GREENBURGH, N.Y. The Greenburgh Police Department held a meeting with concerned Edgemont residents Thursday night to discuss the recent burglaries in their area.
Members of the Edgemont community have been outraged over the past few months due to burglaries. They claimed that the agency was not doing enough to keep them safe, despite Edgemont residents paying the highest taxes in Greenburgh.
"We realize that one burglary is one too many," Greenburgh Police Chief Joseph DeCarlo said to a group of nearly 50 residents.
Greenburgh police have made many burglary arrests in conjunction with other agency in Westchester County, said Cpt. Chris McNerney, commanding officer of the detective division. The team has been working closely with the county's burglary task force, police crime analysis and the district attorney's office.
Roughly 35 percent of the burglaries in the Edgemont area are happening to Indian and Asian families in the neighborhood, as they are often known to keep high-valued jewelry in their home, McNerney said. Police found that families with the same Indian and Asian last names are being targeted in other states, too.
"[The burglars] are reading phone books," said McNerney. "They're looking up popular names. They're looking up Changs, Chens, Patels, Shahs. We know this. These last names are being hit in Connecticut, they're being hit in New Jersey. Some of these names are associated with a hierarchy. They're not stupid. They're doing their homework."
Police statistics show that the amount of Edgemont burglaries in 2011 is similar to 2010. So far this year, there has been 13 burglaries and one attempt, while last year there were 14 with one attempt. Compared to other towns of comparable size, Greenburgh has a low burglary rate.
The burglars tend to enter through either the front or back doors, said McNerney. They head toward the master bedroom to take small, portable valuable items, usually high-priced jewelry. The event usually lasts less than five minutes.
"We look at response times," said McNerney. "We don't accept slow response times. We're ensuring that [our officers] are doing whatever they can to get there in a timely manner."
DeCarlo said that many of the burglaries occurred on the west side of Central Avenue, happening just after dark, often between the hours of 5 and 7:30 p.m., when the burglar can see whose house lights are on. "Burglars don't want to be caught," he said. "They don't want confrontation."
Traditionally, burglars in Edgemont are not violent, and, at any sign of life, they will usually move on, said McNerney. Residents are encouraged to show a presence in their home by using lights, music, television or their voice.
An extra officer has been added to the Edgemont area for the time being, said DeCarlo. Nevertheless, he said, there is a misconception that the community is undersold in terms of patrol units.
"I believe that Edgemont is well-represented for its size," said DeCarlo. "I think that's a misconception that cops spend more time on the north end of town than on the south end."
Crime Prevention Officer Peter Dandreano suggested that residents think of security like the layers of an onion. While a dog or an alarm system are good deterrents, he said, "it's everything together," referring to a perimeter fence, motion sensing lights, windows and locks.
To report suspicious behavior, call the Greenburgh Police Department at 914-682-5300.
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