A dramatic rise in home and car burglaries this summer has area police making house calls to warn residents to shut garage doors and lock doors.
In Maple Grove recently, resident Kathy Schons and her husband awoke around midnight to the sound of their doorbell. The couple found a Maple Grove Police officer at the doorstep alerting them that their garage door had been left open. Inside the garage, the service door to the couple's home was unlocked too.
"We had been vigilant about closing it, obviously we weren't that night," said Schons. "We would've been, unfortunately, an easy mark for a burglar at that point."
In Maple Grove alone, the city has seen 181 home burglaries through Aug. 1. That's a sharp increase from the yearly total of around 120 home burglaries, according to Maple Grove police. It's a summer spike in home and car burglaries seen in suburbs across the metro, including Golden Valley, Plymouth and Robbinsdale.
"These are really all crimes of opportunity," said Capt. Keith Terlinden of the Maple Grove Police Department. "This is really one crime set that we could almost elimate if we had the help of our citizens ... in closing doors and taking personal property out of vehicles and locking cars."
Terlinden said burglary numbers have dipped down in August, a possible result of several arrests Maple Grove police have made recently. The warnings and alerts about open garage doors could also be sinking in with residents.
"We're calling property owners in the middle of the night, we're knocking on doors and saying 'your garage door is open, can you please close it, and this is why,'" said Terlinden.
Alexandra Renslo reporting
Wednesday, August 29, 2012