Burglary numbers up in county

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 5, 2013

Nearly every day, there are new stories about thieves hitting homes in the county, and it’s a situation that isn’t likely to change, the Covington County Sheriff’s Office reports.

Statistics show that in 2012, deputies worked 157 burglaries throughout the county. That number is on its way to exceeding that, said Lt. Ted Motley.

“So far in 2013, we’re sitting at 75 burglaries, and we’re only six months into the year,” Motley said. “Historically, we know that most of the burglaries in this county happen during the latter part of the year, and when we look at the 2012 numbers, we can show that most burglaries happen between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when people are at work.”

Motley said the general opinion is the county’s burglary situation shows no signs of improving.

“I can say that burglaries will increase because of two things – the economy and so that thieves can feed their drug habit. The worse the economy gets, the harder it gets for thieves to get money to support their habit.”

Motley said reports show that the most burglaries happen in the Sanford, Babbie, Onycha and Horn Hill areas, followed by River Falls and Red Level.

He said burglaries in the first six months of 2013 are higher than in that same period – specifically 75 burglaries this year compared to the 54 last year.

“When they say drugs are a victimless crime, they don’t realize the effects that we all suffer,” he said. “The families have to deal with the issue of drug abuse. The community has to contend with the burglaries and thefts that come along with drug offenses that are committed to support their drug habit.

“A good portion of those drug offenses are, in fact, done by repeat offenders who are in a cycle of offense,” he said.

Motley said holiday weekends like this one and summer vacations are prime hunting times for would-be criminals.

“You can’t prevent all burglaries and thefts,” Motley said. “It’s just not possible; however, you can make it as difficult as possible for the thieves to obtain your property.”

First, residents should secure items such as bicycles, lawn equipment, ATVs or any other item of value.

“Most thefts are thefts of opportunity,” Motley said. “Say, if you leave a bicycle or lawnmower out in the yard, that’s nothing but an invitation for someone to come looking.”

He said when traveling away for an extended period of time, take precautions such as getting a neighbor’s help in keeping an eye on your property.

Motley said property owners should also record serial numbers and makes and model numbers of valuable items, as well as any distinguishing marks.

“That way if something is stolen, we have a way to identify if we do recover the property,” he said. “Those give us ideas on who the property belongs to.”

Inventory pamphlets are available at the CCSO office on Hillcrest Drive, he said.