May: Hopewell’s active burglary month

Hopewell Township and Borough saw an unusual increase in burglaries in May.

The majority of May’s burglaries involved vehicles, according to Hopewell Detective Lance Maloney.

“We get car burglaries throughout the year, but it just so happens that we got a little bit of a hit in May,” Detective Lance Maloney said. “However, there has also been burglaries in neighboring communities such as Montgomery, Princeton, Hillsborough and Lawrence.”

In May, Hopewell saw a total of nine car burglaries – eight in the township and one in the borough. Most of them occurred during a period of two weeks, and on the same street or in the same neighborhood.

“It’s not unusual that when we have one car burglary, there are usually two or three on the same street,” Maloney said.

In almost every case, burglars made off with cell phones – in these cases, the majority of them were iPhones – which is something Maloney found to be quite surprising.

“I was very surprised with the phones because a lot of people are attached to their phones 24/7, especially younger kids,” he said. “So, when I saw that there were a couple of cars like that with a couple of phones missing, it just surprised me.”

Burglars also targeted other valuables that were in view and easy to pick up and go, such as laptops, jewelry and wallets. Maloney explained that there are some really simple steps people can take to avoid being victim to these types of crimes, including the most obvious: lock your doors.

“Lock your car doors and don’t leave anything visible in the car that somebody can see easily (GPS, purse, laptop computers, iPhones, iPod),” he said. “If you do leave them in a car, put them in a locked console or locked glove box, but still lock your doors. If you leave that stuff out in the open, they’re [burglars] most likely going to try your car door. If you have a garage, park your car in the garage and lock it. But, if you do park it in your driveway, if you can have motion sensor lights on your house, that’s a good idea since perpetrators don’t like to be exposed by light.”

Aside from car burglaries, Maloney also explained how May also saw the highest number of home burglaries compared to any other month this year.

“May was not a good month for residential burglaries, either,” he said. “There were six in May, three in April, one in March, one in February, and six in January. However, these numbers include attempted burglaries, too, although the majority of them were actual burglaries where people went into homes and actually took things out.”

Maloney explained how the most obvious way to prevent a home burglary is to lock all of your doors and windows, which some residents in Hopewell don’t do, surprisingly enough.

“Some people do leave their homes unlocked, and we don’t recommend that,” he said. “You should lock your home up, secure your valuables as best as you can, especially if there’s a safe you can put them in. Try not to leave items just lying out and about (laptops, electronics) – things that can be taken easily. If it’s possible to put jewelry in a safe or a safe deposit box secured in your home somewhere, that’s best thing to do because burglars take items that they can just pick up and get out with very quickly.”

Although nearly 15 burglaries were successfully committed in Hopewell during May, no suspects were arrested.

However, Maloney explained that the spike in burglaries for May isn’t that uncommon.

“I think we run in spurts with things,” Maloney said. “Some months, we may only have one burglary, and you’re always going to have theft (shoplifting, somebody’s bike stolen), but it’s not uncommon to see it go in waves. One month it may be very quiet, and then like this May, with home and car burglaries, it was active.”