Due to a drastic decline in the number of reported burglaries to businesses in Graham through the beginning of 2014, Grahamites’ overall perception of safety has increased.

In January, Graham City Councilwoman Pam Scott called for a task force on the issue of burglaries that she feels is still necessary. Judicial and law enforcement entities have recently worked together to raise bonds and levy stiffer penalties in connection with the burglaries, and Scott said that it should not end there.

“The task force will still be a reality,” she said earlier this week.

Many of the burglaries during the spree occurred on the northeast side of Graham, with several concentrated on the 1000 block of Fourth Street. Fred Ortegon, owner of Fred’s Carpets on Fourth Street, said that his business was broken into multiple times at the end of 2013. Since the recent penalty increase, he said he’s noticed less suspicious-looking activity.

“It has decreased a lot,” Ortegon said of the illegal activity. He added that he perceives more of a police presence in his area. “Not that the police weren’t doing a good job then. I think there were just some young kids that came from other towns and were visiting and stuff and it just got out of hand. They would come in and out. I think they pretty well got several of the ones that were out there really stealing and stuff. I think they’ve done well.”

Anita Farmer, who co-owns The Quilt Box on Fourth Street with her husband, said that she feels safer now, but continues taking precautions.

Read the entire story in this weekend's Graham Leader.