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Highland Park Sees Spike in Home Burglaries

A recent increase in residential burglaries in the past month has the Highland Park Police working with other North Shore departments to find who's responsible. Here's what you can do to make your home less of a target.

There has been a recent spike in home burglaries along the North Shore, according to the Highland Park Police Department.

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Highland Park has seen five burglaries in the past four weeks, according to Depity Police Chief Dave Schwarz, who called the increase "concerning." There's a chance the burglaries are being committed by the same people.

"When you start seeing clusters it indicates it might be one crew," Schwarz said.

All of the burglaries have begun with break-ins to the backs of people's houses, Schwarz said. The times that they have taken place, however, have been scattered. Two occurred after dark, but one occurred between 8 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.

"Several area departments working together to see if we can come up with likenesses and leads," Schwarz said.

Calling burglaries a crime of opportunity, Schwarz encourages residents to make their homes more difficult to enter to reduce the risk of being targeted. Use deadbolt locks on doors, which should be solid oak or wood. Light up dark areas around doors and windows. Leave lights on when on trips. Use a wooden rod to keep sliding doors locked.

You can also put up a "Beware of Dog" sign, even if you don't have an intimidating dog.

"The last thing anyone wants to confront is a dog," Schwarz said.

The police rely on residents to let them know if they see anything suspicious, Schwarz explained. Residents are encouraged to call the police if they see an unfamiliar car stopped in front of a house for a long period of time, or if it is slowly driving around. 

The most helpful information you can provide is the license plate number.

"The license plate info is often the one thing people forget to get," Schwarz said. "That's certainly a big lead for us."

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Fedup February 12, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Deputy Chief Schwartz offers good suggestions, but single lights left on during vacation absences are known as "burglar beacons," an virtually confirm an empty house to thieves. Best to use multiple lights on a timing system (like X10), and make sure the timing system is set correctly to the desired times. Don't cancel newspaper while away -- have a trusted neighbor pick it up. Crew in L.A. got hold of a list of newspaper delivery holds and set up target lists with it: http://abcnews.go.com/US/men-accused-stealing-homes-la-newspaper-vacation-list/story?id=18362554 And here's something the HP Police Dept. might consider: increase your visibility. Squad cars should not be idle. Thorough roll-throughs of the entire city should be done over and over. Heck, you might even catch a driver on a cell phone. I think the percentage of distracted drivers in HP has gone up since cell phone use was outlawed. I see about 1/3 of all drivers in HP on cells, rolling through stop signs.
Benny G. February 12, 2013 at 03:02 PM
Awesome Fedup, sounds like you watched Home Alone too!
Fedup February 12, 2013 at 04:07 PM
Basic stuff, but we all need to be reminded. A couple of years ago, I had neighbors who had an expensive light timing system installed. They left on vacation. Problem was, they hadn't double-checked the settings. Their house was dead and unlighted from morning to late evening, but came to life in the middle of the night. Neighbors thought it was both funny and annoying.
Meshephelous February 12, 2013 at 05:53 PM
Maybe if the cops didn't have to dedicate 3 squad cars for each speeder they pull over on 41, they'd be more able to patrol the residential areas.
Molly February 12, 2013 at 09:59 PM
At traffic court recently (I was the driver, not the one at court) I witnessed the judge dismissing a cell phone usage ticket for HP. Now this guy had two or three other tickets to worry about but she did it without a moments thought. How often do our police write a ticket only to have it thrown out?
Cathy Mac February 13, 2013 at 03:56 PM
Well I got stopped for talking on the cell while driving - and the officer gave me a warning ticket. It was enough incentive to keep me from using my phone while driving anymore - and i needed that!! All I can say is thanks for not making it a ticket!

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