Burgled Resident Thanks Police For Fast Action
West Hyattsville resident says she feels safe in her neighborhood after police quickly locate stolen property.
Hyattsville resident Joann Nichols had four televisions, among other items, burgled from her house earlier this week, but you'd have a hard time telling that from her cheerful demeanor.
"I am just so impressed with our police," said Nichols in an interview a little more than a day after her Oliver Street home became a crime scene on Halloween morning.
The reason for her happiness? She has just about all of her stolen property back safely in her home. Officers from the Hyattsville City Police Department, working off an anonymous tip, were able to locate much of her stolen property less than two hours after she reported the burglary.
In the process, police arrested four men on burglary charges stemming from the theft of Nichols' televisions and other property. Police are now working to see if the quartet is connected to a rash of residential burglaries in the neighborhoods of West Hyattsville.
"I couldn't believe that they got them that fast and got those people," said Nichols, who first noticed the theft after returning from a part-time job in College Park on Halloween morning.
It wasn't immediately obvious to Nichols that she had been the victim of a burglary. Her first clue was an open liquor cabinet in the dining room, her second was an open door leading from her hallway to her basement. Then she saw her bedroom and noticed that her TV was missing. That's when it hit her.
"I kind of got hyper," said Nichols. "I couldn't even think of the local police phone number, so I called 911 and was put through to Hyattsville police, and I swear, in less than a minute they were at my door."
Nichols isn't sure exactly how the burglars were able to make their way into her apartment. There's no broken glass or busted door locks to indicate a forced entry. She suspects they might have made their way through a rarely used rear door which may have been unlocked. Now she says she'll be double checking every lock.
While police were on the scene at her house conducting their investigation, one of the officers received a phone call alerting that a group of men were trying to sell a number of televisions down on Hamilton Street. That's when police made their arrest, reported yesterday.
Citywide, there has been a nearly 19 percent drop–compared to 2011–in reported residential breaking and entering over the first nine months of the year, down from 101 to 88, according to data released by Hyattsville police.
Much of that reduction is the result of 61 percent and 42 percent drops in residential break-ins in wards 1 and 3, respectively. West Hyattsville's wards 4 and 5 have each seen roughly 33 percent increases in residential break-ins over the first nine months of 2012.
The rate of break-ins in West Hyattsville prompted a recent community meeting with city police, administration and elected officials to discuss crime prevention and policing in wards 4 and 5.
Nichols isn't too worried about crime in her neighborhood. She's lived in her brick rancher since 1980 and loves the quick access to Washington she enjoys.
"No matter where you go, you there's going to be some bad people around," said Nichols. "I have a granddaughter who keeps saying 'grandma, you gotta move to North Carolina,' but I think Hyattsville is pretty darn safe, especially with a police department that is so on top of it.