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Warning after spike in local burglaries

POLICE are reminding locals to keep their windows locked at night and keep a close eye on valuables after a sharp rise in burglaries, city police said yesterday.

From mid-April to mid-May, 1,432 burglaries were reported in the city, a 53 percent rise from the same period last year, police said.

"Shanghai is now cleaning the facades of buildings for next year's World Expo," said Qin Yong from the Hongkou District police. "Many scaffolds have been set up outside residential buildings for cleaning, which makes it easier for burglars to climb."

The district police have just cracked a gang who have burglarized more than 130 households since 2005 by climbing up to 15 stories and forcing windows open.

Police thought a gang may be operating when five families in Hongkou District's Jiaxing area were burglarized on March 5, as well as several others in the same district.

All the cases happened before dawn, and the thieves had accessed windows by climbing up external air conditioners.

Officers recovered a stolen mobile phone and two laptops in second-hand markets, all of which were sold by a man surnamed Zhang, who led officers to the gang.

The police detained four of the gang in Shanghai South Railway Station in March. The rest were caught in a restaurant on Yunya Road in Pudong New Area the same night.

"Almost all the security cameras in the burglarized properties, including some upmarket ones, weren't working," Qin said. "Residential management should pay more attention to their security devices."


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