Crime on the Main Line: Local Police Reveal the Level of Danger

In this expanded online story, we learn that the Main Line isn’t immune to serious crime. PLUS: Safety tips for preventing vehicle break-ins and more.



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“If we respond to everything rapidly, [criminals] learn that this is not an attractive place to commit a crime,” says Tredyffrin’s police superintendent, Andy Chambers, whose playbook calls for a minute-and-a-half response time. In the past two years, he says, 911 calls for police service in Tredyffrin have increased by 20 percent. “People expect more,” says Chambers. “Police now teach in schools, intervene in domestic squabbles.”

The trend in Tredyffrin has been encouraging. Based on year-end totals, serious crime dropped by a third from 2007 to 2010, and less serious offenses decreased by half for the same period. Last year, 225 of 284 serious offenses were thefts.

“We’re not going the way of more in-your-face crime,” says Chambers, who credits the township’s Town Watch association for giving police a heads-up when potential trouble is spotted.

In Lower Merion Township, a spike in burglaries—from 133 in 2009 to 226 last year—may be a sign of the economic times. Likewise, the number of serious crimes—which had been dropping—climbed by 26 percent in 2010, with thefts and burglaries making up 1,092 of the 1,145 offenses.

“Thirty years ago, you knew where the burglars were coming from. Today, they travel from all over,” says Lower Merion Police Superintendent Mike McGrath. “One we caught was responsible for 14 burglaries in Chestnut Hill.”
 

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