The town of Milton is on track to have nearly double the number of residential break-ins and nearly triple the number of nighttime car breaks this year over last, according to data collected by Milton police.
In the first six months of 2013, there were 45 housebreaks and 75 car break-ins, compared with 27 and 26, respectively, in 2012.
Police Chief Richard Wells said the problem is not unique to Milton and is being seen throughout the region.
The majority of these crimes are committed by people addicted to drugs, particularly heroin, he said.
“They happen especially during the day,” Wells said. “A big part of the town is out because they have two family members working and no one is home.”
The common factor with most of the car breaks is that the vehicles were unlocked.
With the home break-ins, burglars can often get in through windows that are not secured, he said.
One exceptionally brazen thief entered a home with eight people inside it during the early morning hours of Saturday, July 13, on Herrick Drive. The burglar took a pocketbook, credit cards, cash, keys to other houses, and a laptop computer. The total loss was nearly $18,000, according to Milton Deputy Chief John King.
Entry was made via a rear door that was left open.
These breaks happen because there is a market for the electronics and jewelry that is taken, according to Wells. His staff has tried to create relationships with local pawn shops, but many burglars go out of state to pawn items.
In 2011 and 2012, there were 69 housebreaks, but Milton is on track for 90 this year, Wells said.
Nationally, 13 percent of these crimes is solved, while Milton solves about a quarter of its housebreaks, Wells said.
“It’s still a lot of houses and is something on our radar,” Wells said.
Wells advised residents to secure their belongings and to call police when they see suspicious activities.