Burglaries up as COVID-19 continues to close businesses

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The Chamorro Village was just one of the establishments recently burglarized as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to force stores to be closed.

Burglaries are on the rise and juvenile offenders are decreasing. This is the trend the Guam Police Department is seeing amidst the island’s COVID-19 pandemic.

Reports of break-ins have been made by, George Washington High school, the Lutheran Church in Anigua, and the Chamorro Village.

Guam Police Department spokesman Sgt. Paul Tapao says that with the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, many businesses are closed, making them easy targets for thieves. Tapao says the burglaries they have seen are associated with the businesses not being occupied.

“So far, from what we are tracking, there’s really a lot of break-ins, a lot of burglaries. You know people are sheltering at home and leaving their businesses exposed. So we are asking the community, our respective neighborhood watch programs throughout the community, to just be the eyes and ears of the Guam Police Department and just report any suspicious activity that’s happening within our respective villages,” Tapao said.

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Like businesses, island residents are at risk of being targeted. A number of island residents have turned to social media to alert the community of stolen vehicles and thefts to motor vehicles. However, according to Tapao they have not seen an increase in reports of thefts to motor vehicles. He shares this is due in part to GPD’s curfew enforcement.

“A lot of the burglaries to motor vehicles are committed by juveniles and minors, a lot of theft of motor vehicles are committed by them. And then we have the task force out there enforcing the curfew laws,” Tapao said.

Tapao says since the enforcement of curfew laws, they are seeing fewer juveniles on the streets which translates to fewer juvenile arrests. Curfew law requires that all minors be home by 10 pm on weekdays and 12 midnight on weekends.

“So long as your parents or legal guardians are aware of your whereabouts and of course who you are with. And we are really asking parents to be the owners of their kids and take responsibility and exercise their social responsibility as parents and being the stewards of the community by looking after their kids and just knowing where they are at,” Tapao said.

Tapao reminds the community that there are times minors will have to be confined based on the crimes committed and parents will be held liable for their children out past curfew which includes a fine of up to $500.

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Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.