By DON O'BRIENHerald-Whig Staff Writer
An increase in burglaries this summer has led to changes in how the Quincy Police Department patrols neighborhoods in the city.
Statistics compiled by the Quincy Police Department show burglaries from April 1 to July 31 are up 18 percent over the same four-month period last year. The statistics include burglaries of vehicles and structures inside the city.
"Starting in June, our street crimes unit has been working on burglary detail," Deputy Chief Doug VanderMaiden said. "Our patrols have been involved in that, too, by riding around in unmarked vehicles and working in plain clothes while looking for suspicious vehicles."
Every section of the city has seen activity. The latest area to be hit was an area between 11th and 12th streets from Lind to Cherry. Police reported that 10 vehicles in the area had been broken into. Most of the vehicles were parked on the streets or driveways, but one was inside a garage. Some vehicles had their windows broken.
VanderMaiden said most of the burglaries were to vehicles that had their doors unlocked. Purses, cellphones and iPads are the most common things being taken out of the vehicles, he said.
Police are encouraging everyone to lock the doors to their vehicles and residences.
"The smash and grabs are going to be cars with the doors locked and have a valuable like a purse visible inside," VanderMaiden said. "They're not just smashing windows if they don't see anything. It's important that you place those items out of sight before you get to where you are going. If you put something out of sight while you're sitting in a parking lot, someone might see that."
Quincy police have made arrests in several cases but are still seeking information in several of the incidents. VanderMaiden credited information given to police by citizens for helping make those arrests, and he said anyone who sees something suspicious in their neighborhood should call 911.
Before the spike in burglaries over the last 120 days, burglary numbers had been trending downward. There were just 33 burglaries over the first three months of the year, a 38.9 decrease from the same period in 2013.
"It hit us strong in May, and we made a couple arrests in June," VanderMaiden said. "I'm not sure why they are continuing."