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Police attribute rise in violent crime to drugs

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - In the last four days, police have responded to more than two dozen reports of burglaries and two armed robberies. The Guam Police Department has noticed an increase in crimes around the island and it's only expected to get worse as the holidays are fast approaching. 

"What we are identifying with the Criminal Investigation Division is there has been a steady increase over the last year and a half on violent crimes, specifically robberies, as well vehicles break-ins, car burglaries and residential burglaries," said Lieutenant Ron Taitano. "We are starting to see an increase in home invasions." Taitano says while there are no statistics available at this time, GPD believes one major factor is behind many of the crimes that are occurring as of late, saying, "We are attributing a lot of that to drugs - unfortunately that seems to be the root of a lot of these violent crimes the need and desire to obtain drugs.

"So while we are making strides in closing out and making apprehensions it seems new players come into the picture and start escalating the level of violence."

In light of the recent rash of robberies, police are conducting multiple investigations.  As for the recent rash of robberies at local village stores, police advocate good cash handling practices. "In the past would clearly advertise that they would not have more than a certain amount in the store at any given time. And if you look at them how many times were they robbed over the course of time? Very little, if not at all," he said.

"Whereas a lot of the others small business mom and pop stores gas stations and these game rooms do not advertise it they are dark lot of the stores have business advertisement that blocks the front of you seeing what comes in and from us seeing what's happening inside the store," he said.

Taitano urges businesses and residents alike to take precaution. With the holiday season coming up, there is normally a spike in crime as well during that time so police urge the community to be on alert and report any suspicious activity.

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