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As budget cuts force police burglary unit to disband, Utica facing spike in thefts

By JOLEEN FERIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Home burglaries and car larcenies are on the rise in the city of Utica and in a stroke of the worst kind of timing, the police department's specialized burglary unit has disbanded, a victim of recent budget cuts.

From last June to June of this year, burglaries in the city are up 55%, with authorities saying that East Utica, in particular, seeing a spike. There, the number of car larcenies from June, 2009, to this June has increased more than six-fold, from two to 13.

Home burglaries in the area between Eagle and Broad streets have risen, too, from 14 in June of 2009 to 25 last month. The Chief of Police says the absence of the city's burglary unit is impacting the police department's ability to solve the crimes.

"Let's face it, the cuts and demotions, I've lost 11 investigators and as a result of that, my property crimes from year to date are up 48% from the previous year," said Utica Police Chief Mark Williams. "A lot of it, it can be said, is being driven by the economy, which could be the case, but I have less investigators now to do follow up investigations."

Eric Dorozynski, of Hilton Ave in east Utica, came home from work on Friday to find his house ransacked.

"When they broke in , you know, they're dumping drawers, they took all our jewelry, Playstation 3, all the games, controllers, anything of value they could get in, they cleared all our liquor," says Dorozynski. Equally as disturbing: the way the thief or thieves got the items out of the house.

"They dumped my daughter's softball bag, and they dumped all that on the floor and load it with all your precious goods," says Dorozynski.

The Dorozynskis did manage to recover a strong box filled with important documents in a nearby cemetery. Police tell them the chances or recovering their stolen belongings are slim to none. Equally as difficult to replace: their sense of security.

"My wife and my daughter feel uneasy at home, that's the hardest thing right now, picking the pieces up."

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