Officials at the sheriff's Cerritos Station recently deployed a newly formed Residential Burglary Team to fight against property crime.
"We know burglary teams are coming in and out of all the cities," said Capt. Keith Swensson of the Sheriff's Department in Cerritos. "Especially cities that are close to the freeways. They get off and look for a quick hit.
"Well, you can't come into Cerritos and not almost immediately see a black and white. We are extremely high profile right now and so far it's been very successful."
According to the Sheriff's Department, 283 residential burglaries occurred in Cerritos in 2012, compared to 217 in 2011.
Despite the increase, Part 1 crimes, or more serious crime such as homicide, are down, Swensson said.
The Cerritos station re-allocated resources to establish the new team, whose sole purpose is preventing burglaries and arresting and prosecuting burglars in Cerritos, said city spokeswoman Annie Hylton.
The team consists of deputies who are already assigned to the station and will not cost the city any additional money, Mayor Jim Edwards said.
"The team is funded from the city's contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department," he said. "The city's general fund covers the cost of the contract."
Only two weeks old, the team has already had success, Swensson said.
In its first week of operation, the team arrested two residential burglary suspects. Another suspect, who was arrested in Orange County, was in possession of property taken in a Cerritos burglary, officials said.
Further investigation by the team tied the suspect to an additional 15 burglaries in Cerritos.
"We are very high visibility now and are using some technology and some other tactics that have already proven to be successful," Swensson said. "Our burglaries have almost shut down to zero since we started this team."
Residents are encouraged to call in any suspicious activity in their neighborhoods, officials said.
"The most important thing residents can do is, if they see something that's out of place, call us, call 911," Swensson said. "And they can remain anonymous. That's how we are going to catch these people."
For more information, call the sheriff's Cerritos Station at 562-860-0044.
Crime prevention tips, including suggestions for preventing home burglaries, are available on the city's Safer Cerritos website at www.safercerritos.com.
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