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Twelve Homes Burglarized in 12 Days in Naperville; No Help from Secret Police Radio Dispatches in this City

Thu September 12 2013 7:05 am
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Naperville police have received reports of 12 residential burglaries in 12 days — a much higher rate than the usual five residential burglaries per month. According to an ABC 7 News report, Naperville police believe there are possibly two crews working in the city — one that prefers looking for unlocked doors at night, and one that likes forced entry during the day, while homeowners are out working or shopping.

At one home, burglars took an Apple computer and tools from the home early Saturday morning while the family was sleeping upstairs.

Several of the homes have residential burglar alarms, but the alarms were not on. Most residential burglar alarms have settings for residents that are AWAY or HOME. Police also gathered information that homes were not locked, and dogs didn’t alert their owners with a bark. Two of the residential burglaries occurred on a cul-de-sac where two police officers live.

The official news release on the official Naperville city website fails to mention the startling number of residential burglaries.

The Naperville Police Department continues to investigate additional Residential Burglaries throughout the city. Most of the recent cases involve a subject or subjects entering the home through an unlocked door at night while homeowners are sleeping, others include forced entry during the daytime hours. The Naperville Police Department wishes to remind citizens to report any suspicious persons and secure the doors to their homes to prevent these residential burglaries from occurring.

— Naperville Police Department, Wednesday, September 11, 2013

In December 2010, Naperville Police Department and Aurora Police Department switched to a proprietary emergency radio communications system that does not permit police radio scanners or smart phone apps to monitor police radio dispatches. The situation prevents neighborhood watch groups or everyday citizens from monitoring public safety concerns in their city.

In previous articles (Google police encryption), The Cardinal has proposed that lack of public availability of police dispatches decreases real-time awareness of neighborhood criminal activity, and actually makes it easier for criminals to move through a neighborhood unnoticed. Police proponents of secret police communications claim that criminals can outsmart police by listening to police dispatches. The Cardinal claims that the eyes and ears of good citizens in a community outnumbers and outweighs the benefit of a criminal offender listening to a police radio dispatch. In addition, intelligent police operations can use alternate forms of communications, such as cell phones and police car computer terminals or text messages to surprise criminals, who may be relying on the general public dispatch.

Apparently the lack of availability of police communications has not deterred the Naperville burglars. In police departments that use publicly available police dispatches, off-duty police officer residents from within a city, or that serve in neighboring communities, can use a police scanner or smart phone app to stay aware of their neighborhood’s criminal activities. They’re more likely to recognize a suspicious car, a car of interest in an investigation, or even be aware of a car chase or foot pursuit coming their way. Police departments, such as Naperville, or other police departments that use expensive military grade encrypted radios prohibit off-duty police officers from staying aware because very few of those police officers are able to take the expensive “secret” radios home with them. In the case where police officers lived on the cul de sac in Naperville where burglaries occurred, the lack of awareness is ironic. The system falls apart because neighbors or off-duty police officers that can’t listen to police dispatches in real-time cannot work together in a timely manner before the criminal offenders have adequate opportunity to escape the neighborhood, or escape with their personal and vehicle descriptions unrecognized. Criminals will adapt to this secret system and use it against the police and against the citizens of the community that is using a secret police radio system.

Arlington Heights has seen a spike in vehicle burglaries and bike thefts since the Arlington Heights Police Department switched to a military grade encrypted police radio system on June 5, 2013. Obviously thieves in Arlington Heights haven’t been deterred or frightened by the lack availability of police radio dispatches. And it doesn’t appear that the police have been given any advantage by the expensive radio option either.

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