11/06/11 — Fremont break-ins increasing

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Fremont break-ins increasing

By Gary Popp
Published in News on November 6, 2011 1:50 AM

FREMONT -- The frequency of home break-ins in Fremont has increased in recent months, Chief Paul Moats of the Fremont Police Department said.

Moats said he attributes the increase, at least in part, to his department's reduced manpower following the resignation of one of the force's four full-time officers, William Boseman.

"As soon as we lost Officer Boseman we saw a great increase in larcenies and the crime rate," Moats said.

The town has experienced about 25 break-ins in the last two months, he said.

Moats said he hasn't seen such a high rate of break-ins in Fremont since taking the job of chief in April.

The number of break-ins are about equally divided between homes and the sheds, garages and other outbuildings on residential property, Moats said.

Suspects typically are looking to steal firearms and expensive electronics, he said.

Moats said it appears that some of the residences that have been burglarized were being watched by the thieves since the homes were broken into while occupants were away for only a short period of time.

Moats said the majority of home break-ins are occurring during the day and evening hours, while most outbuildings are targeted after sunset.

Tools and power equipment that can be sold to a local buyer or pawnshop are what suspects are hoping to find in outbuildings, Moats said.

He said the outbuildings have typically been secured at the time of the break-ins, with the suspects cutting locks and prying open doors.

Moats suggested that town residents invest in motion-sensor lights to deter suspects from breaking into buildings after hours.

He also advised the installation of cameras, often used by hunters, that can automatically snap photographs if a person steps within a motion-detection range.

Moats said the lights and cameras can be low-cost solutions and that images taken by the cameras have been used in the past to help identify suspects.

In the last two months, Fremont police have made one arrest of a person believed to be responsible for at least one breaking and entering, and other investigations are currently active.

Moats said he believes the department can quash the recent surge in burglaries when part-time Officer Luke Siemion is brought on as a full-time officer this month.

"With the addition of the new officer, we are going back to a 24-hour, double-coverage schedule," Moats said. "Hopefully, with this new officer it will bring the crime rate back down."

Moats and other officers have designed a new initiative, Citizens Assisting Police, to get community members involved in crime prevention.

The plan includes officers going door-to-door handing out flyers to open lines of communication with area residents and share preventative measures.

"Hopefully we will get some really goodfeed back," Moats said.

He said the program is an effort to get the entire town motivated to help themselves in one push, instead of waiting for several different communities in the town to organize their own community programs.

The flyers that will be handed out encourage people to contact the police if they see any suspicious behavior in their community and lists the phone numbers of several officers.

The flyers also residents to band together to combat the thieves.

"We need to take back our streets and neighborhoods from people who don't want to work for a living but don't mind helping themselves to what you have worked hard for."