Shelburne has seen a spate of crime in recent weeks. Police Chief James Warden addressed a string of burglaries that have plagued residents in town at the last Selectboard meeting. In the past two weeks, there have been about a dozen automobile and home break-ins in town, six driver’s license suspended instances, two driving under the influences, and a warrant for an arrest.
Of these, two people have been cited in connection with the car break-ins. A woman residing at Harbor Place was cited in connection with possessing stolen property from a house break-in, and a man was caught breaking into the same house twice.
Selectboard Chair Gary von Stange recently went on a police ride-along where he learned first-hand about the homeless camps in the town woods. He praised the work of the Shelburne Police Department. “I did learn we have significantly more crime in Shelburne than I realized,” von Stange said.
While there is an uptick in recent crimes, there has not been an actual surge in overall crime. According to Shelburne Public Safety Answering Dispatch Center Administrator James Mack, overall town crime has been trending downward in the past few years.
In 2012, there was a total of 575 crimes in Shelburne which included 75 larcenies and 29 burglaries. That number dropped to 395 in 2013, with 88 larcenies and 26 burglaries.
Last year, there was a further drop to 324 total incidents, with 47 larcenies and 5 burglaries. While there are still several months left in 2015, Mack said that things are on track for an even lower overall number this year.
“The car break-ins and burglaries tend to be driven right now by the drugs,” Mack said. “Anything to get quick cash.”
This is in keeping with national trends. FBI crime statistics show drug addiction has had an impact not only on the state of Vermont, but the nation as a whole, and has been pointed to as a driving factor in many crimes.
Chief Warden said that certain types of crime tend to spike during certain times of year. For instance, in winter there are more camp break-ins. Around Christmas and New Year, there is usually a spike in burglaries.
“The big thing is if they see somebody suspicious, they shouldn’t hesitate to give us a call,” Mack said. “It doesn’t hurt to call us. We’ll go check on it.”