Boca Raton Police worried about "revolving door" of arrests

BOCA RATON, Fla. - The red pins on Ruth Paez' homemade map show where burglars have struck in her University Park neighborhood.

Paez is a crime watch volunteer and says most of the twelve break-ins happened during the first six months of the year, just as police saw a 20 percent citywide spike in burglaries.

Her neighbor, Bobby Pitsenbarger, is sorry to say his house is represented by a red pin on the map. His iPad was stolen in March.

'It was shocking they got in," he said

Police say there's good news and bad news.

The good news is that since they started Operation Neighborhood Watch in May, they've arrested 41 suspects for prowling, burglary and marijuana possession.

"We doubled up our efforts in terms of undercover units, we reassigned folks from different divisions to road patrol, we have intelligence briefings everyday," said police spokesman Mark Economou.

The bad news, they say,  is that 28 of the 41 suspects have been released from custody, after serving their time or making bond.

Boca police have already arrested five of those 28 a second or even third time.

"We're taking them off the street, albeit temporarily, albeit they're getting right back out there again. It's what is going on society," said Economou.

It's why police are urging everyone to keep a close watch.

Paez' sharp eyes helped catch a 17 year-old suspect in May who police say was prowling and carrying tools often used to commit burglaries.

"I saw him jump over the fence and run across the yard."

She says she first saw a suspicious person in a neighbors' yard who she knew had gone out. To her, Operation Neighborhood Watch isn't just about the police watching.

"That's what's most important, worrying about your neighbors. Helping to take care of the neighborhood," said Paez.

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