bennett-lane-1Little Silver police, aided by a police dog, investigated a burglary at a home on Bennett Lane last Thursday. (Photo by Peter Lindner; click to enlarge)

Little Silver and Red Bank police are investigating a pair of similar residential burglaries committed less than half a mile apart on the same day last week, authorities in the adjacent towns say.

In the Little Silver break-in, reported last Thursday at 1:48p on Bennett Lane, police collected physical evidence they hope will lead them to the perp or perps. They also brought in a tracking dog from Atlantic Highlands in an unsuccessful effort to find the burglars, who forced their way into a house through a locked front door and made off with a stash of jewelry, says Sergeant Dan Shaffrey.

The same day, at an unspecified time between 8:30a and 5:03p, a burglary was committed at a home on Silverwhite Avenue in Red Bank, police reported. There, the burglar tore an alarm off the wall and made off with cash and jewelry.

“We don’t have any evidence at this point that links the two, but we’re certainly looking at that possibility,” Red Bank Chief Steve McCarthy tells redbankgreen.

Do the burglaries signify an uptick in such crimes?

Shaffery says there seems to be an increase in break-ins, though he did not immediately have data available. “It’s very common all over the area,” he says. “Nobody’s immune to it.”

But McCarthy, citing hard data, says burglaries are down slightly this year, continuing a longterm trend.

Since 1990, when the borough investigated 90 breaking-and-enterings, the number has settled to an annual average in the thirties, he says.

In the first five months of 2010, there have been 11 burglaries reported in the borough, McCarthy says, compared to 12 in the same period last year.

For all of last year, there were 22, down from 31 in 2008 and 61 in 2007.

And the number is easily skewed upward, McCarthy says, when a serial burglar decides to go on a spree.

“One guy can really crush your crime rate,” he says.

Shaffery says Little Silver police advise homeowners not only to lock their homes and cars, but to alert them to any sign of suspicious activity.

“We’d rather come out and find nothing than to find out too late that someone’s house has been broken into,” he says.