Falmouth Police Department officials warned this week that there has been an increase in the number of breaking and enterings this year, especially within the last two weeks. Police are strongly encouraging residents to be aware and take precautions.
Since January 1 police reported that 41 residential homes have been broken into, up nine from last year.
In the last two weeks, police reported 19 separate break-ins, predominantly in East Falmouth and Teaticket.
All but two took place from Thursday night through Monday morning.
“This is something we are taking seriously and we are being proactive about it,” Lieutenant John F. (Sean) Doyle said. “We are asking residents to do the same.”
The home break-ins range in scale from nothing stolen to thousands of dollars worth of property stolen and damaged.
Police are asking that residents help to keep neighborhoods safe. “Something we’ve noticed is that we keep getting light snow and people are breaking into houses that do not have tire marks in the driveway,” Lt. Doyle said. “We are asking if you are friendly with your neighbors to help out seasonal homeowners or people on vacation to maybe pull into unoccupied driveways or walk around a neighbor’s house so that it looks like someone lives there.”
He added that if residents see a car that appears suspicious or does not appear to belong in the neighborhood to write down the license plate number or a description of the vehicle. “That will help us solve a crime,” Lt. Doyle said.
Of the break-ins over the last two weeks, 10 took place in East Falmouth and five in Teaticket and Maravista. Two took place in downtown Falmouth and one took place in each West Falmouth and North Falmouth.
Lt. Doyle said the perpetrators are often repeat offenders. “It is usually someone that needs money to support a drug habit,” Lt. Doyle said
Of the 19 in the last two weeks, Lt. Doyle reported that the break-ins occurred not only at seasonal homes, but year-round homes. He added that sheds broken into count as a residential break-in.
“There has definitely been an uptick in the last two weeks,” Lt. Doyle said. “We are noticing it in seasonal houses, but also noticing it elsewhere. A man went out for a couple of hours during the day and found his house had been broken into.” He referenced an incident that took place on Thursday, January 30, on Frederick B. Douglas Road in North Falmouth. The resident left the home at 7 AM and returned at 3 PM to find the front door kicked in and a camera stolen.
Over the past two years, commercial break-ins have decreased. From the same time period, January 1 to February 10, there were eight reports of commercial break-ins in 2012, five in 2013, and only one this year.
Police have suspects in connection to the residential robberies and investigations remain “very active,” Lt. Doyle said. They would not release information of individual cases in order to preserve the integrity of those investigations.
Recent break-ins include an intruder who stole approximately $4,000 in property from a home on Bridge Street, East Falmouth, reported on January 30. Police reported someone gained entry after throwing a rock through a window.
In another case, an intruder gained entrance through a broken window on East Falmouth Highway in the early morning on January 31. A computer, printer and flatscreen television were taken from the home.
On the afternoon of February 1, neighbors of a home on Iroquois Street, East Falmouth, noted a resident’s outdoor, motion sensor lights were activated and they knew the homeowners were away. After responding, police noticed a broken window and that the house had been ransacked.
An arborist reported what appeared to be a breaking and entering while doing work at a seasonal home on Norris Path, Teaticket. Police found a broken window. Homeowners reported more than $2,000 in items stolen.
Lt. Doyle said the perpetrators are often repeat offenders. “It is usually someone that needs money to support a drug habit,” Lt. Doyle said. “Historically, that is what we’ve found.”
The increase in break-ins have coincided with an increase in overdoses, but Lt. Doyle said he could not say if the two were connected. During the last week of January, four people overdosed on heroin, one of whom died. Falmouth narcotic detectives said that the increase in overdoses in a small time frame usually means a recent shipment of stronger heroin. It is more sought out, Detective Christopher P. Bartolomei said.