Police Department’s Response to Recent Burglaries

Business Owners/Representatives and property owners of Marquette and McGregor:

Over the last several weeks, businesses, especially in McGregor, have been victimized to burglaries and thefts.  During these incidents, the suspect(s) was/were able to gain access to these businesses during their closed hours or committed the acts of theft with employees present.  Unfortunately, the suspect(s) was/were able to enter the businesses unlawfully multiple times or commit the acts of theft prior to the victims notifying the police department. 

During one of the investigations, it was determined as a business was actively being burglarized, the business representative contacted a close associate to confront or investigate the suspect(s) while during the commission of the crime instead of reporting the burglary to the police department.  It was also discovered as the acquaintance was approaching the business to investigate a police department patrol vehicle was driving past the business at the exact same time.  If the police department was immediately notified of the burglary, instead of the associate, that case could have been immediately solved.

During other investigations, we learned that one business was burglarized as least three times prior to calling the police department, and another property had a security camera system, but it was outdated and inoperable at the time of the theft.

Back in July, the police department had the opportunity meet with multiple business owners and representatives to discuss property crimes (burglary and theft).  During this presentation, we stressed the importance of business security and deterrence options.  Regardless of the current economic status, crimes against property will occur and the only deterrent is the responsibility of the business/property owner.  We extended that meeting and, at the request of a business representative, conducted a walkthrough of a local business requesting our advice on a security system.  We provided potential ideas, yet that business has not followed through on our ideas and remains without a security system to this date.

The culture of small-town hospitality is difficult.  Most small communities strongly believe that crime “doesn’t happen here” or “that only happens in big cities.”  The real fact is that crime does occur in Marquette and McGregor, and it does happen, every day.  It is not a matter of “if it will happen,” it’s a matter of “when will it happen.”  Today’s society is a transient society.  More than ever, individuals and families are moving and traveling more frequently.  The times of an individual and/or a family settling down into one community for their entire existence is a rarity. 

A negative fact is not everyone moves in or visits our community with a good intention and challenges the culture of small-town living.  We are not saying that every person has negative intention.  We are saying that you, and us as a community, need to be a deterrent, proactive, responsible, and vigilant to our own safety as individuals and to our lively hood as property owners and local business owners/representatives.  YOU are the one who worked for everything you have earned.  YOU are the one that had to make sacrifices to be successful.  YOU are the one that can protect your life’s accomplishments. 

Moving forward, we are actively investigating a recent burglary to another business on Main Street.  This occurred over the last several days.  We will continue to follow up with any information that is provided to the police department. 

As for the business that was burglarized in early October.  Through the assistance of private security camera and a business security camera, we were able to identify the suspect(s) involved and acquired a confession to the crime.  A criminal complaint has been filed with Juvenile Court accusing the individual(s) of burglary and criminal mischief.  The unfortunate facts involving this case is that we were only able to obtain evidence that this individual(s) committed an act of burglary during one specific incident even though the same business was burglarized multiple times. 

Now to address the question – “what can we do to secure our home/business?”  Our number one advice is to purchase security camera system.  More cameras are better, especially with, at minimum, a 30-day storage capacity.  Local storage is acceptable; however, cloud storage is advised.  There are inexpensive system options available online and in-store.  Although we cannot provide recommendations, we are more than happy to provide ideas on the placement of cameras and their assorted options.

As an agency, we do our best to deter criminal activity.  We randomly conduct foot and vehicular patrols and business checks when time permits.  However, depending on calls for service volume and staffing, this extra community service is not always available.  Here are additional options for you to consider in protecting your property/business:

  • Make your property difficult to break in.
  • Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave (or go to bed – home).
  • Keep garage/storage doors closed and locked.
  • Do not allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or flyers build up while you are away.
    • Arrange with the Post Office to hold your mail or arrange for a friend or neighbor to take them regularly.
  • (Home) Arrange for your lawn to be mowed if you are going away for an extended time.
  • Check your locks on doors and windows and replace them with secure devices, as necessary.
  • Pushbutton locks on doorknobs are easy for burglars to open.
    • Install deadbolt locks on all your outside doors.
  • Sliding glass doors are vulnerable.
    • Special locks are available for better security.
  • Other windows may need better locks.  Check with a locksmith or hardware store for alternatives.
  • Do not share your vacation plans on social media.
  • Property is best stored out of sight – close curtains/cover windows.
  • Have adequate exterior lighting.  A motion-sensitive light is recommended.
  • A security system is excellent for security.
    • It provides peace of mind to owners.
    • If you have an alarm system, use it!
      • Activate your alarm system — alarm systems are only useful when you remember to activate them.
    • Many individuals have alarm systems but do not arm them because it is inconvenient.
      • Many burglars know this and will test the system.
        • Burglars will not be deterred by a window sticker or sign indicating that the home has an alarm system.
  • Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions.
  • If you notice anything suspicious in your neighborhood, call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • For extended absences, contact the police department and complete an extra patrol request (https://www.marmacpolice.org/extra-patrol-request/).

Simply put, having your property stolen sucks.  We know and we are not invincible to the same crimes.  We are empathetic to the business/property owners that are victimized to property crimes and will do our best to solves these crimes.  However, our investigation is only effective as your deterrence to these crimes.  Could we solve property crimes without a security system or property information? – yes.  However, having the availability of the security system or documented property information allows us to effectively investigate the crime rather than ineffectively conduct the same investigation with no known information. 

Robert Millin, Chief of Police