The month of October has seen a lot of one type of crime in the city of Washington, but it has been a crime that is not the usual seen for this time of year.
Usually, October is the month for vandalism or pranks but it is break-ins that have increased in the city. Since Oct. 1, there has been 45 actual or attempted break-ins reported to city police.
The Times Herald created an interactive map plotting where the break-ins have occurred since the start of October. Washington Police Chief Mike Healy said this week there has been an uptick in break-ins, but the number has not been a steady increase, but ebbs and flows.
"For a while it has been (higher)," Healy said. "But we have spells we have maybe no cars were broken into but then we have a rash of them."
According to the map, it has not mattered where a person lived, or who the person was, but break-ins have occurred throughout.
"People get in their head 'I live in a good neighborhood. It won't happen here.' It happens everywhere," Healy said.
In many instances, several break-ins were reported in the same neighborhood, usually by the same person. Early this month, at least three break-ins occurred near Woodmere Drive and Bedford Road. A female called police on Oct. 6 saying the male was inside her parked car. Officers chased the male and later arrested him.
Another example was seen on Oct. 23, when two vehicles and a garage was broken into on N.W. Third Street and Sunset Avenue. On Oct. 22, the same was seen on Grand Avenue when two vehicles were broken into.
Some of the reports of break-ins were major where cash was involved, including a safe on Oct. 26, and guns from a home on Oct. 27. The majority of items stolen have been smaller, like electronics, medication, tools, even a couple of bedroom suites. Three businesses also reported items stolen during the month. One of the strangest items taken was a pit bull dog from a home.
While Healy could not get into specific cases due to ongoing investigations, he said they are getting closer to solving some of the incidents.
"We are following up on some things with the information we have been getting," Healy said.
But there are deterrents the public can do to prevent their home or car being broken into, the first is locking doors.
"If you leave your car or house unlocked, that is what is going to happen," Healy said. "People walk by and look at cars. They can see if they are unlocked or not. If they're unlocked, it's nothing for them to get in and get out. That deters them with the door being locked, because they will have to break something and there's the chance of a noise."
Other tips include:
- Don't advertise your whereabouts, like on social media like Facebook or Twitter
- Leave a light on when you go
- Let city police know if you are leaving for an extended period of time
- Change your habits
- Put deadbolt locks on your doors
- Take notice of what is happening in your neighborhood.
Ironically, there have been few instances of vandalism this month, although there were a couple of spray-painting reports taken earlier this week.