Monday, August 31, 2009

Metro home invasions on rise this year

Police say thieves look to sell items in hard times

Home invasions in parts of metro Detroit increased 8% to 100% during the first part of this year, compared with the same time frame in 2008, area police departments report.
Places such as Harrison and Bruce townships, Canton and Dearborn have seen increases in burglaries, and Rochester Hills has seen an uptick in break-ins while people are at home.
Police say everything from televisions and cash to beer, food and other property is being stolen, things likely to be pawned for drug money or just extra cash for thieves who probably are hurt by the hard economic times.
"Any time the economy takes a bad downward spiral, property crimes increase," said Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad.
In response, some police agencies said they've increased patrols. Dearborn -- reporting an 18% increase in home invasions and other property crimes, such as garage break-ins, since 2008 -- is on the lookout now for a man who posed as a Comcast employee to break into a home.
Compared with the first half of 2008, Harrison Township went from 37 break-ins to 48; Canton from 172 to 187, and Bruce Township from five to 10, according to police.
Rochester Hills has had 123 home invasions and burglaries so far this year. That's comparable to last year's numbers, but those increased 25% from 2007, said Capt. Mike Johnson of the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.
"Our residents don't have to live in fear," said Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett, but he added that people should remember to lock windows and doors.
Macomb Township saw a decrease in home invasions during the first half of this year, but thieves ransacked a home in the township Wednesday. Authorities attribute the downward trend to neighborhood watch groups.
Kelly Hare, who lives on the same street as the burglarized home, said she is concerned about the possibility of a break-in or home invasion. More than a year ago, someone ripped up her fence and broke into her shed.
"It's always something we worry about," she said.
Contact GINA DAMRON: 586-826-7269 or