City Councilor Sal and Interim District 7 Captain Tim Connolly were out walking the Jeffries Point neighborhood Monday night following an increase of social media chatter regarding an up tick in crime in the area.
The social media threads on Facebook started some hysteria and caused panic among residents that were unaware of all the facts surrounding some car and housebreaks. Rumors began replacing fact and some Facebook posts accused District 7 officers of being lax in response to the perceived crime spree.
However, a conversation with both LaMattina and Connolly confirmed that while there has been an increase in car breaks, housebreaks other crimes have remained relatively low in Jeffries Point and throughout the neighborhood.
LaMattina and Connolly spent the evening stopping into businesses and talking to residents as they made their rounds.
“We want to visit neighbors and businesses and let them know that the police here are working hard and regularly patrol the area,” said LaMattina. “Sometimes when information spreads on social media sites like Facebook it can be the wrong information and can cause unnecessary alarm.”
One stop at Italian Express and conversation with owner Jim Ianuzzi seemed to back up LaMattina and Connolly’s assertion that there is a strong police presence here.
“I always see the officers on their bikes making the rounds and other officers are regularly here in the neighborhood and make it a point to go into the businesses and talk with owners and customers,” said Ianuzzi. “I think they are doing a terrific job.”
Another resident on Everett Street expressed the same appreciation for the officers and said he was a recent victim of a burglary. The resident said he thought the officers did a good job responding and was encouraged by LaMattina and Connolly to start a Crime Watch group on the block if he felt the neighborhood needed one.
LaMattina and Connolly then met with members of the Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association to discuss diffuse rumors and report the incidences of car and housebreaks that have been reported.
“One house break turned out to not be a house break at all but a case of a bunch of young kids breaking into someone’s shed,” said LaMattina. “As far as the car breaks, it is a problem but the Captain is getting information to people and urging resident to not leave valuables in their cars.”
Last month Connolly reported that Eastie had seen a spike in car breaks since January according to the latest crime stats.
Connolly said there are people out and about specifically looking in cars and if they see something they are going to take it.
Connolly explained this particular crime of opportunity takes less than 12 seconds and thieves are off with the goods and many times are not caught.
“These individuals look in your car, see something, break the window, take it and then they are gone,” said Connolly.
Again, Connolly said for a crime to be committed there needs to be three elements—a victim, a suspect and an opportunity.
“What we want residents to do in regards to these car breaks is remove the opportunity,” said Connolly. “If we can remove the opportunity we can remove the crime.”
To date there have been around 50 car breaks since January and thieves have made off with everything from GPS systems to laptops to cash.
So far 31 GPS systems have been taken, 3 laptops and one incident where $800 was stolen.
Connolly urges resident to remove belonging, especially expensive electronic equipment, from their vehicles.
“The best thing to do is not leave these items in plain sight,” said Connolly.
Also, Connolly said if residents see anything or anyone suspicious to call 911.