SOUTH PORTLAND – South Portland police report a surge in burglaries and urged residents Wednesday to do a better job securing their homes.

Police sent an automated message to telephones and email addresses on the department’s citywatch system that said 46 burglaries have been reported in the city since July 1, almost twice as many as in the same period last year.

The reports came in from throughout the city but a large number – 11 – were in the Redbank neighborhood. Three of those have occurred in the past two days and four in the past week, during both the daytime and at night, the message said.

Burglars seem to be gaining access to homes through unlocked doors and windows and taking electronics, including computers and video games.

“This is a reminder to residents to secure the windows and doors on your homes, garages and sheds. Try to make your home look occupied at all times, even if no one is there. Use motion or outside lighting, and get to know your neighbors so you can help to watch out for each other,” the message said.

Another step residents can take is to record the serial numbers of electronics and other items a thief might steal. Police often recover stolen items but cannot trace them to a specific burglary because a resident does not have a record of the item’s serial number.

The numbers can be recorded quickly by taking a photograph of the number with a cellphone, police said.

Anyone witnessing a burglary attempt is asked to call 911. To report something suspicious, call the department’s non-emergency line at 874-8575.

For more information about preventing burglary or other crimes, call the department’s Community Response Unit at 799-5511, ext. 7236.

Residents can view an interactive map listing crimes in the city by going to http://www.raidsonline.com/.

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

dhench@mainetoday.com

Twitter: @Mainehenchman