Neighboring Levittown as well as northern portions of Wantagh and Seaford saw an increase in burglaries last year, according to updated crime statistics provided by Second Precinct officers.
Officer Paul Lamonica and Inspector John Berry of the Second Precinct spoke about area crimes during last week's Levittown Property Owner's Association meeting. Lamonica said the police department receives about 1,000 service calls a year from among Levittown's 13,935 homes, which also includes sections of Wantagh and Seaford that are in the Second Precinct and Levittown School District.
For residential burglaries, 33 were reported in 2011, compared to 41 in 2012. A total of six occurred in the first month of 2013, with two arrests made.
Commercial burglaries went up from eight in 2011 to 11 in 2012, while stolen cars increased from 14 in 2011 to 20 in 2012.
One figure that stood out was the number of arrests made for drug offenses, which jumped from 100 in 2011 to 213 in 2012. Lamonica said that residents should consider not keeping any medication in their bathrooms.
“That’s another thing to, as far as safeguarding your homes,” he said. “These days kids are taking Ritalin, that’s a stimulant. Any form of medication, such as oxycodone, because when they break in, a lot of them are drug addicts, so they go right for it.”
The number of total arrests also jumped, from 298 in 2011 to 657 in 2012. Lamonica said part of the increase in total arrests for 2012 can be attributed to Hurricane Sandy. “If you look at the stats, after Sandy, arrests were down,” he said.
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One resident expressed concerns with the amount of burglaries so far in 2013.
“Six in a month is kind of high for a cold weather month,” the resident said. “Do you believe it’s been affected because of the closing of the eighth precinct?”
“Nothing has changed in terms of police personnel from the closing of the eighth precinct,” Berry responded. “We still have the same amount of cars that were out there before, out there now. In fact we have more special patrols - plain clothed officers than we did before."
The Second Precinct headquarters, however, are located in Woodbury, so another concern brought up was if response times have gone up because of that. The former Eighth Precinct headquarters, which is now a community policing center, is located on Wantagh Avenue in Levittown.
“You can always see scenarios that would change that, but I don’t believe that it’s up that higher than it was last year,” Berry said.
The main idea the officers wanted to express is that certain crimes are easier for them to handle, because the majority are done by people who know each other. However, it’s the burglaries and larcenies where they said they can use residents help as those crimes are usually committed by strangers.
“You can help us because you know your home, your neighborhood better than anyone,” LaMonica said.
Lamonica emphasized that if people see something suspicious on their block, there should be no hesitation in calling 911 to let police know. Lamonica said that recently a resident took down the drivers license of a suspicious parked car on his block and it led to a burglary arrest by police.