Window smash vehicle burglaries are on the rise in Fresno, with police reporting 364 throughout the city in the last 28 days, Chief Jerry Dyer reported Tuesday after reviewing crime data with his command staff and the news media.
The spike in the smash-and-grab burglaries mars an otherwise downward trend in crime, including a drop in violent crime in the most recent crime reporting period, Dyer reported. Since the start of the year, serious crime is down 6.1 percent, and shootings are down 34 percent in the 28 day period. Dyer indicated the drop was a positive trend after overall yearly increases of crime in 2015 and 2016. That two-year spurt reversed four-year dip in violent crime that began in 2011.
But the chief said the rise in vehicle burglaries is a citywide trend, with the crime up 60 percent in central Fresno, 23.8 percent in southwest Fresno, 42.9 percent in southeast Fresno, about 35 percent in northwest Fresno and 29 percent in northeast Fresno. (Earlier this month, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office reported a similar surge in vehicle break-ins in northwest Fresno.)
Dyer said police are responding to the upsurge by no longer taking electronic reports of burglaries and are asking victims to call police, (but not on a 911 line) if a vehicle has been burgled so that officers can respond quickly and possibly take evidence of the crime. The chief said the department had experienced a trend of some victims not filing computer reports promptly.
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The chief cautioned drivers who are forced to park on streets to make sure that they leave nothing visible in vehicles and also warned that shoppers who leave items in view at parking lots are also at risk.
The suspects in the surge in car break-ins include those on felony probation as a result of Prop. 47.