Burglaries in Burlington topple 5-year average

Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 11:11 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Burglaries in Burlington are up 20% over the five-year (2017-2021) average. Police say there was a dip in burglaries during the pandemic when most people were home, which is why there may be such a steep increase.

Police say they usually spike during times of the year when people are away, like the holidays.

They’ve responded to 157 reports of burglaries since the start of the year. Police say they usually happen during the day when people are at work, or when they’re on vacation, but that’s not always the case.

“I looked and my whole window was up and out,” said Kate Kuzminski, a Burlington resident.

Kuzminski’s apartment was broken into while she slept. She heard a noise but assumed it was something else.

“I was like, it’s either college kids banging or people going through trash cans,” she said. “Then I woke up and my alarm didn’t go off, so I reached because I keep my phone next to my bed and it wasn’t there.”

Melissa D’Acunto also had her apartment broken into, but she wasn’t home at the time. Police say that’s the more common scenario.

“They broke the back window of our apartment and just reached in and unlatched the window and came in,” D’Acunto said. “I came home with my partner just to find everything trashed everywhere. They took my camera equipment and some video game stuff.”

Burlington Police Deputy Chief Wade Labrecque shared some tips on how to avoid being burglarized. Some include using home security cameras and stopping your mail.

“It’s good to have a neighbor or somebody keep an eye on your house. If you trust them, give them a key so they can turn certain lights on this time, others at this time,” Labrecque said. “Open curtains, close curtains: so the place looks like it’s been lived in.”

As for reporting burglaries, Labrecque says they do their best to get back to everyone in a timely manner. Sometimes there is a wait due to staffing shortages and the number of reports. If they can’t find any evidence, they list the case as inactive.

“That means if something does come up like a neighbor has something, like looking at their Ring camera from a month ago and happened to see this, we can reopen the burglary and investigate it,” Labrecque said.

As for Kuzminski and D’Acunto’s cases, no one was ever charged in connection with the burglaries, though police did take photos and lift fingerprints at the scenes.

“I’m just a very nervous person and having someone come into your home definitely doesn’t help that,” D’Acunto said.

“I don’t think you can have that happen to you while you’re home and be completely OK after that,” Kuzminski said.

Kuzminski and D’Acunto recommend having renters or homeowners insurance. They say it’s saved them thousands and helped them to get essential items replaced faster.