FISHERS, Ind. – Fishers authorities are warning residents to be extremely vigilant after the department was called in to investigate multiple home burglaries over the past week.
According to Fishers Police, the department has received approximately nine reports of residential burglaries in the past year, several of which recently occurred in the Masthead and Hamilton Proper neighborhoods.
Homeowners reported missing jewelry, cash and firearms, according to police, who said many burglaries they investigated appeared to target a home’s master bedroom.
“Most of the burglaries we have seen are forced entries; smash the windows, targeted in the master bedroom so they can just try to quickly grab jewelry and other valuables out of the master bedroom and leave before anyone sees them,” Officer Jessica Stout said.
“A lot of these burglaries have been targeted specifically around jewelry, so more high-end homes, their jewelry is stored out in the open and it can be very high-value items,” she said, in showing us the neighborhoods where the crimes were reported.
Stout, who works at the Fishermen’s Police Department’s public information office, said most of the break-ins occurred late at night. Police believe they have identified those allegedly involved.
“It appears to be a group of thieves, South American Theft Group (SATG). These are groups that form in South America, often in Colombia, and they are actually educated on how to commit these types of burglaries,” Stout said.
Stout said SATG members often enter a country on a travel visa, commit theft and then send the profits back to their group.
“It happens in all kinds of places. This happens in the US, UK, Australia; it happens everywhere, but these groups are really trained in how to commit this type of theft,” Stout said.
Stout said the department has several people who work full-time in its intelligence unit to try to identify crime trends, why these crimes may be happening and where those responsible are from, so they can try adapt their font to trends. .
“Our intelligence unit and our detectives work together to find the strategies criminals are using so we can better combat this,” Stout said.
She said while they urge residents to be hyper-vigilant, they aren’t necessarily concerned about individuals with violent intentions.
“The good news is that in these thefts, part of the education is trying to avoid conflict with the owner, so it’s kind of reassuring to know that, even if so, they are trying to commit a crime. , they try to avoid contact with you,” Stout said.
Police said individuals can come to a neighborhood three, four, or even five times to sense what is happening in the neighborhoods so they can do their best to avoid people altogether.
“It’s really specific when people aren’t at home. So the group they’ll kind of drive through the neighborhood to see a model of what the owners are doing,” Stout said.
That’s why, Stout said, people should take extra precautions to protect their homes.
Stout recommends people invest in home security or a doorbell system. As we scoured the Hamilton Proper and Masthead neighborhoods on Monday, she pointed out some properties that appeared to have increased security, which can be crucial in helping to deter crime and monitor what’s going on outside your home. and in the neighborhood.
“A lot of these homes have an ADT sign or other security system signs, and while those are a deterrent, you actually have to use your security system, so make sure that even if you’re in the house the night or while you’re away, go ahead and arm your security system,” she said.
The Fisherman Police have offered the following home safety tips to residents:
- Install outdoor lights at all entrances and consider motion sensor lights
- Install a wide angle viewer on all exterior doors
- Don’t open the door to someone you don’t know. Always check before opening
- Install good locks on all doors and windows and use the locks
- Make sure door and window locks can be opened quickly in the event of a fire
- Leave a light on when you’re not home. If you’re on vacation, use a timer to control the lighting.
- Do not hide spare keys outside
- Remove house keys from your key ring when your car is being serviced
- Stop mail and newspaper delivery when you’re away
- Install an alarm system that will detect entry and notify the police
- Mow your lawn or shovel your driveway when you’re away
- Close garage doors at night
- Keep trees and bushes trimmed and don’t let plants block doors or windows
The police also recommend that you speak with trusted neighbours; keep an eye on their house and have them watch yours.
That’s what resident Jennifer Ferrar told her neighbors. The moment they discovered the reported burglaries, she said they immediately reached out to each other.
“I heard about it on Nextdoor and then quickly went to see my neighbors who were all on a neighborhood texting channel and so obviously a lot of us are working from home so we’re aware. We’re watching through our windows,” Ferrar said. “We’re like a neighborhood text string, if anyone needs help, we’re always here.
Ferrar said she was worried to hear about the break-ins, but grateful they had received so much information so she could know what precautions to take.
“I know we’re not crime-free, but in a beautiful neighborhood like this, that’s very concerning to me,” Stout said. “I have kids, a lot of people in this neighborhood have kids and I think that’s the scariest thing.”
Ferrar said his neighbors will continue to do what is recommended by authorities, including making sure their alarm systems are armed even during the day, watching for suspicious individuals or vehicles that appear to be out of place, and reporting any which is unusual to the police.
“No one deserves to become a victim, however, there are things you can do to protect yourself,” Stout said. “I think people have a sense of convenience when they live in a neighborhood that feels safe.”
While police believe it’s an orchestrated effort and said those likely responsible enter strangers’ homes and steal, Stout said every crime like this feels particularly personal to a victim. They hope to prevent someone else from going through this.
“As a landlord bringing a stranger into your home, it can feel very personal. It’s an invasion of your privacy that can be really unsettling,” Stout said. “So we just want to spread the word about it to try to prevent that from happening because you’re a victim and in more than one way and that can be a very difficult thing to deal with.”
Anyone with exterior security cameras living in the Hamilton Proper or Masthead neighborhoods is encouraged to call the Criminal Investigations Division of the Fisherman Police Department at 317-595-3300.
If you see suspicious people, vehicles or activity, call 911 immediately, police said. They also offered advice on what might constitute suspicious activity and said these were suggestions only. If something looks out of place, call the police:
- Adults or teenagers casually walking around the neighborhood looking out windows, backyards, vehicles, etc.
- A vehicle moving slowly through your neighborhood with or without lights on
- Something wakes you up in the night
- someone you don’t know is ringing your doorbell
- An unknown car parked near your home containing one or more people
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