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Forclosed homes called risks for crime in 113th

During the 113th Precinct's Community Council meeting Monday night, the commanding officer said that although robberies were down so far this year from the same period in 2007, burglaries had been up nearly 31 percent with 55 reported incidents. Johnson attributed the increase to burglars who target abandoned homes and construction sites."A lot of the burglars are going into these houses and stealing copper pipes, which they sell for money," she said.Johnson said she and her squad have been rounding up many suspects in the burglaries, but it was not enough to deter future crimes. She told residents to watch their neighbor's homes especially during the day, when she said burglars strike most often."If you see a home with a foreclosed sign and see people you don't know going in, call 911," she said.The mood of the meeting became more reflective when the precinct's youth group put on its Black History Month celebration. Six area children presented famous speeches from historical black figures, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Sojourner Truth."My heart is always overwhelmed by the youth. We really appreciate them and the presentations," said Community Council President Vivian McMillan.Special guest Andrew Jackson of the Langston Hughes Cultural Center Library was also impressed with the children's appreciation for the figures and instructed them to make their own mark on the world. Although he said black Americans have come a long way in the last 100 years, there is still much work to be done."You are the history makers," he told the group. "All those young people who go to school can make their own accomplishments."Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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