Burglaries Hit Another Milestone in April
April surpassed March as the month with the most burglaries in recent history.
In fact, while other index crimes slipped in April, burglaries reached a level not seen in Fair Lawn in recent history. The borough's 13 April burglaries topped the previous recent high of 12, set in March. Over the past three months, Fair Lawn has experienced just four fewer burglaries than it did in all of 2009.
Stores and restaurants have been the hardest hit in recent months, with non-residences (i.e. stores, offices, etc.) accounting for more than 70 percent of the 25 burglaries in March and April.
Police attribute a number of the recent commercial jobs, including the five businesses hit on April 22, to a single serial burglar who's believed to have committed close to 150 burglaries in northern New Jersey since 2009.
The county prosecutor's office has formed a task force to focus on catching the individual, whom police say never deviates from what has been his highly successful smash-and-grab break-in method.
In April, police began deploying additional patrolmen over the midnight hours to try and cut down on the rash of overnight commercial burglaries.
"We took a proactive initiative and put some plainclothes officers and plainclothes detectives out overnight with the direct mission of just looking for nothing else but suspicious activity related to burglaries," Detective Lt. Michael Uttel said in April.
Even with added patrol, stopping burglaries or solving ones that are committed can be hit-or-miss.
"Burglaries are one of the more difficult crimes to solve," Uttel said. "A lot of times there's no physical evidence, no witnesses and no leads."
After decreasing steadily from 2002 to 2009, Fair Lawn’s burglary rate has spiked dramatically over the past couple years.
By the end of 2011, annual burglaries had reached a nine-year high, more than doubling since their decade-low count in 2009. Since the start of the new year, burglaries have increased another 55 percent on top of last year's peak.
For the first four months of each year:
|Total Index Crimes||173||178||+3%|
|Total Clearance Rate||34.6%||39.3%|
Burglaries by month for the past five months:
|December 2011||January 2012||February 2012||March 2012||April 2012|
For a full breakdown of the last six years of Fair Lawn's UCR data:
|Motor Vehicle Theft||15||16||16||13||13||3|
*2012 crime statistics are through April.