Neighborhood sees jump in break-ins

November 7, 2008
By

DAVID TABER

MOSS/JAMAICA HILLS—In what some residents say they think is a sign of the economic times, burglars have been targeting the neighborhood in recent months.

According to an advisory issued by Boston Police Department (BPD) District E-13 Community Service Officer Eric Krause, the police responded to nine break-ins in the area in September and October.

Most of them occurred during the day, the advisory says.

“I don’t know if it is related to the economy or what,” said area resident and Jamaica Hills Association secretary Marie Morelli.

Morelli, who also helps coordinate the Jamaica Hills Crime Watch, said the burglars appear professional. They have almost exclusively stolen expensive jewelry, and they are “very quick. They wear gloves. I understand there have been no fingerprints lifted.”

Susan Specter of Moss Hill Road told the Gazette her home was burglarized on the weekend of Oct. 11, while she and her husband were away.

The couple installed an alarm on the first floor of the house when they were robbed 20 years ago, Specter said. But this time the burglars climbed up to a second floor porch and in through a bedroom window. They dumped Specter’s jewelry onto the bed and picked through it. “They only took the good stuff,” Specter said.

The burglars then left the house through the back door, tripping the alarm, but not before they grabbed the Specters’ car keys. They escaped in the Specters’ car before the police arrived.

“What was not very smart on our part is my jewelry was in a basket. If I had a safe I would be a happier person right now,” Specter said.

Two of the other break-ins were also on Moss Hill Road. There were also two on Louder’s Lane, and one each on Allandale Road, Cedarwood Road, Pond Street and Hillcroft Road.

According to police reports, an arrest was made in a Sept. 19 daytime breaking and entering on Pond Street.

Acting E-13 commander Lt. Michael Kern, said the police response is a coordinated effort between uniformed police and detectives.

He would not say if there are currently any suspects in any of the burglary cases.

There is an increased police presence in the area, he said. “At this point we are conducting a field interrogation and observation (FIO) whenever we speak with anyone,” there is reason to be suspicious about.

Those interactions can be the result of 911 calls or of direct police observation, and they will lead to a report “regardless of whether the person has a legitimate reason or a good reason to be there,” Kern said.

“I have conducted FIOs on residents,” he said. The purpose, he said, is to collect as much information as possible.

In the advisory, Krause wrote that E-13 police had stopped a suspect “shortly after the breaking and entering on Hillcroft Road, but there was not enough evidence to make an arrest. This suspect is described as a black male, 19 years old, 6 feet tall and 140 lbs.”

He also wrote that police recently “responded to investigate a suspicious person knocking on the front and rear doors of 72 Woodland Road. The suspect in the area of Moss Hill was described as a white male or a white Hispanic male, about 30 years old operating a tan motor vehicle possibly a Volkswagen, but he was gone on police arrival.”

Police are meeting regularly with Crime Watch leaders and attending community meetings, Kern said.

“I brought the leadership of E-13 over to a Jamaica Hills Association meeting a couple of weeks ago,” said state Rep. Jeffery Sánchez, who lives in Moss Hill. “We have been working to get the message out that people need their doors and windows closed.”

Sánchez also urged neighbors to join Crime Watch groups. “We all need to be vigilant together,” he said.

Kern said that anyone observing anyone acting suspicious should not approach the person and should call 911. People calling from cell phones should dial 617-343-4911.

Safety tips and information on how to volunteer with the neighborhood Crime Watch are available in the Jamaica Hills Association newsletter. For a copy of the newsletter, e-mail advocate@jamaicahills.org.