A Message from Sheriff Scott Israel

BSO’S BAT HITS A HOME RUN AGAINST BURGLARY

Burglary is one of the most disturbing, traumatizing crimes, and many will be a victim at least once in a lifetime. Anyone, in any neighborhood, can be the victim of a burglary. Burglars these days are not just looking for valuable items, but are often also seeking personal information that can lead to identity theft and fraud.

Last January, following six months of investigation and surveillance, BSO’s Burglary Apprehension Team (BAT) arrested the suspected ringleader and a group of his accomplices from a large burglary gang responsible for over 100 residential break-ins throughout Broward County. The gang liked to kick down the front doors of homes – typically in broad daylight when they believed the owner was out – and quickly steal jewelry, electronics, personal information and anything else of value.

Unfortunately for these dangerous criminals, our innovative BAT shut them down.

This arrest was just one of many early successes since I created the unit in 2014. Most recently, BAT helped apprehend the teenager responsible for a rash of dozens of car smash-and-grab burglaries plaguing Oakland Park.

Since BAT was created, the team helped reduce burglaries in our community by 31% in 2014 (the highest rate of decline statewide) – and we’ve seen an additional 16% drop already in January - September 2015. In just 17 months since being launched, the BAT made 203 felony and misdemeanor arrests for numerous crimes including burglary, dealing in stolen property, grand theft, grand theft auto and active warrants for armed kidnapping, lewd and lascivious molestation and other violent crimes. BAT also recovered more than $21,000 in cash and seized stolen guns from the hands of criminals.

The priority of BAT is to identify and arrest those responsible for residential burglaries in Broward County, which most often occur when people are at work or school. The team’s tactics are generally the surveillance of burglary “hot spots” and known or suspected burglars, plus the use of cutting-edge law enforcement technology.

The team consists of eight detectives from assorted BSO districts and a BSO sergeant assigned to our countywide regional services. On most days, at least one or two municipal police officers join our BSO detectives to help apprehend suspects who operate across the borders of various local cities when committing their burglaries. The BAT works closely with detectives from many local police departments, including Wilton Manors, Plantation, Margate and Coral Springs. This joint effort has solved burglaries that occurred across Broward County. BAT has also joined forces with the Boca Raton Police Department and the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office to form a multi-jurisdictional burglary task force. The pooling of law enforcement investigators is a vital part of the teamwork that makes BAT so effective. Crooks don’t hesitate to cross city or county borders, so neither does the BAT.

You may not see a “BAT signal” in the sky, but this specialized unit is working around the clock to stop burglars and protect your home. BAT’s proactive tactics help stop break-ins before they occur, making Broward County a safer place for all of us.

Office Of The Sheriff
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