Following a reported increase in the number of break-ins since Super Typhoon Yutu hit the CNMI in late October, the Department of Public Safety has deployed more police officers to patrol Saipan after dark.
Department of Public Safety Commissioner Robert Guerrero said that about 16 or 17 burglaries were reported to the department following Super Typhoon Yutu. Many involved homes and establishments. He, however, said this is already a large drop compared to the number of break-ins after Typhoon Soudelor in 2015 when “we had generators just walking away.”
He said the 16 or 17 burglaries reported to police were “regular break-ins and people stealing cash and things of that nature.”
Because of the number of reported burglaries, the department has decided to deploy more officers in villages.
“I think we have [been doing better] because our officers have been more vigilant… we shifted more of our guys to work at night and less in the day…concentrating more in the villages…That’s why our burglary cases aren’t as much as anticipated and that was our worst worry. …Our worst fear was burglary picking up, as experienced after Soudelor,” he said.
Guerrero said that police officers are more vigilant in terms of picking up suspects or those involved in burglary cases.
“We’ve had a couple of burglaries but they haven’t been getting out of hand. We’ve also picked up a couple of people who either committed the burglaries or had something to do with the burglaries,” he said.
Guerrero said that although officers have already been deployed, there are people who will continue to try to outsmart the system. The most recent instance was consecutive break-ins in Gualo Rai.
“Right now, the burglaries at Gualo Rai are under investigation… we’re working with the owners of the burglarized places to find out what exactly was taken…we’re working closely on those cases,” he said.
According to a Gualo Rai resident who requested anonymity, his neighbor’s home was burglarized a few days ago and the 670 Rocksteady shop and the Poki Yaki restaurant was broken into a day before.
“We have many dogs in our compound that bark at everyone…so either the perp was known by the dogs or they used bait like food to shut them up,” he said.
Because of the consecutive break-ins, villagers are on their toes.
Guerrero is asking for the community’s assistance by notifying authorities if they have any information regarding break-ins or if they see any suspicious activity.
“People might think that it’s just little…but regardless if it’s a small or big case, we take it seriously, like we do with every other case that comes in…We’re all going through the recovery process and our concern is to keep the CNMI safe. …If you see a suspicious person or vehicle around, call us. Don’t wait until its too late,” he said.