Jerusalem of <i>stolen</i> gold

Exclusive: New police unit created to stop rash of burglaries in capital.

german colony 88 (photo credit: )
german colony 88
(photo credit: )
A steady stream of burglaries in Jerusalem's wealthier neighborhoods has led to the establishment of a special police unit to deal with the growing phenomenon, Jerusalem Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. Residents of neighborhoods including Beit Hakerem, Rehavia, Katamon, Talbiyeh and the German Colony have reported hundreds of burglaries in the past year and especially in the last two months, according to the police. To that end, they have appointed Cmdr. Avi Roiff to head a new unit of 150 police officers to exclusively handle the matter. A woman whose Kiryat Shmuel house was broken into three times in the last month-and-a-half told the Post on Sunday that the police said they could not help. "They [the thieves] emptied my house, took two laptops, a digital camera and jewelries. They messed up the entire house, threw everything on the floor and even took some sweatshirts and cheap silver jewelry that mean nothing to them but mean a great deal to me," she said. According to the woman, apartments in the building she lives in and in the building across the road were burglarized as well. "There were five theft attempts on the apartment next to mine, and each time he [my neighbor] had to fix the security bars they ruined," she said, adding that the residents of her building had to install a lighting system in the building's entrance to reduce the risk of burglary. Ben-Ruby said in response: "There is an increase in the Number of burglaries in the wealthier neighborhoods of jerusalem. Jerusalem district police commander maj.-gen. ilan franco established a new unit of 150 police officers whose job it is to deal exclusively with this problem. I assume we will be able to see results in a few months from now." "Less than a year ago my house was burglarized on friday night when my family and i went to have dinner at my parents' house," said a Yefeh Nof resident who added that three of the four apartments in his building were robbed since then. "They entered the house from the porch and stole cameras, a printer and a mobile phone. they even took shoes and cigarettes, emptied the children's piggy bank, and of course, trashed the house. a few months later, my car was stolen from our private parking lot, and later on, i caught them in the act while they tried to steal my neighbor's car. Finally, after i called the police, the burglars managed to escape and left the car behind," he said. He added that the current situation is very frustrating and for other residents even horrifying. "I have to wake up three times a night to check if the car wasn't stolen and if everyone is all right. It is only a matter of time until people start taking the law into their own hands, and I don't care if the police are busy with political issues, conflict around the temple mount or fining criminal drivers - I want them to patrol here regularly." Locksmiths and window bar installers who work in these neighborhoods have confirmed the general trend. "There has been an increase in break-ins on streets like Balfour in the Talbiyeh neighborhood and on Moshe Cole street in Ramat Beit Hakerem in the last months. Most people who called us to install security bars said they had noticed suspicious people wandering the neighborhood and checking houses and residents' schedules," said Sahar Adrian of the manuy manul locksmith company. "There is a feeling that some sort of a gang is operating in Beit Hakerem, Talbiyeh and the German Colony. our clients say they are in despair because this means financial and personal damages. One of my clients, an old lady, refused to go back into her house for two months until we finished installing an alarm system, security bars and new locks in her house. The police don't do anything to handle the situation, which they claim is a result of a human resources shortage. they just come, write down the details, report on them and leave. I haven't heard about a single case that ended in the police catching the thieves and returning the stolen possessions to the owners," said Yoni David of the security and protection company.