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Houston leads nation in number of burglaries

Friday, January 04, 2013

Houston is topping a national list, but for all the wrong reasons. According to the FBI, Houston had the highest number of burglaries in the country in 2011. But city officials say those numbers don't show the entire picture.

Just five days into the New Year and workers at the Baskin Robbins on West 43rd St. say they've already become victims to crime.

"Recently we had our tip jar just stolen right off," said Julie Bifano with Baskin Robbins.

The workers say an unidentified man and woman can be seen in surveillance video posing as customers on New Year's Day and were caught on tape stealing the ice cream shop's money when no one was looking.

"It scares me to death. I've been here since '89 and never been worried about anything, always been on the safe side. But it seems like even within the last few months that it's getting worse everywhere," said Bifano.

Theft crimes are a major concern to these workers right now. Especially learning the most recently released FBI data shows Houston ranks number one in the top ten cities for the worst burglaries.

The following numbers have been compiled by the FBI:

  1. Houston - 27,459
  2. Chicago - 26,420
  3. Dallas - 18,727
  4. Phoenix - 18,666
  5. New York - 18,159

The numbers show Houston police were busy responding to nearly 27,500 burglaries in 2011, the last year complete data was collected.

"I think nationally, these things probably trend from city to city going up and down. And I think what usually happens is the community will come together like we are doing now," said business owner Shawn Salyers.

We talked to a local homeowner who tracks crime numbers for his neighborhood. He was surprised that Houston topped the list, and says many times the burglars are not amateurs.

"These guys are well organized," suggested Mike Van Dusen. "They plan ahead of time, they see a neighborhood, learn people's comings and goings, and they hit."

Houston police tell Eyewitness News the number of burglaries across this city has been trending down since 2009. In that year, more than 29,000 burglaries were reported. The crime decreased to just under 28,000 complaints in 2010. And burglaries continued dropping in 2011.

For now, the ice cream shop workers are asking anyone who recognizes the couple to call police.

Houston police say they are still waiting for final crime statistics for 2012. However, police say they are looking at another 4 percent drop in burglaries for last year.


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