The village, generally known as a safe enclave, has been hit by three home burglaries since November.
Detective Vincent Garcia of the Third Precinct said it was rare for Flower Hill, where homes go for upwards of $1 million, to have a rash of home burglaries, in part because of the village’s small size. The population was 4,508 at the 2000 census but has since grown, the village’s website says. The home burglaries took place Nov. 10, Nov. 13 and Jan. 2.
“It’s unusual for this area to have three in a two month span,” Garcia said.
Village officials are dealing with the matter anything but casually. They have taken over the village homepage to warn residents that not all is well in their hamlet and have also contacted residents by phone.
“The crimes that have been occurring all have the same markings, having all been break ins through an open door,” said Village Administrator Ronnie Shatzkamer. “Sending a message over the website is certainly a deterrent.”
Mayor Elaine Phillips also made a blast phone call to all residents advising them to keep their doors locked even when they are home and to use their security systems.
“In light of the recent burglaries that have occurred in the area, the police have asked that we share a few home security tips to help keep your homes and families safe,” the web page says.
Residents are given a 16 point check list that, among other suggestions, urges them to check “possible entry points and any weaknesses they may have.” The village also instructs residents to make sure exterior lighting is sufficient, to check for overgrown trees and shrubbery that can serve as hiding spots, keep all doors and windows locked and “install a wide-angle door viewer that permits you to look outside before opening the door.
“If you are home and a burglar confronts you,” the web page says, “remain calm; comply with the burglar’s instructions; remember your life is more important than your property; try to memorize a description of the subject; when the subject leaves call 911.”
For their part, the police are stepping up marked and unmarked patrols in the Flower Hill area, Garcia said. He also said residents should be especially vigilant; keeping an eye on what cars are parked on the street and who is walking around the neighborhood. If seeing anything deemed suspicious, residents should call 911, he said.
As the web page puts it: “You are the eyes and ears of your neighborhood and any tip can lead to solving this recent rash of burglaries. No call is unwarranted if you suspect something.”