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Thieving hands raise city’s burglary rates

POSTED January 5, 2010 11:49 p.m.
It will come as no surprise to the thousands of victims to learn that burglaries are on the rise in Turlock.
The number of commercial and residential burglaries reported through October 2009 to the Turlock Police Department grew by 31 percent compared to the same time frame in 2008.
The Turlock Police Department’s crime statistics show 669 reports of burglary through October 2009. In 2008, there were 509 burglaries reported through October and 652 for all of 2008, when the department had a 21 percent decrease in burglaries.
The uptick in burglaries is the lone dark spot for the Turlock Police Department, which, according to the crime statistics, has seen a decrease in all other types of crime through October 2009.
“Property crime continues to haunt us as a community,” Police Chief Gary Hampton said.
A look at the police log for the month of December indicates there were more than 280 calls related to property crimes with 81 of those for burglaries. The police log records calls for service, which are not always going to generate an actual crime report.
A number of variables can cause an increase in burglaries including high unemployment and a population with a higher than average number of people supporting drug habits.
The thieves are striking in all areas of town and most of the burglaries occur during daylight hours when people are away from their homes. Jewelry, small electronics, video games, sporting goods, and other small items have primarily been the targets of the thefts.
“Burglary is a crime of opportunity,” said Turlock Police spokesman Sgt. Nino Amirfar. “Thieves steal stuff they can sell quickly for whatever dollar amount they can get.”
One tactic the police department is using to lessen the number of burglaries is to clamp down on the venues where stolen property can be bought and sold, which includes flea markets, Internet sites like Craigslist, and businesses who deal in secondhand goods.
To help curb the flux of stolen property making its way onto the market, the police department is forging a partnership with local businesses who buy and/or sell secondhand goods. They met with several jewelers Monday night at a public meeting to discuss the licensing requirements for secondhand retailers that are mandated by the Department of Justice.
“We want to extinguish the fires out there among the criminals that see this as an outlet for stolen property,” Hampton told the business owners.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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