Merrillville police ask for citizens to all if they see suspicious activity
By Christin Nance Lazerus email@example.com February 28, 2013 5:16PM
Updated: April 2, 2013 6:35AM
Merrillville Police are urging residents to call 911 as soon as they see anything suspicious in their neighborhoods after a rash of home and business burglaries in the past six months.
Detective Cmdr. Robert Wiley said the burglaries typically occur while residents are at work. As a result, police have been patrolling neighborhoods between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in an effort to catch a burglar in the act.
Wiley said residents who are home during the day could aid police by keeping an eye on their streets and reporting any suspicious behavior. A Wednesday burglary near the Crown Point border indicated the importance of alerting police as soon as possible. A resident saw someone trying to kick in three doors on a neighbor’s house, but didn’t call police until the suspect left the premises on a bicycle with a TV curled under his arm.
“We did stop a guy on a bicycle, but it wasn’t the suspect,” Wiley said.
Wiley’s office has a map of Merrillville on the wall with color-coded pins marking the location of each burglary in the past six months. The north end of town is awash in yellow pins, which Wiley ran out of pretty quickly. He had to replace them with red pins, which have spread south and east over the past few months. Businesses are marked with green or blue pins.
Wiley said it’s not the same set of burglars each time, but quite of few of the suspects have been either unemployed men or juvenile boys who were expelled from school. Typically, they will knock on a door and if no one answers they will try to force their way inside. If someone answers, they will ask “is Jimmy of Trevor there?” and leave when the resident tells them there’s no one who lives here by that name, Wiley said.
There’s no surefire way of deterence, but Wiley suggested leaving the TV on and parking a car that can be viewed from the street.