Hampden's rising crime rate sticks out like a sore thumb in the Northern District.
Crime is down in every major category districtwide except larceny from auto, but is up noticeably in Hampden, especially larceny from auto, according to district commander Major Sabrina Tapp-Harper.
"I think the issue here is burglaries and larceny from auto," Tapp-Harper told the Hampden Village Merchants Association on Wednesday.
Hampden had has had 71 larcenies from auto this year, compared to 24 for the same time period last year, she said. Districtwide, larceny from auto is up 20 percent, she said.
GPS devices and iPads are especially popular targets, often sitting in plain view in unlocked cars, Tapp-Harper said.
"Don't leave electronics or valuables inside where someone can see them," she warned an audience of about 30 merchants at the monthly meeting at the Hampden Family Center.
Burglaries have also risen sharply in Hampden, while declining districtwide. Hampden has had 25 burglaries this year, and had 16 for the same period last year, Tapp-Harper said. Districtwide, burglaries are down 23 percent.
Also up dramatically over last year in Hampden are aggravated assaults — 15 this year and six for the same time frame in 2012, compared to a 28 percent drop districtwide, Tapp-Harper said. She said many assaults were from domestic disputes.
Some merchants at the meeting cited a rash of burglaries in recent weeks on The Avenue, West 36th Street, the main commercial corridor of Hampden. Tapp-Harper said only two burglaries were reported in the most recent 28-day statistics for the Northern District, but merchants named the coffee cafe Spro, the eatery Luigi's, the bar Zissimo's, and Bryan's Finds and Designs as recent victims, although not necessarily in the same 28-day period.
Despite the rise in Hampden crime, deployment of police officers is about the same in the area as it has been for the past 30 years, Tapp-Harper told the merchants.
"With the limited resources we have," I think we're doing everything we can," she said.
Tapp-Harper said after the meeting that she doesn't plan to put any more officers in Hampden.
"I don't have any more to put out," she said.