Holiday burglaries increase

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday burglaries and thefts are on the rise throughout Covington County.

Lt. Paul Dean of the Andalusia Police Department said the department is investigating a Wednesday break-in at the Andalusia Christian Service Center, as well as other residential burglaries.

“They didn’t take anything (from the center),” Dean said. “Strange, but they broke in.”

The break in was found when staff arrived to open the business.

Chief Wilbur Williams said officers are also investigating several residential burglaries, as well.

Throughout the county, residents are “having (their) share” of thefts as well, said Sheriff Dennis Meeks.

“I’m not sure it’s tied specifically to the holidays, but we are experiencing a number of thefts and burglaries,” he said. “Residents – whether they live in town or in the county- should takes steps to protect themselves against thefts.

“It has happened in the past that presents were stolen right out from under the Christmas tree,” he said. “To my knowledge, that hasn’t happened this year, but it’s better to work to protect yourself and your home.

“First, if you have an alarm system, make sure you arm it before leaving the house,” he said. “If you don’t have one, it might be a good idea to look into one.

“Next, make sure you don’t leave stuff out in the open where it’s obvious,” he said. “Also, it’s very easy to see what someone has inside the home by simply looking in through the windows. So, make sure you pull the blinds so people can’t see in.

“Here at Christmas, it would be easy for a thief to see that tree with the presents under it and go from there,” he said.

Meeks also recommended residents keep a watchful eye on the daily happenings around the home.

“I’ve said it before you are the eyes and ears of your community,” he said. “You know who lives in your area. Who belongs and who doesn’t. If you see a strange vehicle that looks like it shouldn’t be there or if they’re riding slowly up and down the streets, call 911 immediately.

“Try to get a description of the vehicle and tag number if you can,” he said. “That information is very important and could help solve a crime.”

Both Meeks and Williams recommended recording serial numbers of electronic items and firearms, as well as documenting them digital pictures for tracking and insurance purposes.

“You’d be amazed at how much that helps when trying to identify or describe a piece of jewelry,” Williams said.