Archive for Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Burglary cases are all over map

Analysis of reports shows no pattern

October 2, 2012


Denis Yoder’s Father’s Day slumber was interrupted by a noise at a rear sliding glass door at his west Lawrence home earlier this summer.

By the numbers

Between May 1 and Aug. 31, there were 94 aggravated home burglaries reported in Lawrence, although six did not have available police reports.

Here’s the monthly breakdown from the available reports:

• May: 24

• June: 23

• July: 29

• August: 12


In 43 cases, the victims knew when the burglary occurred. In 45 cases, only a time range was known.

In the cases when time of offense was known, the burglary happened:

• 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.: 13

• 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.: 12

• 4 a.m. to 6 a.m.: 12

• 6 a.m. to noon: 4

• Noon to 11 p.m.: 2

Day of the week crimes were reported

Monday: 15

Tuesday: 16

Wednesday: 9

Thursday: 5

Friday: 15

Saturday: 13

Sunday: 15

Location, with city divided east to west by Iowa Street, and north to south by Bob Billings Parkway or 15th Street

Northwest: 27

Northeast: 21

Southwest: 19

Southeast: 22

“I just heard some rustling,” said Yoder, who flipped on a light and yelled.

An intruder, who opened the unlocked screen door, fled as Yoder called police shortly before 4 a.m. June 17.

Nothing was taken, but the incident changed the way Yoder and his family think about home safety.

“More than a little disconcerting,” said Yoder, who was a victim of one of 94 aggravated home burglaries — those in which someone was home during the crime — reported to police between May and the end of August, according to records supplied by Lawrence police.

A Journal-World analysis of those burglary reports shows what police have been saying for the past several months: There really doesn’t seem to be a strong pattern of where or how the crimes are occurring.

The crimes are just as likely on the weekend as the weekdays and just as common in northwest Lawrence as in the southeast part of the city.

“It provides a tremendous challenge,” said Lawrence Police Sgt. Trent McKinley as he looked over a burglary map created from the burglary reports.

The crimes started in southwest Lawrence, McKinley said, and police increased patrol efforts in those areas. Then burglary reports shifted north, then east, then west, until any discernible patterns washed away.

What also changed was how burglars were gaining entry, and their boldness.

In May, as police began reporting the spike, many of the homes, such as Yoder’s, were being entered through an unlocked back door or garage door. As public awareness increased and police urged residents to lock doors and leave on lights, police began seeing more forced-entry burglaries. About half of the reported cases involve forced entry.

In one case, McKinley said, burglars even entered through front door and walked right past residents sleeping in a living room.

Clearance rate

While police have increased efforts and made solving and preventing crimes a top priority, the randomness of the burglaries has left a less-than-impressive clearance rate. Of the 94 burglaries analyzed by the Journal-World, police have arrested eight suspects for 10 burglaries.

But those figures are deceptive, McKinley said.

One factor is that residents are reporting more of the crimes, some of which, in the past, may have been brushed aside, McKinley said. With the increased focus on home burglaries, even someone rattling at a door or screen gets a police call.

While that may affect how clearance rates look, that’s what police want, McKinley said. They want local residents to call them.

Even attempted burglaries, or what seem like brief and unsuccessful burglary attempts, help police track crimes and could lead to a clue that helps solve other cases.

“We may get something out of that,” he said.

And while police may suspect that someone who’s been arrested also is guilty of other crimes, police are left with the cases they can prove, McKinley said.

More clearances may be on the horizon, though, as evidence testing results begin trickling in from the lab. In many of the cases, police have collected fingerprints or other DNA that they hope will produce suspects in some of the crimes from months ago.

Simple measures

The same advice to Lawrence residents to prevent home burglaries that’s been repeated for months holds true, McKinley said.

Lock your doors, keeps exterior lights on, pay close attention to activity in your neighborhood and notify police of anything unusual.

“None of that has changed,” he said.

For residents such as Yoder, who’s lived at his home for 15 years and has never had a previous burglary attempt, home safety, unfortunately, gets top billing now. The family has updated its security system and added motion-detecting lights, among other measures.

In the past, the family didn’t always twist that lock at the back door in their quiet neighborhood.

“We do now,” Yoder said.

Google form

Burglaries by day of week

Burglaries by day of the week between May 1 and Aug. 31. Numbers provided by Lawrence Police Department.

Google form

Burglaries by time of day

Burglaries by time of day for crimes between May 1 and Aug. 31.

Google form

Burglaries by month

Burglaries reported to Lawrence police by month.

Google Map

Weekly crime recap, 9/23-9/29

View Lawrence crime week of 9/23-9/29 in a larger map

A recap of crimes we've reported on this week.

Google Map

Burglary map

A map of 88 burglaries reported to Lawrence police between May 1 and Aug. 31. Locations are block specific and do not pertain to a particular address in an attempt to protect victim privacy. The crimes listed include those defined as aggravated burglary, meaning someone was home at the time of the crime.


Richard Heckler 1 year, 6 months ago

As long as repubs never vote on a jobs bill or do nothing about the jobs that were lost due the Bush/Cheney reckless home loan policies expect crime to increase.

Republicans promote crime not only in our neighborhoods but in the USA financial institutions.

Jobs jobs jobs jobs that pay more than $33,000 per year will reduce crime. So I say.


Carol Bowen 1 year, 6 months ago

The burglaries are not random, and it's not that hard to figure out. When jobs are down, robberies go up. Everybody's got to eat. If i were hungry, I'd empty your freezer. In some cases it's harder to support substance abuse in a tough job market. Or, maybe it's the challenge and thrill..

  1. Where to find good stuff.
  2. Access.
  3. Opportunity.
  4. Need

If you have items that are easy to take and easy to sell or use, you are vulnerable. Cash, computers, (especially laptops), big screen TVs, handheld electronic devices, clothing, jewelry, silver, car keys and car. If you live in the student community or a neighborhood that is likely to have these things, you need more security. Start with the usual reinforced doors with dead bolts, lock windows, jam sliding doors. Don't leave your keys out. ADT is not cheap, but effective. Students should get tenants insurance. Eliminate access and opportunity. The police department provides more information when requested.


Mike Gerhardt 1 year, 6 months ago

Solution: ADT alarm system. Sig P-220 .45 by the night stand. Remington riot 870 with aattached light in the corner. Wife has .357 Magnum S&W on her night stand. CAR-15 with laser and two 30 round clips in the other corner. 80 pound Golden Retriever sleeping on bed.


oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 6 months ago

So how do the crimes compare with population increases?

Is this yet another scheme by the LPD as it was around 1978 when the Crime Programs were rampant in Lawrence and the federal money went to the Police Department and a neighborhood group got money and squandered it on salaries and rent for a house and salaries that were way above the local wage market. Professors and lawyers involved too. Who would have thought it!


pace 1 year, 6 months ago

I really appreciate the weekly map. I hope it becomes a regular feature.


oldbaldguy 1 year, 6 months ago

i hope none of you have to ever shoot anyone. it is not as easy as you think and unless you are a sociopath it will always be with you. however if someone is in your home on a burglary, you have the right to defend yourself and your family.


jackbinkelman 1 year, 6 months ago

Some of those clusters may be near where the perps live. Underage [or not], walks to site & crimes of opportunity. Also copy cat crimes. Just my theory on the map.


FlintlockRifle 1 year, 6 months ago

Not many burglars can run 1200 feet per second, thats whats next to our bed, plus alarms on all doors and windows, so not much of a chance someone inside our home that wasn't there when we went to bed.


PhilChiles 1 year, 6 months ago

I know this may not be a "politically correct" thing to say, but if anyone tries this at my house, I will be using the nuclear bomb I keep under my pillow. SORRY LIBERALS.


Lynn731 1 year, 6 months ago

If these aggravated burglaries keep going as they have, eventually someone will be hurt or killed. It may be the home owner, or the burglar. It is difficult for me to fathom people leaving doors or windows unlocked, but they do. Also, you do not have to have a dog to benefit from them. I saw a device with a sensor that can sense movement through doors, if it senses movement it barks like a huge dog. It cost about $100. What is your life and the lives of your family worth? Lock all doors, have motion sensing flood lights on each corner of your home outside, have a burglar alarm that has a loud siren to wake you up in time to do something, have a dog that barks. If not a real dog, take a look at the one mentioned above. Having a firearm is your choice, but people have shot family members when awakened suddenly. If you have one, you need to have a warning so you are awake and thinking right. We have all of the above at our home, plus outside dusk to dawn lights. The dog is real. So is the .45 beside our bed. Be careful, your lives may depend on it.


ddhawkfan 1 year, 6 months ago

"Oh, Hello there, that front door you decided to kick in was NOT locked for my protection, but for yours, now you are on the wrong end of this fancy red laser pointer..." I'm waiting for the day some dumb kid decides to make me a victim. He/she will poop (g-rated) themselves, end of story.


g_rock 1 year, 6 months ago

So only HALF of these crimes were forced entry. The rest were unlocked doors, cars and garages. You non-lockers are contributing to the crime rate just out of carelessness and being lazy. Thanks!


reality_check79 1 year, 6 months ago

lol cops skirt chasing and not patrolling is allowing homes to be broken into??? these are crimes of opportunity not lack of police!!! Unlocked doors, windows, and garages not closed are the issue, not police on every corner... Take some responsibility people, lock your house up!!!


skinny 1 year, 6 months ago

Cator to the homeless and they will come!! Far and wide they come from!!


lawrenceguy40 1 year, 6 months ago

I predicted this would happen before the last Presidential election. We have a President who tells people that they do not have to work, the government will tax the rich and pay them for being bums. When people hear that message, some believe that they can cut out the middle man and go help themselves. barry o claims hard-working people have too much money, so why shouldn't his supporters go out, find a nice house where the owners are obviously evil rich folks (barry o's definition would include most people with a non-minimum wage job) and take from them as they sleep in their beds. The dems want to do it by raiding your salary, so why shouldn't an entitled bum take what he wants too.

Don't believe me - listen to the comments from barry o's supporters November 2008. "I won't have to pay for my gas anymore!" and "Obama will pay my rent", were two I heard widely on the news outlets. barry o supporters really believe that the government will make them rich. That is what he tells them - the rich are evil, I'll make you rich by taxing them out of existence!

Be careful with you vote this November!



Liberty275 1 year, 6 months ago

Usually a medium-sized dog will prevent burglarizes. It's funny how things work out in the end - if you don't like dogs, there is a greater chance your stuff will be stolen.


mom_of_three 1 year, 6 months ago

are these burglaries related to the car burglaries and destruction of December??


ssakcaj 1 year, 6 months ago

The police say there isn't a pattern but that isn't true. There is a pattern on the Google maps data set of clusters by location. The other that data could show but doesn't is whether there is a correlation between days of the week and the burglaries. You would have all the burglaries on Monday be one color, Tuesday a different color and see if there is a pattern. Finally, you would show the burglaries by time of day and use the same color scheme. The pattern is there, they just aren't asking the right questions.


David Albertson 1 year, 6 months ago

Lawrence is going to sh!t and the LPD is unable to do anything about it. I don't know what the solution is but something needs to change. I'm not a big proponent of guns but I do keep a loaded 12 gauge in my bedroom for this very reason. I was broken in to 3 times when I lived in Lawrence. Luckily for them I wasn't home at the time because they would have been eating hot lead.


LeBo 1 year, 6 months ago

Nothing random about dead hamburgulars!


Ron Holzwarth 1 year, 6 months ago

"While police have increased efforts and made solving and preventing crimes a top priority, the randomness of the burglaries has left a less-than-impressive clearance rate."

If the perpetrators of these crimes faced a similar randomness in the number of homeowners all ready to utter "Go ahead, make my day," and then carry out the meaning of the phrase, I think that crime rates would be much lower.


joes_donuts 1 year, 6 months ago

How about the LPD puts as many officers on patrol in neighborhoods as they do chasing 20 yr old college girls in short skirts drinking?


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