Burglaries Spike in Rockford

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- This recent heat wave has lots of us cranking up the air in our homes, but how we keep cool could make us vulnerable to burglars.

Sherri Ruston now keeps a close eye around her house, checking to make sure the fence and her doors are locked. It's something she never though she had to do until a few weeks ago when burglars broke into her home.
"We were home. The van was in the driveway and we have two large dogs and they were in the house," Ruston said.

The burglars came in through an unlocked back door. Ruston says the weather was nice, so she left it open. It's a mistake Rockford Police say many homeowners make.

The Rockford Police Department says burglaries rose 16 percent in August.

"Any area where there's been some problems with the burglaries, that's where we've put our manpower, that's where we've run our special operations and that's where we've focused our investigations," Lt. Marc Welsh, said.

During those patrols officers talk to homeowners about the most common ways thieves get inside. It's not just through open doors and windows, but also by pushing in window air conditioner units, but officers say we can easily protect ourselves.

"There are mechanism on the braces for the window air conditioner where you can screw it to the window. It's a very good idea to do that and it makes it very difficult to push the window in," Lt. Welsh, said.

Ruston now has several levels of security to make sure she doesn't fall victim again.

"We're locking extra doors, sometimes two or three levels of doors."

Since the first of August the police department has arrested 30 people accused of committing more than 45 burglaries. Investigators say many of the thieves steal to feed drug addictions.

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