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Police Strike Team targets burglaries in Marysville
MARYSVILLE — The Marysville Police Strike Team was formed on May 8 as part of a planned six-week emphasis on burglary within the city, which had gone above the five-year averages for recent months.
Nearly two months later, the Strike Team is a few weeks past its original end date, but with burglary numbers plunging well below the five-year averages for the month of June, the Marysville Police Department is doing what it can to keep the program going.
“We’ve made 85 burglary-related arrests since the Strike Team was started,” Marysville Police Lt. Darin Rasmussen said. “Among the stolen property we’ve recovered has been five handguns, four cars, a computer, 100 ounces of silver, $20,000 worth of jewelry that has a hold on it, and an antique boat motor from the 1930s.”
Rasmussen acknowledged that the formation of the Strike Team was prompted by a dramatic spike in burglaries in the first quarter of 2012, which inspired Marysville Police Chief Rick Smith to make it a priority. Members of the existing Pro-Act Team were incorporated, as were three patrol officers and the K-9 unit, the latter as needed, but Rasmussen characterized the burglary emphasis as a group effort that, in a number of different ways, encompasses the entire department.
“The Strike Team is the tip of the spear,” said Rasmussen, who also credited the department’s crime analysis detective with sussing out patterns in the city’s burglaries from the dates, times and locations in which they’re reported. “We’re looking at the ‘hot spots’ for burglary in Marysville, and looking to change people’s ideas about when such burglaries tend to occur.”
Contrary to most crime dramas, Rasmussen explained that most residential burglaries happen during the day, when homeowners and families are out of the house.
“There’s a lot you can do to avoid becoming a burglary victim,” Rasmussen said. “Pick up your papers every day, or have someone do it for you if you’re going to be out of town. Pay attention to who belongs in your neighborhood, and call us if anything seems suspicious. We’ve gone through neighborhoods and talked to people who have said after burglaries, ‘Oh, well it didn’t seem quite right, but I didn’t want to bother you.’”
Officer Molly Ingram, one of the Strike Team members, added that a number of local homeowners still leave their doors unlocked, which makes it needlessly easy for would-be burglars.
“There’s not one typical caricature of a burglar,” Rasmussen said. “Narcotics are a common denominator, but they’re not always involved. What’s often true is that burglars tend to associate with other people who are involved in burglary, even if it’s just fencing those stolen goods. If we apprehend the right suspect, we can close a lot of other cases just by backtracking.”
Although the 70 arrests that the Strike Team made within its first six weeks persuaded the department to extend its lease on life, Rasmussen conceded that this measure comes at a cost.
“That’s three officers we’re taking out of patrol,” Rasmussen said. “We’re backfilling them with overtime, but we have to think long and hard about what we’ll be doing next, since it’s all about maximizing our resources for the community’s benefit.”
Like all her fellow Strike Team members, Ingram volunteered to serve on the team, and she praised her teammates for the skills they bring to the table, including each officer’s familiarity with the various names, faces and vehicles that have been involved in Marysville burglaries.
“We can’t be everywhere, though, so the more calls we can get from the community, the safer we can help make them,” said Ingram, who takes the time to stop and talk with residents of various neighborhoods. “I want to thank them for being our eyes and ears, and I want to urge them to trust their instincts about what seems suspicious.”