FLINT TWP. —Break-ins and home invasions recently have increased at an alarming rate, Police Chief George Sippert reported to the township Board of Trustees at its Monday night meeting.
Sippert said his review of crime statistics for the past two months found 55 incidences in August and 23 so far this month.
“So far this year we have had 377 which is over one a day,’’ Sippert said, cautioning that many of them occurred in vacant structures where thieves target copper piping.
“ We still are having more than we should,’’ he said.
Retail fraud, commonly known as shoplifting, also is on the rise. Sippert said there have been 516 arrests this year.
“ That’s a rather alarming figure too,’’ he said considering that most retail fraud cases are handled internally and not reported to police.
Police officers are kept busy keeping up. Since the last board meeting 13 days ago, Sippert said township officers responded to 1,206 calls. About a third of those were priority one calls requiring a response from more than one police officer. That averages out to about 93 calls for police service per 24-hour period. Calls for help don’t come in nicely spread out over a 24-hour timeframe. They come in at peak times, Sippert said.
Response time sometimes lags due to the heavy call load, he said.
Officer also spend time doing business and residence checks and making traffic stops. Sippert reported that officers made 210 traffic stops in the past 13 days.
Township Supervisor Karyn Miller asked if break-ins were occurring at a certain time of day.
Sippert said it varies but the vacant structures usually are hit during the night. One group was recently arrested at 3 a.m. stripping apartments at the old Drummond Square complex of Flushing Road, he said.
Other calls come in the middle of the day when bolder thieves show up pretending to be construction crews but don’t have permission to be there.
Sippert said home invasions traditionally go up when school resumes and both parents work in a household. Potential thieves operate by ringing the doorbell to see if anyone is home.. If no one answers they walk around to the back and break out a window. If someone answers they make an excuse and leave.
Sippert asked for public help from residents who see suspicious vehicles or activity in the neighborhood to call 9-1-1.
Miller also noted that residents interested in serving their neighborhood crime watch should attend meetings held at the police station on the last Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m.
A Crimestoppers Board is working with Lt. Tim Jones in the police department to get crime watch signs up in neighborhoods, she said.
“ The more eyes we have watching our neighbors the better,’’ she said.