"We love catching burglars!" exclaimed Officer Jim Fucito at Monday night's North Syosset Neighborhood Watch meeting at the Shelter Rock Church.
"But you know your neighborhood better than anyone else," added Commanding Officer and Deputy Inspector of the second precinct John Berry.
"You need to be our eyes and ears."
Over 100 North Syosset residents came together Monday night to find out what police are doing about the suspicious increase in break-ins. Officers, inspectors and detectives were questioned thoroughly by members, some of whom doubt the effects local officials have on decreasing crime.
"Yes we're enforcing parking laws, but we're also looking around for the burglar in your backyard when we're [doing so]," said Berry.
While some victims and neighbors stood and asked for more visibility or even empty patrol cars as "a false sense of security" to ward off intruders, others asked simply for more information. One victim, who wished not to be identified, asked if more information could be sent to surrounding neighborhoods and local news publications after any incident. While officers alert surrounding houses of recent activity, they can't release some information that would keep them from locking up criminals.
"There's a lot that we don't share with you because we don't want that information getting back to the bad guys," explained Second Squad Detective Lieutenant William Carey, referring to withholding pieces of information that could jeopardize investigations.
"We can scare them away, but it's better to have the guy in our hands and be able to tell you [residents], 'here's the guy, and he's not coming back,'" said Chief of Detectives Jay Caputo.
As for the recent flux in attempted robberies, many of them can be attributed to the simple change of season.
"Once daylight savings hits, it gets darker earlier and if your lights are off, it looks like you're not home," said Fucito.
Because of this, everyone in the area is encouraged to invest in timers for lights and televisions, set their alarms, and always make it look like someone is home. Officers called the burglars brazen because of their habit of breaking in the back door when no one answers the doorbell.
"If you answer the door, and they make an excuse about it being the wrong house and walk away, call us," said Berry.
All representatives from the police department endorsed a checklist for your home:
- Always set your alarm. "I was just going to the grocery store" is not a valid excuse, because these robberies take 10 minutes.
- Leave lights on when you are not home. A home that looks empty is the most vulnerable.
- Answer the door. "If someone knocks on the front door and you don't answer, that's when they go to the back of the house and try to get in," said Berry. Opening the door also offers the chance to catch a glimpse of a suspicious person for a description.
- Make sure the rear door of your house is secure, since many of these robberies happen by forcing open sliding doors or breaking small windows.
- Always call the police. "We would rather come check it out and make sure you're okay," said Fucito.