Police chief issues warning to residents: home burglaries are on the rise 07/25/2023 ● By Richard Gaw Staff Writer
Following the delivery of his department head update – which summarized Kennett Township’s police activity during the month of June -- Police Chief Matthew Gordon devoted the remainder of his report at the July 18 Kennett Township Board of Supervisors meeting to an increasingly growing reality.
Home burglaries in the area are rising at the rate of sea levels.
Referring to a recent spate of crimes that have occurred throughout New Castle County, Gordon said that the two areas most affected border the township – Greenville, where the average cost of a home in 2022 was $706,620 -- and Hockessin, where an average home last year was valued at $378,418. According to a story that appeared in the News Journal on July 7, burglars have also targeted residences along the Kennett Pike corridor and are “bouncing back and forth” between Kennett Square and New Garden Township.
The perpetrators are known to be South American crime rings identified as “theft groups” or “crime tourists” that arrive in the U.S. under visa waiver programs. Once in the U.S., they join a highly-sophisticated global network of thieves who target the homes of mostly Asian and Middle Eastern families, who are known to keep expensive jewelry and cash in their homes rather than in a bank.
“We’ve been getting information from the New Castle County Police Department that there are organized Colombian gangs out of New York City targeting small business owners – especially Asians and Middle Easterners,” Gordon said. “They will identify a target, then split their crews and monitor the homeowners’ home and their business and figure out when they will not be home.
“Recently, we had a burglary where we believe that after talking with the New Castle County Police Department, the [victims] were targeted because they were members of a golf course, and there were several other members of that golf course who were burglarized as well. While these burglaries are not connected, they are both organized.”
This recent crime wave is not just confined to New Castle County and southern Chester County. These criminal enterprises are known to travel from state to state, targeting expensive homes and shipping the stolen items back to their home countries.
“You don’t think it can happen here, but with the ‘Haves’ and the ‘Have-Nots,’ you are the ‘Haves,’ and they are coming here to get what you have,” said Gordon, who listed a series of home safety tips that was created by the New Castle County Police Department.
Tips on keeping your home safe
1. Consult with your homeowner’s association on the installation of Automated License Plate Readers at the entrance/exit of neighborhoods.
2. Secure Doors and Windows: Install solid exterior doors with deadbolt locks and reinforced frames. Use high-quality locks on all doors and consider upgrading to smart locks for added security. Install window locks on all accessible windows and reinforce glass with security film or laminates.
3. Install a comprehensive home security system that includes burglar alarms, motion sensors, and security cameras. Display signs or stickers indicating the presence of a security system, which can act as a deterrent.
4. Install motion-sensor lights around the perimeter of your home, particularly near entry points. Ensure that pathways, entrances, and dark areas are well-lit to minimize hiding spots for potential burglars.
5. Join or establish a neighborhood watch program to create a sense of community and collective security. Communicate with your neighbors, report suspicious activities, and look out for one another.
6. Keep valuable items, such as jewelry, cash, and important documents, in a secure safe or lockbox. Avoid leaving valuable items in plain sight through windows or in easily accessible areas.
7. Maintain a well-maintained appearance of your home to deter potential burglars. Use timers for lights and electronic devices to create the illusion of occupancy when you're away.
8. Avoid sharing vacation plans or posting about being away from home on social media. Burglars can exploit this information to target unoccupied houses.
9. Install security bars or grilles on vulnerable entry points such as basement windows or sliding doors. Consider reinforcing doors with door jammers or security plates to prevent forced entry.
10. Be aware of your surroundings and report any suspicious activities to local authorities. Consider installing surveillance cameras to monitor and record activities around your property.
11. Report suspicious persons and vehicles to 9-1-1
Source: New Castle County Police Department
New Castle County Police Advise:
All residents should leave their outside lights on at night and install at least one night sensor light bulb(s) in the house, as they would discourage theft.
(HOA Boards suggest residents to install outdoor light sensitive light bulbs.
HOA Boards also suggest installing a locking-door-knob on the first-floor basement door so intruders/thieves cannot come up to the first floor from the basement.)
1/12/2022 Community Meeting Police information:
Cpl Sunny Allen
New Castle Community Service Unit
A. Regarding the neighborhood burglaries Det.
Contact: Matthew Arnold is assigned this case anyone with specific questions
can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
B. Please signing up cell phones for emergency alerts, the link is below
The link for the DEMA portal.
C. DENS Alert Sign up:
The Delaware Emergency Notification System (DENS) is the primary system for public warning and emergency protective action information in the State of Delaware. Municipalities, Counties, and State Agencies utilize the system to inform and warn the public during emergencies that adversely affect the health, safety, and welfare of Delaware citizens.
Cpl Sunny Allen
New Castle County Community Service Unit