(Editor’s note: Melissa Chipman and Terry Boyd contributed to this post. This post was updated at 10 a.m. on January 15. Several readers including former Courier-Journal editor Thomas Nord pointed out that we’d used the word “robbery” when we meant “burglary.” From Thomas: In police parlance, a robbery is when someone personally takes something from you, using fear and/or force in the process. A burglary is when someone breaks into your home, car, or business. Our apologies.)
A chain of emails has been making the rounds between Highlands neighborhood activists alerting residents about multiple burglaries in the area in December into January.
One resident writes, “Our Highlands neighborhood has been under siege from robberies.”
By our estimates from the LouivilleKY.gov crime map, about 200 burglaries have been reported during the past three months from Butchertown and Germantown on the west, east to the Highlands, Crescent Hill and Lexington Road neighborhoods into Saint Matthews.
According to multiple accounts, many of the burglaries are happening during the day, with burglars breaking into homes from back yards, back windows and back doors.
In the case of the most recent burglary, which happened this past Saturday, the owner was working in his back yard during the University of Louisville game, and the intruder or intruders entered the home at the front door and ransacked the house.
In the last few days, burglaries have occured on Cherokee Road, Bonnycastle, Alta Avenue and other streets.
“There continues to be numerous burglaries every day. It is crazy how many houses have been hit in the last few months – Spring Drive, Cherokee Road, Kenilworth Avenue, Valley Drive, Eastern Parkway, etc.,” one resident wrote.
According to the email chain, despite the similarities in the acts, the perpetrators – the few times they’ve been spotted or apprehended – have nothing in common except being male.
An interesting point, says 44-year Highlands resident Larry Bisig of Bisig Impact Group, is that a number of these incidents have occurred “within 150 yards of the Mayor’s house.” There are a lot of implications there, Bisig said, including whether or not the city is doing enough to protect Metro Mayor Greg Fischer.
Many of the homes that Bisig speaks of are multi-million dollar properties and are within sight of another famous local home – the Barnstable Brown home. Several of the houses have recently been renovated.
Bisig said this rash of burglaries is “extremely unusual. Brazen thefts taking place in one of the highest end real estate areas of Louisville.”
“People are getting serious about this,” Bisig continued. “People are getting their concealed carry permits in an area that’s previously been considered super safe.”
There have been several recent robberies in the Frankfort Avenue area, as well in homes near Top Hill / Upland.
One Top Hill resident reported coming home in the early afternoon and finding a dark green van parked near his house. When he unlocked the door, he found his home in a shambles, with his computer and other valuables bundled up. When police showed up 10 minutes after his call, the officers warned him the burglars might still be inside the house. Christmas gifts were riffled and his coin collection was missing. “They would have taken a lot more, I am sure, but I returned earlier than they expected.”
Police did not return our email asking just how out-of-the-ordinary this crime spree really is. However, by comparison Officer Matt Butler of the Louisville Metro Police Deparment told the NuLu Business Association meeting last Wednesday that the NuLu area of East Market has had only a couple incidents of car break-ins in the past month.
There are a lot of tips for home and neighborhood security available at the National Sheriff’s Association Neighborhood Watch website, including a checklist for keeping your home safe while you’re away on vacation. And good ol’ McGruff the Crime Dog has a whole section of his website devoted for home security tips for kids.
But a lot of it is common sense. Lock those doors, folks. Leave your porch lights on at night. Look out for your neighbors and for their property.
No matter what neighborhood you live in.