Police: Home Burglaries On The Rise

Liz Dorland

Police: Home Burglaries On The Rise

CREATED Oct. 17, 2012

Omaha, NE --  Omaha Police say homes are being broken into left and right, and it's happening on all corners of the city. 

Police call it "a crime of opportunity" and it's a reality thousands of people across the Omaha have sadly had to learn. Monique Clark lives near 84Th and "C" Streets.  Clark lives in fear after someone kicked in her back door.  Just a few weeks ago, she returned home to discover shattered glass all over her floor.  "When I went in, my 50-inch flat screen TV was taken, food out of the freezer was taken, the rent money was taken and it's scary cause I've got kids," says the mother.

West Omaha homeowner Trel Wemhoff knows her pain.  She had been unloading groceries when an unwanted visitor came into her garage and snatched her purse. A couple of days later, her doorbell rang.  Wemhoff explains, "I go and answer the door and someone asks 'Is Ashley home?' and I just said, 'I'm sorry no Ashley lives here'. He walked away and I wrote down his license plate number just thinking that's very odd."

Wemhoff didn't think listen to the voice inside her head telling her to stay home that night.  She believes that same man returned, broke-out her basement window, drove off with her new SUV and much more.  "I'd just gotten a foot chopped off my hair to donate to Locks-of-Love, and that happened to be in the vehicle," Wemhoff says.

She admits, "Maybe we should have been more paranoid about the guy knocking on the door, and know that was them scoping out whether we were home or not."

Omaha Police report a rise in burglaries to Crimemapping.com. In August thieves targeted 299 homes. In September, 291 homes were burglarized and so far in October, 127 places have been broke-into.  Officer Michael Bratcher says, "It's a good time to get to know your neighbors."

Police say thugs won't only look for open doors and garages, but will try a vehicle left out at night.  "If they can get the door handle open, they can get your garage door opener and anything else you've left in there, and all those items can lead them into your house at a later time," advises Ofcr. Bratcher.

Police urge people to be aware of not only what's happening on your street but who might be there.

"It's not the neighborhood you live in, it's who could be driving by and who could be watching," adds Wemhoff.

Cops say adding motion detection lights, closing your garage door, locking ALL doors and removing large landscaping that blocks windows are just a few things that  will help keep your home safe.  Omaha Police also urge people to call 911 if you see anything suspicious happening in your neighborhood.

Additional crime prevention tips can be found at: http://opd.ci.omaha.ne.us/crime-information/prevention/crime-prevention-tips#2
and: http://opd.ci.omaha.ne.us/images/stories/BusBeatOct09.pdf

Reported By: Liz Dorland, ldorland@action3news.com