Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Police warn community after string of break-ins

By Kate Jacobson (Last updated: 01/31/10 9:15pm)
A string of home invasions has put Meridian Township on the lookout for suspects.
Meridian Township police Sgt. Lana Howell said more than 20 home invasions have occurred in the past four months and each were done in a similar fashion. She said apartments in the area have been robbed after the suspects climb the balcony and enter through the sliding glass doors.
There are no suspects in connection with the break-ins.
Howell said home invasions are not a common crime in the area. The high volume of home invasions occurring in a similar fashion seems suspicious.
“It’s out of the ordinary that we are having this many in the area at one particular time,” she said.
The break-in suspects filled containers full of electronic equipment and exited through the front door, giving the appearance of someone moving out of the home. A vehicle would be waiting in the parking lot, where the suspects would load the electronics, Howell said.
One of the best ways to make sure items are secure in homes is to be familiar with the area and people around you, she said.
“We would ask (that) residents get to know their neighbors, so if someone does walk out of someone’s apartment with electronic equipment, they would know whether or not that is their neighbor,” she said.
East Lansing police Capt. Kim Johnson said although home invasion is not a big problem in East Lansing, it easily can be prevented by neighborhood watch.
“(The police) try to do our share, but we need help from the community too, because they know their neighborhoods better than we do,” Johnson said.
Simple things such as keeping an outdoor light on, locking all windows and doors and knowing your neighbors can protect your property when you are away, Johnson said.
Interdisciplinary studies in social science senior Eric Hughes said he always locks up whenever he leaves his apartment.
“The management sent a letter out in October that said apartments had been getting broken into,” he said. “I always keep my door locked.”
MSU police Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor said people can initiate neighborhood watch- type systems even in residence halls.
“People can do that on their floor, and they should be looking out for one another,” she said.
Comparative cultures and politics sophomore Laura Klinger said she feels safe in Case Hall, where she lives. However, every time she hears about break-ins, it makes her more conscious.
“East Lansing seems so safe,” she said. “It’s crazy and jarring when that happens because I feel like it’s not a possibility most of the time.”
_Staff writer Ellen Mitchell contributed to this report. _