Warm Weather Brings Increase in Local Burglaries - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Warm Weather Brings Increase in Local Burglaries

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At Reno Police Department headquarters, the basement is full…holding just a fraction of what they recover from burglaries. There are 2 other warehouses with more. Walking through aisles of brown bags with numbers scrawled on them, Sgt. Roya Mason told us, "This is just a small portion of what we collect in crimes, whether they're burglaries or person crimes. Burglaries are always an ongoing problem."

Across town in Sparks, detectives lay out the bounty from just one burglary bust. Giving us the walking tour of stolen goods outside their police headquarters, Detective Stephen Fiore said, "All of this came from one location where we had several people committing burglaries in the Sparks-Reno area."

He walked us past tables full of stolen items, and more stolen items…going out the door and into the parking lot. All of it was recovered from one house, now waiting for their rightful owners to pick up. Detective Fiore told us, "We've had people come in looking at these things today and telling me, 'Yeah, I was in my garage, left my garage for 5 minutes, went to the backyard.' Next thing you know, somebody's taken something from your garage."

Burglaries typically mirror the unemployment rate, which is still high. But as we found out at the Reno PD, they also spike during the summer months. Vehicle burglaries peak in summer, home burglaries rise in summer and peak in fall. Sgt. Mason says "It's because people do leave their windows open. They tend to leave their house unlocked because kids are out of school and coming and going."

Back in Sparks, Detective Fiore says burglars have also changed their tactics...they're more skilled. "There's all kinds of things on the internet about how to access and steal things. So yeah, I think they are getting smarter." His recommendations? "You just really have to keep your car locked, your house locked."

You should do something…police admit most people who break into homes will probably never be caught. Burglaries account for more crimes than murders, rapes, robberies and assaults combined…but burglaries are the least likely to be solved. Nationwide, barely more than 1 in 10 cases will be solved, according to the FBI.

That rate is similar here, where police can only recover what they can. Too often, homeowners don't keep track of product serial numbers. Recovering those items is nearly impossible. As Sgt. Mason told us, "On TV, every result always comes back with a positive match to someone, and in reality that's not the case."

Sgt. Mason says you have to make your home unattractive to thieves, "By keeping shrubbery away from your windows and doors, and keeping your front door visible from the street view." She says if the crooks see these things, they'll avoid your house…and go somewhere else.

-written by John Potter

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