Once a week I stop by the Woodbury Public Safety Department to get a look at the full list of incident reports that police officers have responded to in the last seven days.
Taking a look at these incident reports is often a helpful way for me to find out about crimes or crime trends occurring in the city. Sometimes I’ll use these incident reports to follow up on an inquiry from one of our readers.
On one recent occasion, a few residents from the Eagle Valley neighborhood contacted the Bulletin to let the paper know that some neighbors were concerned about a string of home burglaries that had been occurring over the last few months. The readers said they contacted the police, but they were hoping the paper could get the word out to the rest of the community.
I followed up their inquiries by looking through these incident reports for burglaries that were occurring in the Eagle Valley neighborhood. The Bulletin published a story on the burglaries for the Dec. 2 print edition
Wendy Simone, an investigative technician with the public safety department, provided for me some additional details of the criminal activity that has occurred in the Eagle Valley neighborhood (located just south of Valley Creek Road and east of Woodbury Drive) as of late. She said in three of four burglaries (dating back to September) the residents were out of town.
Obviously it’s much easier for a burglar to break into a home when they know the residents are out of town. The question some of the residents who contacted the paper on this issue have been asking is how do these burglary suspects find these opportunities?
Is there some sort of tell-tale sign that a residence is unoccupied and will be unoccupied for quite some time? Is it a piling up of mail or newspapers on the doorstep. Are these burglary suspects keeping close tabs on a particular neighborhood to observe if there are any homes that seem to have little to no activity in them for a few days at a time?
I’m not sure what the answer is, but Simone told me the police are continuing to investigate these break ins to determine if they are connected to one group or an individual.
In a recent conversation I had with public safety director Lee Vague related to this issue, he said Woodbury is relatively safe city but is not immune to criminal activity.
That means it makes sense for people to shut their garage doors overnight and take valuables out of their vehicles that they park on their driveway. It probably also makes sense for neighbors to get to know one another so that when someone does go on vacation they know their neighbors are looking out for their house while they are out of town.
A few years back I reported on some criminal activity that was occurring in the Dancing Waters neighborhood. A few weeks after the report, I learned many of these neighbors had organized a neighborhood watch group and were involving patrol officers in their efforts. That seems like a pretty effective way to keep crime out a neighborhood.