SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Viewers have been reaching out to NewsChannel 9, asking us to investigate all the break-ins happening in Syracuse’s Eastwood neighborhoods, especially in the business district. Crime numbers obtained by NewsChannel 9 show a big spike in burglaries, up 100% from a year ago.
There are 18 this year, compared to nine at this same time last year. Motor vehicle theft is up too, police say 150%. From four a year ago, and now ten this year, there are fresh new burglaries and thefts, but a familiar story behind them, a revolving door for very young lawbreakers.
Tucked into this corner of Eastwood, Stafford Market has catered to the needs of its neighbors for nearly 30 years. Running a store is always hard work, but owner Victor Hashem tells NewsChannel 9 this is the worst year ever because of the crime. His store has been broken into three times. The last break-in happened at 4 a.m. It was frightening because his upstairs tenant was yelling for the burglars to leave.
“They got bold enough that one of them actually ran back to the stolen truck they were using, to grab a gun and aim it at my tenant,” Hashem said.
The burglar ended up being a 12-year-old with a B.B. Gun, who was joined by a 16-year-old who had a rap sheet to go along with an ankle monitor.
“They were breaking into homes and stealing keys while people were in it, the house and trying to steal their cars then they elevated to breaking into stores.”
They got caught, but others continued. Window smashing thieves that have made a costly mess in the business district. Even along busy James Street, plenty of businesses have not been spared.
“We’ll be getting more patrol cars into the area. More units flooding the streets to have a physical presence in the community,” Lt. Matt Malinowski of the Syracuse Police Department said.
“Having people keep an eye out for those suspicious parties is one of the biggest ways we can get, to prevent these from happening,” Lt. Matt Malinowski added.
Hashem thinks there’s another way. Combat the revolving door for kids. He believes kids think there is no consequences for their actions, and he worries they will try to rob his store again.
“You go to sleep and then you wonder, what’s going to happen? Am I going to get the phone call at four in the morning? I swear, it’s got to that point.”
In addition to stepping up patrols in Eastwood, Syracuse Police will be doing some covert operations to try to catch the culprits.