Burglaries lead to forming of two watch groups 16 occur since March 25 in Crofton neighborhoods

June 20, 1996|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

A string of as many as 16 related residential burglaries since March 25 has driven residents of two sections of Crofton to form Neighborhood Watch groups.

The two sections join six areas of Crofton that have Neighborhood Watch programs, said Crofton Police Chief Deborah Bogush.

Bogush said she can't prove a connection, but she noted that the sections that had the crime prevention programs were not struck by thieves.

"I would like to think it was a deterrent," she said.

Residents' calls to police about suspicious people in their neighborhoods have increased since the burglaries have been publicized, she said.

"It's definitely not a bother," Bogush said of the calls. "Any of my officers would much rather check out something and find that it's OK, than to hear the next day there was a break-in."

The thieves have picked homes that abut woods or a golf course and usually have entered through the rear, the chief said. Silverware, jewelry, money, credit cards -- small items that do not have serial numbers -- have been stolen, she said.

In some cases, the thieves entered homes within minutes after residents left, leading Bogush to believe the criminals may be watching their targets.

"In one of the break-ins, a clock fell over and stopped five minutes after the people left," Bogush said. In another case, credit cards missing from a home were used 45 minutes after residents left.

Cyndi M. Tabb's home was burglarized one evening in May when she and her husband and two children went out for a few hours.

She and her husband purchased a home security system, but Tabb also wanted to involve the community in crime prevention. Six days later, she organized a block party in her section of Crofton to get residents interested in Neighborhood Watch.

"It was my decision just to first get the neighbors together to bring awareness to the situation," she said. "It's put me out in the public, and it allowed me to speak with neighbors on our street as well as other homeowners in the area."

Residents who know their neighbors and their neighbors' cars and schedules will be better able to recognize suspicious people or activities in the area, she said.

"It gives them a sense of knowing that they are looking out for each other," she said.

Crofton police officers have been doing plainclothes surveillance around the community, and county detectives are investigating the break-ins, Bogush said.

The Crofton Civic Association's public safety committee will consider recommending that residents improve lighting around their homes and may try to involve local stores in selling security systems at a discount to Crofton residents, said District 1 director Kenneth Broghammer, head of the committee.

Pub Date: 6/20/96

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