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Recent robberies have law enforcement on alert

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Recent robberies have law enforcement on alert
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If you feel like you've been hearing about More robberies in Broome County you're not mistaken. The area has been hit with a rash of crimes in recent weeks. As our Janelle Burrell tells us, it has both businesses and law enforcement on alert.

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- As manager of the Cyber West Cafe, Jennifer Heggelke says she's seen her share of suspicious characters.

"Being on Main street, being open until 1a.m. on the weekends, sometimes we get shady people, intoxicated people that wander in and you never know if it's going to be dangerous," Heggelke said.

Thankfully, none of them have ever pulled a weapon. But many of her fellow business managers in the area haven't been as lucky.

"Reading the reports and knowing what's going on, I've seen the rise in armed robberies," said David Harder, Broome County Sheriff.

A number of convenience stores throughout the county have been hit in recent weeks with armed men demanding money, often making off with cash.

Sheriff Harder is still compiling the statistics, but says the spike hasn't been isolated to robberies.

"Your petty larcenies involving thefts from vehicles have gone up. The larcenies have picked up in grocery stores," Harder explained.

Most business beef up their protection with cameras, but at Cyber Café West, management says security for them is much more than just surveillance devices, they say for them it's very important to maintain a close working relationship with local law enforcement.

"Open communication with the police, letting them know you'd appreciate if they drive by, stopped in," Hegggelke said. "If they just make themselves visible I think that can really deter people."

And law enforcement say they are taking more precautions on their end as well.

"You try to have your cars patrol the areas more - particularly where the convenience stores are, check more often," Harder said.

Harder says the spikes in crime tend to happen in unpredictable waves, but says he and his staff are putting together a crime map to further examine trends.

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