to break in. But then again, I’m also still trying to figure out why only one in five US homes has a monitored alarm system, with a burglary occurring every 14 seconds!
Alarm Systems Make a Difference
Law enforcement professionals also regularly remind residents to arm their alarms systems – and lots of police departments suggest getting a system if you haven’t already done so. Since the latest home security offerings (like FrontPoint) include safer cellular monitoring, advanced interactive features, and even home automation, there is more reason than ever to make the modest investment now.
As always, it makes sense to do everything you can so your home is not a target. You’ll see that FrontPoint’s Top Ten Home Security Tips overlap nicely with the recommendations offered by police across the US – including installing a monitored alarm system. Your peace of mind is worth a lot, and there’s nothing more important than protecting your home and family. And that’s where FrontPoint comes in: the leader in wireless home security, and the #1 ranked home alarm company in the US. When you are ready for safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat, FrontPoint is your clear choice – just read the reviews, and you’ll see why.