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Backcountry Burglaries Spike in One of America’s Richest Towns

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March 14, 2012
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Backcountry Burglaries Spike in One of America’s Richest Towns

Less than 40 minutes from New York’s Grand Central Station, Greenwich, Connecticut has long been known as a haven for hedge funds and high rollers. And it’s been pretty safe, too, but with residential crime on the rise across much of the US, Greenwich is seeing its fair share. Several recent intrusions triggered meetings between local police and community groups, such as the one described in this recent article.

Two Greenwich Police officers were peppered with questions about home security in the wake of four backcountry burglaries in recent months. "Do the burglars tend to be local or do they come from Bridgeport or New York City," an audience member asked at the Round Hill Association meeting Wednesday night. "Lately, we think they are out-of-towners, especially with the backcountry burglaries," Detective Thomas Kelly said.

Who Are Those Guys?

While police suspect the burglars are from outside town limits, they don't have any suspects. "We really don't have any leads on exactly who right now, but of course we are working on it every day," added Kelly, who was joined at the Round Hill Community House by Community Impact Officer Michael Rooney. "As far as the vehicle or the people responsible, right now it’s still up in the air. We're still looking hard.”

Abnormal Methods

Police see one common element to the break-ins. "People are now using ladders and the entry point is going to be on the second floor somewhere, whether it is a balcony or a window, the reason being people usually don't alarm those doors," Kelly said. The ladders are usually found on the property in unlocked garages and sheds, Kelly said. "They are not looking for confrontations; they are looking for items to steal," Kelly said. "They are looking for that quick fix."

That is definitely out of the norm – if the way in is not easy, then most burglars move on. Check these stats on where burglars break in.

Never Confront Intruders

When asked by residents if homeowners should confront criminals, Kelly urged them to avoid that. "Don't try to fight them, mixed martial arts or something," Kelly said to laughter from the audience. "They are going to win most of the time."

I agree 100% with this advice: there are too many homeowners who have been seriously injured (or worse) as a result of confronting a burglar in the home.

Brazen Burglar Behavior

Patty Aser, an association member, marvels at the "boldness" of criminals, such as in the November 2010 daylight smash-and-grab at Betteridge Jewelers on Greenwich Avenue a short distance from police headquarters and two police officers directing traffic on the Avenue. "The boldness is really what impresses one," she said after the meeting. "If they have enough nerve to go into Betteridge and there are policemen right on the [Greenwich] Avenue, it doesn't make one feel very comfortable in your home where you don't have police standing on the corner and people all around," she said.

Wow – that is bold. I know the store well: that is where I bought my wife’s’ wedding ring.

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