Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Burglary is only crime category to increase in 2009

When the Sheriff's Office rolled out its 2009 crime statistics and boasted that crime had decreased more than 10 percent from 2008, one category stood out: burglaries. It was the only crime that was up.

The increase was slight — only 0.1 percent, or 10 more burglaries than the previous year. "Statistically insignificant," Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said.

But compared with other categories, such as assault, vehicle theft, homicide and robbery, which had all dramatically dropped, it was an anomaly.

The largest increase is in residential burglaries, the Sheriff's Office said. And a lot of those seem to be an effect of the recession, Gee said, especially when it comes to people stealing appliances and other items out of vacant and foreclosed homes.

"There's areas of Riverview, Palm River and those areas where there's just entire neighborhoods that are vacant," Gee said. "Some of the banks are doing a fairly decent job, and some of the banks are not doing a good job at managing their property."

A neighborhood breakdown shows Town 'N Country saw the most, with 833 reported in 2009. There were 761 in Brandon, 604 in the University area, 417 in Palm River/Clair-Mel and 361 in Egypt Lake.

Maj. Ronald Hartley, who oversees the county's southeast for the Sheriff's Office, said burglaries were especially high in 2009's first six months. He saw a concentration in the U.S. 301 corridor and South Brandon.

He and other sheriff's officials said burglars often work as loosely-organized groups. They kick in doors when they believe no one is home. Sometimes they'll knock or ring the doorbell first, he said.

Maj. Clyde Eisenberg, who oversees the northeast part of the county, said he has seen a concentration of burglaries of rural, middle- to upper-income homes.

Burglaries are usually crimes of opportunity, the majors said. Often, criminals won't bother with locked homes and vehicles with no valuables in plain view.

Hartley also encourages neighborhood watches and the Sheriff Office's Citizens Patrol. Citizen Patrols are local volunteer groups that patrol in specially-marked cars and aid deputies. They don't have arrest powers, but they have a radio and can call in suspicious activities.

"One of the reasons I think Sun City Center's crime is low is because there's a Citizens Patrol, and there's so many clubs and activities," Hartley said. "Everybody knows everybody."

Times staff writer Rick Danielson contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at or (813) 226-3433.

Burglary is only crime category to increase in 2009 04/08/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 8, 2010 2:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Two boys in critical condition after Largo crash


    LARGO — A 7-year-old boy was thrown from a car in a head-on crash on Starkey Road, and both he and a 6-year-old boy were in critical condition Sunday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  2. Trump's new order bars almost all travel from seven countries


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a new order banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban, citing threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the country.

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters Sunday upon his return to the White House in Washington.
  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. In Mexico City, hopes of finding quake survivors dwindle


    MEXICO CITY — Five days after the deadly magnitude 7.1 earthquake, the hulking wreckage of what used to be a seven-story office building is one of the last hopes: one of just two sites left where searchers believe they may still find someone trapped alive in Mexico City.

    Rescue workers search for survivors inside a felled office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City on Saturday.
  5. GOP health bill in major peril as resistance hardens among key senators


    WASHINGTON — The floundering Republican attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act met hardening resistance from key GOP senators Sunday that left it on the verge of collapse even as advocates vowed to keep pushing for a vote this week.

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate, said Sunday that it was “very difficult” to envision voting for this health-care bill.