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Posted on Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Ann Arbor mayor: Take precautions after recent wave of break-ins

By Kyle Feldscher

Ann Arbor city officials are concerned about an increase in break-ins throughout the city during the past three weeks, according to a crime alert sent out Wednesday.


A screenshot showing a map of the burglaries in Ann Arbor in the past three weeks.

Courtesy of

According to, there have been 40 burglaries reported from Jan. 26 to Feb. 16 throughout Ann Arbor. That’s 12 more burglaries than were reported during the three-week period immediately before Jan. 26, according to the website.

City officials sent out a crime alert Wednesday evening to members of neighborhood watch groups in the city. According to the alert, Ann Arbor has had “a significant amount of home invasions in the last two to three weeks.”

Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje said police have made one arrest related to the home invasions and believe many of the break-ins are the work of a small number of people. He said a streak of increased home invasions is not unusual during a calendar year.

“You get blips like this throughout the year,” Hieftje said. “One of the important things to remember is that a couple of people can cause a lot of breaking and enterings.”

The investigation into the home invasions is ongoing, and police are actively looking for suspects.

Ann Arbor police detectives released a computer-generated sketch of a home invasion suspect on Wednesday. The man is believed to have knocked on the door of a home on Huronview Boulevard at about 2:47 p.m. Feb. 8 and stolen a computer from a woman who was home alone, according to police.

Thumbnail image for John_Hieftje_July_2010_debate_2.jpg

John Hieftje

According to, all but one of the Ann Arbor home invasions involved forced entry and 12 of the 40 burglaries occurred during the nighttime hours.

About 22 of the burglaries were reported to have taken place between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., when home occupants could be expected to be at work.

Ann Arbor police spokeswoman Lt. Renee Bush was unable to comment on the uptick in home invasions Thursday afternoon as she was in training. However, she encouraged city residents to lock their doors and windows at all times and to take safety measures to protect themselves.

Hieftje said Ann Arbor residents sometimes have an inflated view of how safe the city is and don’t take proper precautions to protect themselves. He encouraged residents to lock their doors, have a bar to keep screen doors closed and lock their windows.

“People take it for granted that we have a safe city and don’t do the things people should be doing,” Hieftje said. “They should just take the normal precautions.”

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 5:39 p.m.

Ann Arbor mayor: I'm comfortable with the cuts to safety services in this city. Followed with... Ann Arbor mayor: Take precautions after recent wave of break-ins. Should be followed with: Due to my incompetence in listening to what residents want from this city, I resign.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 5:03 p.m.

1. get a dog 2. get one of those stickers for your house that claims you have a security system. 3. get a gun or baseball bat. I certainly wouldn't want to find myself in my home with nothing to protect myself with. You shouldn't even need to use it, just the sight of someone armed with something is enough to deter most people when confronted. 4. be active in your community and neighborhood watch. If you know something looks out of place or suspicious you're better able to help everyone.

Ulysses Wong

Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

Oy the Wild West comments!!! Wake up, It's already the "wild west" and it's time to arm the sheep. "If God did not want them sheared, He would not have made them sheep." - Calvera, The Magnificent Seven" "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." - Benjamin Franklin


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 4:50 p.m.

I really have to laugh, not at the giant question mark as to crime levels, at the confusion and head scratching this "news" site creates! Unbelievable!


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 4:42 p.m.

This article is not a "Fluke." Facts are not flukes; therefore I would not "Ignore this article". The reality of this on-going issue will continue to grow, unless something is done about it. I witness the aftermath of these continuous home invasions as well as suspicious activity. It took the police 45 minutes to respond, 2 days in a row. Upon calling the police station to inquire about the lengthy wait period, I was told "write the mayor a letter." We know this is a serious problem when we call the authorities for help and we are being told to write a letter. Ann Arbor is located between the 2 most dangerous cities in the U.S. (Detroit & Flint) With criminals having easy access to US 23 & 94, Ann Arbor is an ideal place to commit crimes and is currently hosting as a criminal playground. Also, the demographics of Ann Arbor are helping to catch the attention of criminals, knowing residents are in school all day and or working. Ann Arbor is far from a poverty ridden city to live this too is quite attractive to criminals, knowing that they are sure to find valuables. I encourage you to take this warning seriously. Such warning should have been issued back in January when the statistics of crime raised rapidly. If you're foolish enough to think this won't happen to you, than leave your doors unlocked and you'll be sure to prove yourself differently.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 4:42 p.m.

Crime is up in AA, regardless of what the mayor or others try to tell us for PR reasons. AA has changed dramatically in the past 10 years, and with police cuts, it's only getting worse. More assaults, more burglaries, more robberies, more home invasions. It is not a fairy-tale wonderland and never was. "You get blips like this throughout the year," Hieftje said. "One of the important things to remember is that a couple of people can cause a lot of breaking and enterings." What does this mean? Whether it's a couple people or a gang or one person. What difference does it make? Crime is crime, and it's happening in AA. AA officials needs to get a grip on reality and realize that thugs are coming into town from surrounding communities, making hits and moving on. The perception is that AA is an easy target, with fewer police on patrol and "slap on the wrist" justice in the county if you are caught. Nothing will improve until police positions are restored, and consequences for crimes are meted out in a responsible manner (not probation and chance after chance after chance for thugs who are repeat offenders with long rap sheets).

Frank Healy

Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 4:41 p.m.

I went to office depot and set up a couple of D-link wireless cameras around the apartment. They record automatically with movement to your computer. Also if possible just use a bike lock and those laptop locks to lock your computers or other large valuables to a desk or something else relatively strong. These are quick smash and grabs. So even if they break inn they may not want to hang around long enough to forcibly remove the locks.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 4:09 p.m.

With fewer police officers on the street, there is less proactive crime prevention, and so home invasions and simple burglaries are on the rise. I'm not going to say I predicted this would happen, but I'm not at all surprised that it has.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:52 p.m.

Keep a baseball bat and shotgun at the ready!


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

I think that locking your doors all the time is the best solution. Windows should be locked if you are going to be upstairs, in the basement, or taking a shower. A dog that barks when strangers knock on the door or try to enter the house, is also a great way to deter criminals. Get a shotgun that is loud when you load it. One time when I was a kid, my brother let a stranger in the house, he said he needed to use the phone. My mom was in the shower!!! She came out of the shower and heard the stranger talking to us. She quickly grabbed her pump shotgun and racked the chamber a couple times. The stranger eyes popped wide open and he was out the door faster than Speedy Gonzales.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 4:06 p.m.

I like that idea! And propose a more elegant solution: mount a motion detector to the doors that when triggered plays a recording of a shotgun being loaded.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:41 p.m.

The link is great information!


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:24 p.m.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

Just me or is the majority of crime happening on the East side of A2?


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:17 p.m.

The attractiveness of B&E's to people who are better at it than working a real job is making this happen. Its not "the economy", its a symptom of acceptance by citizens, government and police. Why work when you can make much more money in a few minutes with very liitle chance of being caught? Just add the online Craigslist and eBay disposal 'apps' and we have the new tax free cash economy. Surprized that these people are not included in the 'employed' statistics instead of 'unemployed'. That would give them a credible career. This is not just an Ann Arbor problem, its happening all over. As you may not want to know, the increase in this type of crime was predicted by advocates of the concealed carry laws. It's been true in all states. Murders and other violent crimes are down because of the fear of encounter. Now criminals are going after easier and 'safer' targets/prey, those that essentially were opposed to carry laws. Like residents of cities like Ann Arbor ! This is just pure unadulterated systems analysis folks.

Dog Guy

Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

Hieftje is comfortable with blips.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

Who got parole recently?


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.

What is a "bar to keep screen doors closed"? Could he possibly have meant use a bar to keep "sliding doors" closed?


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 1:41 p.m.

A security system won't stop a burglar who just needs a minute or two to bust your window, find your laptop, and take off. The files on your laptop are probably worth more to her than the laptop itself since they can be sold to Nigerian princes who'll identify theft your behind.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 5:54 p.m.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> This showed that there was no indication of any spatial displacement of residential burglaries from protected houses to nearby houses and indeed that burglar alarms tended to provide protection to these other houses. In short, a burglar alarm, as a target?hardening measure of situational crime prevention, not only protects the home without displacing burglary to nearby houses, but, in fact, also provides these other houses with protection from burglars. As for security measures, when a home is protected by an alarm, the probability of burglary is virtually nil. From our results, it was obvious that an alarm system is the single most effective measure to help reduce the probability of burglary. Still, the safest homes are those that combine an alarm system with managerial and deterrent measures as well. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Interestingly, preventive measures such as dead bolts did not exhibit significant statistical effect on the probability of burglary.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 5:45 p.m.

Talk about blowing smoke! Have you ever been around a house with a 120 db siren going off? I would bet the farm not one of these homes had a security system! If a 120 db alarm is going off it not only is a deterrent, but someone nearby will notice. There are too many houses without an alarm to chance breaking into one that is clearly marked as alarmed. Unless the thief knows for sure there is something worth taking!


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:48 p.m.

1. I can guarantee you with some statistical probability that these burglars are not computer whizzes. If you even have as much as a password to login to your computer, I bet few will make even the slightest attempt at scraping your hard-drives. They'd rather wipe it, then sell it to a pawn shop for an easy buck. 2. Unless you're peddling industrial secrets, or keep a Word document full of all of your bank account #s and credit card #s (which you should never do); no. Your MacBook Pro, I can assure you, is much more valuable than anything you keep on your HDD (hard drive disk.)

Susanne Brace

Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

Are our officials concerned enough to bring back more police officers? Oh... Just make sure you lock doors and windows. Oh. Ok. Make sure to lock your deadbolt, if you have one.

Jimmy McNulty

Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 1:37 p.m.

If I relied solely on the reporting in, I would conclude that all crime happens in Ypsilanti. Thank for the eye-opening story Kyle.

Wolf's Bane

Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

List of available &quot;NRA Basic Personal Protection In The Home Courses&quot; in the area: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> I'm am not an attorney and will therefore not offer any advice, but the NRA has trained lawyers giving advising these courses. So, if you attend, bring all your questions. Cheers.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

I think this last part is particularly true: &quot;Hieftje said Ann Arbor residents sometimes have an inflated view of how safe the city is and don't take proper precautions to protect themselves. He encouraged residents to lock their doors, have a bar to keep screen doors closed and lock their windows.&quot; While sometimes you can do everything in your power to try and protect your home from this kind of crime, it does help to be cautious and check your locks and even keep your neighbors informed of when you are going to be out of town.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 1:04 p.m.

I personally know of three of the burglaries. They were near Third and Washington, Third and Huron area. Yes, right near the YMCA where there are always lots of people. On a Saturday between 11 am and 4pm, the perps broke glass or pried open back doors on several houses. They stole laptops, electronics and jewelry. It would be nice if could publish or post an updated crime report. Sort of like the old newspaper Police Blotter section. It would help to know if crimes are being committed in your neighborhood.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 1:04 p.m.

Cheif Jones said yesterday that crime is down. Mayor Hieftje said that crime was down. I am confused..........


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 5:41 p.m.

Oh, let me explain it to you. They're liars.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 1:02 p.m.

The two or three a week in Ypsilanti looks pretty good in comparison.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:43 p.m.

Yep, well as we both know, the CITY of Ypsi is a very small area, compared to the CITY of AA. So, you must you the crimes/100000 data, which I provided above. But hey, if it makes you feel better, just ignore the data.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

When I &quot;push the map over,&quot; I see almost nothing in the CITY of Ypsilanti. Quite a bit in Ypsilanti Twp. though. Two different entities.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

Click on the link provided. Click in an empty area. HOLD the left mouse button down and drag it to the left. When you are where you want to be, let go. There are also some other navigation tools there. Regardless, the crime RATE in AA is *Less than half* of that in Ypsi. shows the crime index for AA at 194 and for Ypsi at 428. So, no, not just &quot;anti-Ypsi garbage&quot;. Data and facts. If stating facts is &quot;anti-Ypsi&quot;, then that is pretty telling. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

EyeHeartA2.....How did you do that ? I can't seem to push the map.Or is that just more anti Ypsi garbage ?


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

Might want to push that map a little East before you puff your chest out too far, there sport. Can't even read the street names in Ypsi due to all the bubbles.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 12:54 p.m.

I have to admit, you guys are pretty funny. Reminds me of when I was young, too. I could take cynical shots at the best of them. Enjoy yourselves. (But lock your doors anyway.) ;&lt;)


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 12:51 p.m.

It would be nice to see a breakdown of homes with and without security systems. I doubt any of the had a system. How many of the residents of the homes were students?


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 12:46 p.m.

I have an idea it may be costly ( but hey, when has cost meant anything to A2 ) put some expensive foreign or out of art on all street corners.That way crooks will be in such awe and transfixed they will forget to commit a crime.This will also bring in visitors by the droves and this would add eyes and potential witnesses


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:54 p.m.

Man I was gonna say the same thing. An edit button would be grand.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

Ooops should have been &quot; out of state art &quot; I wish would add a edit button


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 12:36 p.m.

I recommend a reliable handgun and a class by a firearms instructor. Ask for the &quot;Personal Protection In The Home&quot; class. A significant number of these break-ins were while the homeowner was present within your home. Protect yourself. If they break in, fight back.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 5:13 p.m.

tinyartist: go to the website that is the source of this article. Each one of these robberies also has more information, sometimes there were multiple violations at each location, including assault. There were indeed home invasions with homeowners present since the first of the year.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 4:45 p.m.

Let me assure you that, despite your belief to the contrary, these violated homeowners were NOT in my home when the break-ins occurred.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:59 p.m.

Yeah, who would have thought someone named zigziggityzoo would have the same views as you....


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

Finally a a voice of reason, and by a person named zigziggityzoo no less


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 2:51 p.m.

@walkingjoe - are you suggesting no guns? What would your alternative solution be if you found yourself in a situation where a person had broken into your house (armed or unarmed) and the police couldn't be there for 10 minutes or more? Try to talk and reason with them? Just curious. Hope your life insurance policy is paid up.............


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

It's not suddenly &quot;the wild west&quot; if you use a firearm in self-defense within your home. Washtenaw County has 7300 licensed concealed pistol carriers within the state, but one doesn't need that license to defend themselves within their own home.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

Yeah swell so when we read the crime blotter we can see how many guns were stolen in each break in. I recommend a reliable gun OWNER.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 1:18 p.m.

For home protection a shotgun works pretty good too. And you don't have to jump through any hoops to get one either. Plus your aim doesn't have to be as good to &quot;connect&quot; with your target.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 1 p.m.

You can't use Deadwood. That name has been trademarked by the city administration for their own personal use.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 12:48 p.m.

Yep, and let's rename Ann Arbor, maybe something like Deadwood or Dodge City.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 12:18 p.m.

I think the writer needs to study the difference between burglaries and &quot;home invasions&quot; (which sounds a lot scarier). These are not interchangeable terms. &quot;He said a streak of increased home invasions is not unusual during a calendar year.&quot; Really? How about a fiscal year? Maybe a lunar year? A leap year? Does anyone have any idea what he's trying to say, besides nothing?


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 2:11 p.m.

The specifics of the differences? Thanks.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 12:53 p.m.

I looked at the article 3 times and missed that. Time for new glasses!


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 12:51 p.m.

The mayor - it's at the end of the fourth paragraph.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 12:39 p.m.

Brad Where did your quote come from? &quot;He said a streak of increased home invasions is not unusual during a calendar year.&quot;


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 12:02 p.m.

I strongly encourage everyone to ignore this article. It is just a fluke. Crime is down in Ann Arbor and we don't have anything to worry about. Leave your doors unlocked and some cookies on a plate with your credit cards, ssn and jewelry. Anyone who thinks there is crime here should talk to Chief Barnett and Mayor Hieftje. You will be reassured that it is just climate change and your personal perception.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 4:42 p.m.

Sarcasm does not translate well in print. Give it a rest.

Jeff Gaynor

Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 4:14 p.m.

Ironically, the only time I am aware of someone entering our house uninvited - I was in the basement and didn't hear anything - it was to leave us brownies. We had just moved in and I thought my wife had picked them up. It was only when I thanked her, and she acted confused, that we realized it was a neighbor dropping off a welcome present. Now I joke the odds are in our favor. :)


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 12:18 p.m.

LOL, don't forget to blame the &quot;evil&quot; 1% too who don't pay enough taxes.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 11:43 a.m.

Was wondering, because just recently a news article stated that crime was down, however, other articles seemed to indicate a different view -- many more than normal. My hearts breaks for those folks whose homes were invaded, been there and it is a terrible feeling.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

That would be the difference between data and anecdotal evidence. Although it is safe to assume this recent rash was not included in the data.