A series of burglaries on the northwest side has residents taking increased security precautions.
According to homeowners in a La Cañada/Magee Neighborhood Association meeting on Nov. 21, numerous burglaries have taken place since January in the area encompassing La Cholla, Northern, Ina, and Hardy roads.
The spike in criminal activity, which has also included vehicular arson, has led residents not only to notify the Pima County Sheriff’s Department (PCSD), but also to purchase guns, surveillance cameras, and install or upgrade alarm systems, according to District 35 neighborhood representative Priscilla Ewy.
One homeowner, who preferred to remain anonymous in fear of additional burglaries, said her house has been broken into twice. She is now installing an alarm.
A number of other burglary attempts – sometimes successful and sometimes not – have been recorded and reported to police by neighborhood members.
Some residents are saying they don’t think the sheriff’s department is doing enough to reduce crime in the area, and that transparency is limited.
“I personally would like to know what the PCSD does when a neighborhood experiences high levels of burglary, and what actions they take,” said one resident. “I personally would like to know that about our neighborhood – I don’t see patrols or great responsiveness.”
Others, like 42-year area resident Richard Sebastian, disagree with that assessment. He referred to an incident about a month ago in which a teenager was seen looking into a homeowner’s window. According to Sebastian, the sheriff’s department was notified, officers arrived promptly, both in marked and unmarked vehicles. A police helicopter was also seen overhead.
“I’d say that’s a pretty damn good response,” said Sebastian. “I don’t blame the police.”
A number of arrests were made in that instance according to a neighborhood release written by Ewy.
Sebastian, who was burglarized years prior, said after installing an alarm he has not been victimized again.
The LCMNA plans to hold a neighborhood seminar this month to discuss various alarm systems.
PCSD spokesperson Courtney Rodriguez said when burglaries increase in a particular neighborhood, a number of practices can be implemented.
“There’s nothing standard, but a lot of times if an area is deemed to be a problem area with burglaries, we will send directed patrol out in undercover cars, which residents and criminals will not know are police officers,” said Rodriguez. “A lot of time police presence, when in a marked car, can ruin an investigation. In each case, we gather what suspect information, forensics, and other evidence we can, and continue the investigation from there. Anything we don’t have will delay what we do have, but that doesn’t mean nothing is being done.”
In the case of the LCMNA neighborhood, however, Rodriguez said the sheriff’s department isn’t seeing an upward trend in burglaries.
“The sergeant of our burglary unit has run a search of the burglary activity in the area,” said Rodriguez. “He has not seen any increase in burglary reports specific to that area. Traditionally, we do see an increase in burglary activity during the holidays. We try to investigate these crimes to the best of our ability with the evidence and information we are able to collect at each incident.”
Rodriguez added that residents are welcome to request increased patrol from the Ina and Shannon substation, which covers the LCMNA area. Officers from the sheriff’s department are also willing to attend neighborhood watch meetings to collect further information, Rodriguez said.
In addition to installing alarms and surveillance equipment, security and safety tips for homeowners can be found at www.pimasheriff.org.