By Sean Patrick Murphy
Medford residents are being put on alert by the police department because of a surge in crime.
Medford Police Lt. Jeffrey Wagner said his department has seen an increase in residential, commercial, and vehicle burglaries consistent with an increase in surrounding municipalities.
He said the uptick in burglaries began in May.
There have been a total of 33 burglaries year to date, including both residential and commercial, Lt. Wagner said. These have included the theft of jewelry, electronics, antiques, and scrap metal.
Also, he said there have been 25 vehicle burglaries, most from cars left unlocked overnight in residential areas.
“We attribute the overall increase in crime to substance abuse and the economic downturn,” Lt. Wagner said. “The high price of gold and precious metals, which can easily be sold at area pawn and jewelry shops, has provided drug users an easy way to turn stolen jewelry into quick cash.”
He said patrol officers and detectives are working diligently to identify the perpetrators of these crimes. An investigative team meeting was held recently with detectives from surrounding jurisdictions to compare notes and leads from other towns.
Here is the information sent to all Medford residents from the Medford Township Police Department:
• keep your home and vehicles locked and secured;
• activate alarm systems if available;
• have mail held or retrieved by family/friends if on vacation;
• have a “house check” by police while on vacation;
• call “911” with reports of suspicious activity. Things to observe:
• description of suspicious person(s);
• description of suspicious vehicle(s);
• location and/or direction of travel;
• any other unique or odd activity.
“Homeowners need to be familiar with their neighbors in order to know when something seems out of place,” Lt. Wagner said. “It is through this cooperation that the police are able to develop investigative leads that often times lead to the arrest of these criminals.