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Police Seek to Limit Ellicott City Burglaries

In a neighborhood where burglaries have risen in the past year, a police captain talks about the investigation and safety.

In one year, there have been more than 30 residential burglaries in the Dunloggin neighborhood, according to Howard County Police Northern District Capt. Daniel Coon. Police are asking for residents’ help, not only to find suspects in some of the open cases, but also to limit some of the preventable crimes.

Eight of the 32 burglary cases have been closed by arrest, Coon said Wednesday night at a Saint John's Community Association meeting at First Lutheran Church.

Police have suspects in five of the burglaries – “We have a pretty good idea who it is, but are still gathering evidence.”  In the remaining 12 – including this Dec. 28 burglary – police do not have suspects, Coon said.

Dunloggin is not unique in its recent increase in burglaries, Coon said. “You see it everywhere, [burglars] come into town, they do five or six in a short period of time,” then they leave. “I’m saying to myself, ‘I can’t believe these people aren’t running into each other in the middle of the night.'”  He attributed some of the crime to the economy, some of it to drugs.  

“There are a lot of different groups,” he said. They are coming from Oella, Baltimore City, Prince George’s  County …  “Can I say that they're coming from one specific area? No, I can’t.” 

The burglaries fall into a few categories: forced entry; entry into unlocked garages; and theft from vehicles, mostly unlocked as well. Residents were also warned of several scams involving people coming into the neighborhood, soliciting work cleaning gutters or picking up yard waste.

One of the crimes Coon called the “most brazen,” were the cat burglaries –burglars who steal while residents are asleep in the house. Sometimes, of course, the residents wake up and confront the burglar.

One resident asked Coon if any of the burglars had been carrying a gun. “We have not found that any of them are carrying firearms at the time of the crime,” Coon said. “Can I say they don’t have firearms for sure? No.” He added that most of the altercations with burglars resulted from the resident chasing the burglar down. 

“Usually when burglars are confronted,” he said, “They take off.” 

Diane Butler, president of the association, asked why, once caught, burglars were sometimes released on bail, as was the case when the suspected “kick-in burglars," who police say robbed homes throughout and beyond Howard County, were released on bail and then fled the state. 

“I don’t have the answer to that,” Coon said. He outlined the commissioner’s standards for setting bail, which include whether the person is a violent threat to society, and if there is a history of a person not showing up for court.  “I really can’t speak for the commissioners.” he said, “But it is frustrating. It’s as frustrating for us as it is for you.” 

Coon offered tips for residents to keep themselves and their property safe:

Lock your doors: “I can’t stress this enough. Ninety percent of thefts from vehicles are from unlocked cars. I can’t believe what people leave in their unlocked cars – briefcases, purses, cell phones … and if you’re going to leave your purse in the front door, even if you lock it, don’t expect it to be there when you get back. “

Write down your equipments’ serial numbers: “We make a lot of cases by checking pawn records and histories, we can back track with those to see what’s being sold. We are able to ID suspects that way.”

Call 9-1-1: “Sometimes people are hesitant because they think it’s not an emergency. Call 9-1-1.”

Tell your kids not to open the door:  “If you’re home alone and someone knocks on the door and you don’t know who it is, don’t open it. If that person starts trying to open the door, call 9-1-1.”

Consider home security and video surveillance: “Video surveillance cameras  … are so cheap now. They record or monitor and notify you when motion sets it off.” “Security systems? Do I encourage them? Yes. Are they a deterrent to most? Yes."

Get a dog: “We don’t get a lot of residential burglaries where there are dogs at the house.”

Related:

- Daytime Door Kick-in Burglaries Cease; Investigation Continues

- Dog May Have Thwarted Burglars: HoCo Crime Roundup

- Residents Warn of Car Break-ins

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This article has been edited to correct the name of the Saint John's Community Association.

Billy Duval February 08, 2013 at 01:48 AM
Gee, maybe if the police would do a little more than just cruise up and down Rt. 40 looking for speeders and drunk drivers and maybe cruise the neighborhoods once in a while, there would be less break-ins. Just a thought.
Jake February 08, 2013 at 02:50 PM
"Dunloggin is not unique in its recent increase in burglaries, Coon said. “You see it everywhere, [burglars] come into town, they do five or six in a short period of time,” then they leave. “I’m saying to myself, ‘I can’t believe these people aren’t running into each other in the middle of the night.'” He attributed some of the crime to the economy, some of it to drugs. There are a lot of different groups,” he said. They are coming from Oella, Baltimore City, Prince George’s County … “Can I say that they're coming from one specific area? No, I can’t.” Coon, this is inaccurate. This may be part of the issue. The recent stories regarding break-ins have been Howard County natives. My neighborhood recently had a burglar stealing packages around Christmas time and he was a local. Not too long ago, another local citizen was breaking in young female homes and apartments and setting up surveillance for his own use. What a Pervert! It's easy to scape-goat Baltimore and Prince Georges County but recently we have seen individuals in our own community doing the break-ins.
Wendy Woods February 08, 2013 at 08:41 PM
I am amused by the headline - "limit burglaries" should be "eliminate burglaries" ... let's set the bar high, shall we?
Gary February 09, 2013 at 01:15 PM
I agree with all three of the above comments, there are not enough patrols in the neighborhoods, These criminals are not all from another county. We must eliminate burglaries. Limit just sounds weak and halfhearted.
Sanchez February 09, 2013 at 03:09 PM
Good point Wendy, this ought to be a lesson in other areas of what the police are capable of and not capable of. They cannot PREVENT crime, they can only come take a report after it occurs. That is why we need the right to KABA. How soon until one of these burglaries turns into an occupied home invasion? Can the police prevent that?
Craig H. February 12, 2013 at 01:23 PM
Seriously, I mean..."coming from Oella"!? Hahaha, too funny...yes, Oella, that giant cesspool of neerdowells, by virtue of being on the other side of the Patapsco and--pardon the cliche--the wrong side of the tracks, from the fantasy land that is HoCo...puh-leeze...

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