Some Portsmouth residents frustrated with increase in home burglaries

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Residents in the Westbury community are upset about recent home break-ins.

The most shocking part about the crimes is that many of them have happened during the day, on one particular day of the week, between specific times.

During Tuesday night’s monthly Westbury Civic League meeting, about two dozen homeowners voiced frustration and concern about burglaries in their neighborhood.

According to Portsmouth Police Spokeswoman Detective Misty Holley, there have been four burglaries in Westbury since January 1.

(Screenshot from LexisNexis Community Crime Map)

10 On Your Side did some digging and through an online crime mapping website, we found that in a half mile radius of Elm Avenue there were a little more than 20 burglaries since the same time. However, when the radius is expanded to two miles around Elm Avenue, we found there have been 90 home burglaries since the beginning of the year.

According to the online crime mapping site, all of these burglaries appear to be happening on Wednesday around noon.

WAVY News asked Detective Holley why. She responded, “Really, it’s hard to say exactly why that time frame is the particular time.”

“It’s kind of scary. We want our neighborhood to be safe and secure,” Westbury Civic League President Pamela S. Wilkins said. “For someone to kick your door in in the day time there is no fear.”

Wilkins told 10 On Your Side Westbury residents want more police presence.

“If they see police coming through every now and then, they’ll know, ‘Well the police ride through there we better not go there,’” she said.

Detective Holley said while some violent crimes are going down, burglaries are up citywide — but officers are addressing it.

“It’s not something new that we are doing. We’re just trying to focus our efforts on those areas that have a higher… an increase in those types of crimes because what we want to do is we want to show our presence,” she said.

Detective Holley admits having less than a full staff of officers has an impact.

“Obviously, if we had more officers, we would definitely be able to have more officers out here on the street patrolling,” she said.

Detective Holley told 10 On Your Side’s Brandi Cummings officers made a burglary arrest on February 15 and even recovered some stolen property, but lowering the number of crimes depends on a positive partnership.

“Working with our community to curtail or combat crime is sort of like a marriage. We have to work together to make it really work,” she said.

Wilkins says a representative from the police department attends the monthly civic league meetings. Homeowners are just asking for more visibility.

“We want to keep our residents here. People have invested in these properties and we don’t want to just see them jump up and move just because of that. We know crime is everywhere but we’re trying to do what we can to keep our community safe,” Wilkins said.

“It’s not something that’s going to change drastically overnight. It’s a work in progress,” Detective Holley said.