Naperville has stepped up police patrols to combat a recent rash of burglaries and also may tighten the rules for pawn shops to deter burglars from selling stolen goods, officials said.
Police Chief Bob Marshall told the City Council police are looking into several possible suspects in the burglaries, but did not have anyone in custody as of Tuesday night.
While residential burglaries are actually down for 2013 compared to last year, there have been 29 in just the past six weeks compared to 22 during the same period in 2012, Marshall said.
Burglars appear to be targeting the city's south side, although some incidents have occurred on the north as well, Marshall said. The crimes have occurred during both day and night with some burglars forcing their way into homes and others taking advantage of unlocked doors. He believes three or four groups are working independently and said the department has "committed an enormous amount of resources" to catching them.
The police department is redeploying officers from other units, using trained volunteers from Community Radio Watch, alerting homeowners and conducting operations with both uniformed and plain-clothes officers.
"Many times residents will say 'well we're not seeing police cars in the neighborhood.' Sometimes we don't want to be seen in the neighborhoods because we are operating covertly," Marshall said.
He said the city has "a number of suspects we're looking at," but does not have anyone in custody.
Marshall also applauded residents for their response, phoning in 628 calls of suspicious people or incidents in the past three weeks. He asked them to continue to be vigilant.
"We're encouraging people to lock their doors, shut your garage and do not make yourselves an easy target," he said. "The crime of burglary is a crime of opportunity."
He will be answering additional questions for residents at 7 p.m. Sept. 18 at Madison Junior High, 1000 River Oak Drive.
The city also has been working with neighboring police departments as well as pawn shops as they investigate the crimes. Councilman Steve Chirico suggested the city require pawn shops and cash-for-gold operations to take photos or video of all transactions along with a copy of the customer's ID as some neighboring cities have done.
"With Aurora making this change it certainly makes sense that any stolen items that happen to occur in Aurora would come to our city to trade them in unidentified, anonymously," he said.
City attorney Margo Ely said her staff already is working with the police department on crafting such a requirement. Staff could bring it back to the City Council for approval this fall after also consulting with the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.