Summer brings rash of burglaries to Southwest

Southwest burglaries spiked during the end of June, when 32 were reported in one week. Police say many were preventable.

Minneapolis police were grappling with a sudden spike in Southwest burglaries late last month, many of them unforced.

During the last week of June, 32 burglaries were reported throughout the region. Neighborhoods hit by the wave were Whittier, Stevens Square, the Wedge, Kenwood, East Isles, Lowry Hill, CARAG, East Calhoun, Kingfield, Lynnhurst, Linden Hills, Armatage and Windom.

Garages were burglarized most often and bicycles were common targets, said Tom Thompson, a crime prevention specialist with the Minneapolis Police Department. Sometimes burglars would leave a previously stolen bike at the scene in favor of a better one, Thompson said.

In many cases, burglars entered through unlocked or open doors.

Thompson said criminal activity generally increases during the warmer months, so a bump in burglaries isn’t unusual. But the spike during the last week in June was roughly double the average weekly amount of burglaries in Southwest.

Insp. Kristine Arneson, who oversees the 5th Precinct, said several burglary arrests have been made recently and new suspects have been identified. Battling the crime trend is the precinct’s goal for the rest of the summer, she said.

Despite the surge, burglary is still down compared to last year. Police said residents could do a lot to help prevent the crime, which is largely one of opportunity.

Thompson offered these tips for a burglary-free summer:

— Lock your garage doors and make sure they shut completely as you’re leaving. The door sensors could trip and leave your garage open all day.

— Keep your garage doors locked and shut even when you are home. Even people working in their front yards have been victims of garage burglaries. They leave the garage open and go to the front yard. The opportunist walks through the alley, sees the open garage and in seconds takes a bike.

— Keep your house doors locked even when working in the yard. Don’t leave your front door vulnerable and unlocked while you work in the back yard.

— Watch for any suspicious activity on your block. If you see anything suspicious, call 911.

— Be a good witness. Get as much description as you can. Observe any physical features of suspicious parties, clothing, vehicles, tattoos, license plates and any other information that can help us locate or identify the person.

— Attend or start a neighbor crime and safety committee meeting. Be informed and help keep your neighbors informed.

— Make sure your motion lights work and that when they go off at night, you or your neighbors pay attention to why they went off.

— Cut down foliage that is blocking lines of site. Police need you to be able to watch out for your neighbors and your neighbors to be able to watch out for you.

— Stay in contact with your neighbors and welcome anyone who has recently moved in (or those you haven’t met yet that have been there for a while).

Reach Jake Weyer at 436-4367 or jweyer@mnpubs.com.