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Thursday February 25th

Chapel Hill experienced an increase in breaking and entering cases during October

<p>Customers walk into The Purple Bowl on Nov. 5 2020, one of the businesses that has been a victim to recent break-ins.</p>
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Customers walk into The Purple Bowl on Nov. 5 2020, one of the businesses that has been a victim to recent break-ins.

Nine businesses were broken into in Chapel Hill and Carrboro during the month of October. 

Aaron Nelson, president and CEO of the Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro, said in an Oct. 30 email to local businesses that the incidents were unusual and either a glass door or window was shattered to gain access inside.  

To keep your business safe from a break-in, the Chapel Hill Police Department recommends: 

  • Keeping the inside of your business, including entrances and exits, well lit
  • Locking all outside entrances and inside security doors with deadbolt locks
  • Making sure the cash register, left open and empty after closing, is visible from outside the store 

Some of the businesses that were broken into include Breadmen's, The Pig, Chapel Hill Wine Company, Epilogue and Carrburitos, according to Chapel Hill and Carrboro police reports. 

None of the businesses broken into responded to a request for comment. 

But Ran Northam, Interim Communications Manager for the Town of Chapel Hill, said a slight spike in the number of forcible break-ins to Chapel Hill businesses is likely an anomaly. 

Six of the businesses broken into with force in October were in Chapel Hill, according to Chapel Hill Police Reports. 

Two of these businesses were broken into on the same night, which Northam said counted as three instances of breaking and entering.

Five of the six breaking and entering cases from October involved the breaking of glass. This includes the two businesses that were broken into on the same night.

Before October, six businesses in Chapel Hill were broken into with force in Chapel Hill from July through September.

“It’s not this huge spike for the month, because of those three happening at once,” Northam said. “Maybe it was one person who went door-to-door and quickly went into businesses and did things all at once. And we haven’t seen an increase since.”

Northam said Chapel Hill police are doing what they can to find the perpetrator or perpetrators of these break-ins.

“Even if it is a one-time thing, the Chapel Hill Police Department takes this very seriously,” Northam said. “And even if it weren’t three cases, if it were just one case, we want to assist the business community however we can to help protect them. Every case is important, especially in these times.”

Matt Gladdek, Executive Director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, said 
he has not seen a change in how safe the Chapel Hill community is, even during the pandemic.

“There’s just a lot of people that are more desperate and are taking more risks,” Gladdek said. “I’ve not been aware of anyone who's been put at risk in any of these break-ins that have happened across the Triangle.”

In the Oct. 30 email,  Nelson shared a few tips from the Chapel Hill Police Department on how to reduce the likelihood of a business becoming a target for burglary.

These tips include: 

  • Keeping the inside of the business, including entrances and exits, well lit.
  • Locking all outside entrances and inside security doors with deadbolt locks.
  • Making sure the cash register, left open and empty after closing, is visible from outside the store. 
  • Making sure safes are fireproof and securely anchored, and changing the combination when someone who has access to it leaves the business.
  • Learning to use alarm systems properly and considering video camera installation.

The email concluded by saying businesses concerned with safety should reach out to the Chamber for more help.

Both Chapel Hill and Carrboro police offer free security surveys for businesses looking to improve their level of safety. According to the Carrboro website, the survey includes an evaluation of points of entry, security systems, lights, landscaping and other risks.

Some of the measures taken to protect businesses, such as the use of a security camera, would do more to help locate stolen property after a break-in rather than prevent it altogether.

“At the end of the day, you’re not necessarily going to stop someone from taking advantage of you,” Northam said. “We’ll certainly advise steps to do that, but we can also put in things that would help in an investigation to try to get that property back.”

Northam said businesses should reach out to police if they still feel unprotected.

“Officers are going to continue to investigate, and we’ll continue to help the businesses however they need it,” Northam said. “The police department is only a phone call away.”

@trevorwmoore

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com

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