With Jersey’s unemployment rate hovering around 9 percent, Jersey police departments are continuing to see an increase in thefts and burglaries.

New Jersey State Police Detective Steve Urbanski says, “Burglars typically target houses that are isolated – close to wooded areas for quick getaways – and also to avoid being seen – and typically when they scope out a property, they’re looking for little things…they see alarms on the houses – they would stay away from – or they could see mail piling up in people’s driveways or newspapers and so forth.”

He says many times, when burglars are arrested, ” a lot of them say they’re out of jobs and they have no money and they have to pay their rent or their drug usage, or some other excuse – but most likely a lot of guys you catch they’re not working…a lot of guys are saying they got laid off from their jobs, they got demoted – or somewhere along the lines they just couldn’t afford to live the standards they were living once before…and maybe go back to a crime – where it would pay more – especially because jewelry is up – gold is up – precious metals are up.”

Uranski adds crooks will target out-of-the-way houses, “and they’re usually not from that area, so you can’t look at the guys you arrested in past investigations that are related to that area…you can have guys from North Jersey coming all the way to South Jersey – to commit burglaries.”

To avoid being robbed he recommends, “motion lights are really good at night time – you’re sleeping bed and the light goes on in the driveway, or the back deck or somewhere in that area…I definitely recommend everybody gets an alarm if they can afford it…as soon as somebody enters your home, that the police are en-route, to come check your house out …locking your doors, even using like a deadbolt on your door would definitely help.”

He also says, “you want your neighbors, when you go away, to have somebody keep an eye on your home- they should know any activity is unusual- let the neighbor know there should be nobody in the house, nobody in the driveway, have the neighbors be vigilant – as far as a suspicious car going back and forth that doesn’t belong there…take the tag number down- that’s the biggest thing we tell people…that’s something you want neighbors to be vigilant about-same thing with the mail and the newspapers – you want to tell your neighbor to get that stuff for you cause people will see that – they’ll see newspapers piling up after 2 or 3 days and they’ll say oh, nobody came out to get their paper- they’re probably on vacation- those small things matter.”