MERRILLVILLE | Police Chief Joseph Petruch is pleased with the decrease in crime Merrillville experienced in 2013.
Violent crime — homicide, robbery, rape and assault — dropped by nearly 13 percent.
"Overall, the stats look good as far as I'm concerned," Petruch said.
The majority of property crime also dropped in 2013. Burglary was the only aspect of property crime that escalated last year in Merrillville, and the increase wasn't subtle.
There were 100 more burglaries in 2013 than there were in 2012, police statistics show.
Petruch said Merrillville was among many communities throughout Northwest Indiana that had burglaries increase in 2013.
To combat the issue, Merrillville police conducted saturation patrols in areas where several burglaries occurred in town. Petruch was among those involved in patrols.
"I can't tolerate it," Petruch said of burglaries.
He said police were successful in filing charges in many burglaries and other crimes from last year.
Officers closed 91 percent of the case reports that were assigned last year. The closure rate in 2012 was 73 percent.
Petruch said there were many occasions last year when one person was responsible for several burglaries.
He believes many burglaries were committed by people trying to support drug habits. He said many suspects in cases told police they sold items that were stolen to buy drugs, most commonly heroin and marijuana.
Petruch said many burglaries from last year occurred during the day while residents were at work. Burglars often targeted more affluent areas of Merrillville.
Petruch encouraged residents to call police if they witness any suspicious activity.
"That's what we need," he said, "We need phone calls."