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Posted on Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor police say city's seeing sudden decline in break-ins

By Kyle Feldscher

After an initial spate of home invasions to start the year, Ann Arbor police have reported a significant drop off in break-ins during the last three weeks.

According to, Ann Arbor police have worked on 19 reported home invasions in the period from Feb. 16 to Friday.


Ryan J. Stanton |

That compares to 40 home invasions during the prior three-week period, according to

According to Ann Arbor police statistics, there were 82 home invasions reported between the beginning of the year and Feb. 18.

Deputy Chief John Seto said the decrease can partly be attributed to area residents taking more precautions after the wave of break-ins earlier this year.

“The public’s awareness has been raised due to the community meeting and Neighborhood Watch notifications,” Seto said.

“Citizens are more alert and reporting more suspicious activity, and more people calling police does have an impact on crime.”

The number of home invasions in January and February contributed to the crime being committed at a higher rate through the first two months of the year than the same time period in 2011, 2010 or 2009, according to police.

According to police, 35 of the break-ins during the first two months of 2012 involved intruders sneaking into homes through unlocked doors and windows.

There were 49 home invasions and commercial burglaries in the first two months in both 2011 and 2010, according to police statistics.

City officials were concerned enough about the rise in break-ins to hold a community meeting that drew about 150 people and send out neighborhood watch notifications.

However, the break-in wave seems to have crested and broken for the time being.

While the break-ins during January and February were spread out citywide, indicates that the city’s north side has been relatively spared during the last three weeks. There has been just one reported home invasion in that area since Feb. 16, according to the website.

Most of the recent break-ins have been reported in central and southeastern Ann Arbor, according to

To get updates from, click here and click Receive Crime Alerts.

Police have still made just one arrest, which came early on in the investigation into the break-ins, but Seto believes a more prepared citizenry is making it harder for the crimes to be committed. He said the coordination between police and community has been key.

Seto takes over from Chief Barnett Jones as the interim police chief on April 1 after Jones announced his retirement last month.

Police still believe they are looking at a small number of suspects in the break-ins and are still investigating all of the cases, Seto said.

“We’ll continue to work hard within the department and investigate these cases,” he said.

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



Mon, Mar 12, 2012 : 8:23 p.m.

I guess the police haven't been reading Seems like a lot to me!


Mon, Mar 12, 2012 : 2:52 a.m.

Perhaps the cause of the majority of break-ins is currently unable to leave the hospitality of a local detention center?


Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 5:25 a.m.

Call them illegal entries through unlocked doors and open windows and folks yawn. Call them "home invasions" and millages get passed to upgrade police departments.

Cendra Lynn

Sun, Mar 11, 2012 : 4:51 a.m.

Home invasions dropped because we locked our doors? This next to Jerry Clayton report on string of break-ins in the county?? This would only be newsworthy if the police had made some good arrests. Burglers moving to a new area is a dog-bites-man piece of reporting. What we need is a government that cares whether its citizens are safe. This article only says Business as Usual.

Dog Guy

Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 11:35 p.m.

Preceeding headline: "Washtenaw County sees rise in flu activity at the end of generally mild season." So, Mr, Burglar, drink lots of liquids and get plenty of rest. You'll be up and at it in no time.

Jim Clarkson

Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 11:12 p.m.

It has also been a bot colder with rain and some snow showers lately, I would not make any predictions until we see how things go in the spring when the weather gets a bit warmer.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 8:14 p.m.

Springtime is here! That's the traditional time for the gypsys to move across southeastern Michigan and rip off hundreds of victims. They do it by having a woman or women and possibly some children approach somebody who is working in their yard. While the women and children occupy your time, their partners in crime rummage through the house looking for cash and jewelry. I haven't heard much about the gypsies over the last several years, but it used to be an annual problem in Ann Arbor and other more well to do SE Michigan communities. Don't be surprised if they come back! You'll know the people who approached you in the yard are theives if they seem to do anything to keep you from looking towards or returning to your home.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.

Defense of home, family and self requires training. Training means learned behaviors ("habits") and learned behaviors which deter break-ins, burglaries and home invasions are A GOOD THING because they aren't altered by ups and downs of the crime cycle. Some say these crimes are "extremely rare" and that programs designed to train & prepared the public are therefore unnecessary - and "fear mongering." But tornadoes and lightning strikes are statistically rare too: yet we are constantly getting conditioned to defend against these "rare events." Michigan football games have been ended just on the chance lightning might strike on the field. Every week during storm season, the public tornado siren network is activated. We are "trained" very thoroughly to respond. Got news for some of you: burglaries are A LOT more common than lightning strikes & tornadoes. Defending oneself, one's family and home are inalienable rights (supported by the Constitution) but those rights are useless if they aren't taken as RESPONSIBILITIES. So the question becomes: do we choose to be responsible or irresponsible?


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 6:05 p.m.

Which city has suddenly seen an increase in home invasions in the past 3 weeks? Might indicate a potential suspect.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 5:14 p.m.

This is odd. A week ago was reporting a spike in area break ins and to "lock our doors". Now it's a "sudden decline". In this age of instant everything, it's funny how we don't even wait for anything resembling a long term trend to take hold before we declare a reversal of course with a couple of weeks worth of information.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 9:50 p.m.

Well I guess you could say ALL crimes are cyclical. Hey....for that matter everything is cyclical. I just thought it was interesting that a week ago it was a dire crisis.....and now -poof - gone. Reminds me of the chicken little weather coverage on where every approaching storm is a disaster.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 7:13 p.m.

If you read the original coverage of the police chief's talk, you'd see there's no mystery. It was clearly stated by the chief that these spikes in break-ins and home invasions are typical and they typically drop off as this one has.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 4:36 p.m.

Good job to the police, with all the cuts people complained about I see more patrol cars on our streets than ever before, so hopefully criminals are getting deterred a little bit.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 4:12 p.m.

Our neighborhood watch has come together lately and discussed recent burglaries. Three times in this past month I was notified of suspicious activity. Two of them were explained by the people that were knocking on doors when they produced a valid business identification that they were representing. One was an entry into a neighbor's house and three of us had the person come to the door and identify themselves and explain what reason they had for being there. The homeowner later confirmed that he had given a key to his friend to stay there temporarily. Key to this is having neighbors watch each other's homes throughout the day and get the word out to those of us that are home. We also let each other know when we will be out of town to remove flyers left on doors, drive up and down the driveways during snow, and shoveling each other's walks in front.


Mon, Mar 12, 2012 : 5:53 p.m.

If that works for you and you neighbors, more power to you. But frankly, that degree of diligence would make me uncomfortable.


Mon, Mar 12, 2012 : 2:22 a.m.

That mug shot? Is a watcher who is watching your home, your child and anything else you hold so dear. Nick? Your comment is out of line. We are watching and we have done something to our neighborhood and we have taken it back to make us feel safer. We have a group neighborhood watch with other streets. I do feel like I am making a different. Nick? That face in your window? Might be someone you don't want looking into your house. Because if I see someone doing so? Will be me calling 911. Unless you don't want us watching your house. Your choice.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 5:59 p.m.

I won't be surprised when I see your mug shot posted for window peeping.

Wolf's Bane

Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 3:30 p.m.

Like anyone living in A2 I am relieved to hear about the decline in home invasions. However, I was always taught that good offensive strategy was always a good defense one, so, with that in mind, I beg the city to hire more police and push for harsher property crime sentences. Send out a clear signal that this type of tomfoolery will not be tolerated in Ann Arbor! We have the number public education system in the state and one of the best small business incubators. Let's keep it that way by punishing criminals.


Mon, Mar 12, 2012 : 4:02 p.m.

tomfoolery? call it what it is...criminal behavior...

Linda Peck

Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 4:56 p.m.

I so agree! I am dismayed to see that criminals are so often allowed to go free in our town. We have a very liberal attitude toward all sorts of antisocial behavior as we are a very liberal town. I think this needs to change in certain areas, like crime control. We need many more cops, not just a few more cops.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

Dontcha hate those uncorrectable typos?


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 3:05 p.m.

Never did get around to locking the house... But I know there's at least one key around her somewhere.

John Davis

Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 2:54 p.m.

The NRA is promoting the use of the term "Home Invasion." It sounds a lot more scary than simple burglary and implies that you should keep a gun handy to repel "Home Invaders." Home invasions not involving drug transactions are extremely rare and simple burglaries do not elevate the fear factor nearly as much and hence do not serve 2 Amendment causes nearly as well.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

It is more scary. It is worse if someone breaks into your home where you and your family may be sleeping than your business that may be unoccupied. The use of the term is to delineate the difference and make is more serious to b & e homes. If the NRA supports this, good for them. And home invasions "not involving drug transactions" are NOT rare. I cannot imagine where you came up with that. The majority of home invasions have nothing to do with drug transactions other than the burglar may have to fund his habit. Burglaries into homes happen all the time.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

Home invasions are "extremely rare": but when they happen, they HAPPEN. Just as it did to the Petit family. If you read what happened to Dr. Petit, his wife and two teenage daughters after two "drifters w/o violent records" invaded their wide-open, unarmed residence: I think you may change your tune. Self defense (and family defense) is not only an inalienable right: it's a responsibility. The NRA Home Defense Course is included in the requirements for getting a Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL) - FOR GOOD REASON. It was created by experts in criminal behavior, self defense and legal experts: there's a distinction between that and random fear mongering to promote some ideological cause. Sometimes: ideologic claims just happen to coincide with reality and this is one of those examples. The choice is left to the individual: you have the right to choose to ignore the advice of the experts, just don't try setting yourself up as a helpless, innocent victim if home invaders do come calling. 27,000 new CPL licensees per year in Michigan disagree with you - that's 305,000 people in total. They have the right to choose too, you know.

Jojo B

Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

I think your anti-gun politics is clouding your perception. Call it what you will... "home invasion" or "burglary," you seem to want to downplay the crime. "Simple" burglaries as you put it DO elevate the fear factor. Now they don't make me feel the need to buy a gun as you suggest, but you sound like if somebody smashed in your window and stole all of your valuables, you'd shrug it off as no big deal. Trust me, it feels a lot worse than that.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 2:44 p.m.

One possible explanation - blame it on the weather. Look at the difference between Jan-Feb 2011 - snowy and cold and Jan-Feb 2012 - mild and sunny. What self respecting burglar/home invader wanted to work very hard in 2011's weather conditions. To top everything off, it's very hard to erase your footprints in the new fallen snow.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

Let's hope everyone doesn't let go a big sigh of relief and let their guard down now. I'm sure people being more aware and contacting the police is helping, but with the break-ins making the news, the criminals are aware of that, so they will stay away until it all dies down.

Silly Sally

Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 12:59 p.m.

I wish Michigan would call burglaries "burglaries" instead of "home invasions" The first time I heard this term, "home invasion", I actually thought that people had broken into someone's home while they were home, tied them up and terrorized them. There is a big difference. If a burglar breaks into my home while I'm sleeping, and he realizes it and leaves in a haste, good. If the law treats it the same then he has no incentive not to, other than me calling the police, who will be slow to arrive thanks to the mayor and council. Oh, so silly


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 7:04 p.m.

The answer to your dilemma Sally is that a few years back the breaking and entering law was amended for B & Es into homes, considered more serious than a break in of a commercial structure. That is where it comes. There are three degrees and 1st degree can result in up to 20 years in the hoosegow. The penalties are generally worse for home break ins. Actually in the law books, you will find Breaking and Entering and Home Invasion, but you will not find Burglary used much. There is one, MCL 750.112 Burglary with explosives.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 1:43 p.m.

It doesn't matter what they call it. What matters is what they do about it and how prepared someone is to make it harder for anyone to enter their home without permission. The prosecution of each case is where it matters what they call it.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

well, I went around my house, after hearing about the break ins, and checked to see if all my windows were locked. One of them was not so I credit the police and for getting the word out and making people realize crime is happening here. Now, Mr. Mayor I did my part, you do your part in supplying more police to the city...unfunding the arts can be a start.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 12:39 p.m.

"and more people calling police does have an impact on crime." Only if there are police to do something about it. Otherwise it's just people making phone calls.


Mon, Mar 12, 2012 : 2:17 a.m.

My CAT member? Will sit on my porch and clock cars. They will also patrol when you are out of town. They will come if you call.

Christopher LeClair

Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 11:57 a.m.

19 home invasions over a three-week period still feels like a lot. 82 home invasions in a month and a half? For being a seemingly rather small and cozy city, this just seems to be too much. That's great that community watch is having a strong impact on reducing these invasions. But, what else can be done to make Ann Arbor an even safer city?


Mon, Mar 12, 2012 : 2:16 a.m.

Get a member of the police dept, like we in Ypsi Township, got, called CAT, Community Action Team. What they do? Give you one of their cards and tell you to email them, call them or what ever to let them know you counted 10 speeding cars or loud cars or what ever to keep the neighborhood safe. As for me? Our neighborhood is a lot safer right now because we do email and call when I can count on one hand a speeder down our street. Keep vigilant.