Frustration over burglaries

May 29, 2009 1:06:11 PM PDT
A resident of Northgate Park in Durham is frustrated by recent burglaries and says police need to do more.She's already been burgled once, and fears it'll happen again.

"I mean it's scary - you come home you see your door busted open. You turn and look for your things," offered Cindy Wardle.

Wardle never expected to get her things back, but seven months after her home break-in, she thought there'd at least be an arrest.

"Every time you turn around, it seems to be everybody in the neighborhood is getting broken into," she said.

A check of the Durham Police Department's Crime Mapper shows nearly 40 home break-ins since May of last year in Northgate Park, and Wardle hopes the other victims didn't get the same advice she got.

Wardle says officers asked her if she had a dog.

"I said 'Yes, but it's a Chihuahua and it's not exactly a house protection dog' and the police officer said, 'Well maybe you should get a bigger dog,'" Wardle recalled.

When security systems aren't an affordable option, Wardle says taxpaying residents rely on police. She'd like to see more patrols and more arrests before the summer season of home burglaries.

"There's that fear they'll come back," she said.

Investigators say that police made several arrests in other break-ins in Wardle's neighborhood. But without solid evidence to link the suspects to her burglary, the case went cold.

Police admit burglaries are not easy crimes to solve. But Durham's clearance rate for break-ins is better than the national average. Last year, about 15 percent of burglaries resulted in arrests.

The other 85 percent - Wardle says - need to feel like someone cares.

"You're just left out in the open. You don't get any follow through," she complained.

Durham police say they are in communication with neighborhood watch groups. They recommend forming one or joining an existing group. They also say it's good to be a nosy neighbor and report any suspicious activity.


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