Tips help solve burglaries, lead to arrests

Published 1:39 am Saturday, September 21, 2013

Something catches the corner of your eye and you think, “Huh. That doesn’t look right.”

It’s that thought that police hope you follow up on because it could mean the break they need to solve a crime.

Over the last few weeks, that’s exactly what has happened in several area cases. The first led to the resolution of nearly 20 area burglaries after an Andalusia man noticed his kids’ stolen four-wheeler sitting in a person’s yard. In the second case, a tip from a Florala citizen led to the arrest of two Florida residents who were allegedly operating a rolling meth lab in their vehicle. On Thursday, police were called when an alleged drug dealer who’d fled from police two days before was spotted hiding under a shed in the north part of the county.

Sheriff Dennis Meeks said it was that kind of community participation that can make the difference in solving a crime.

“I takes everyone in this county working together to combat the problem,” Meeks said. “Our officers and investigators are out every day working the cases we get in. I’ll tell you, we appreciate the citizens. Because when you live in a particular area, no one knows that area better than you do.

“I tell everyone if you see anything that doesn’t look right – a vehicle that doesn’t look like it belongs, call us so we can go out and see what’s going on,” he said.

Tips can be submitted anonymously by calling 427-4911.

The Andalusia Police Department’s assistant chief Mike Bowlan said that “eyes” are vitally important to combating crime in the city limits.

“There are only 30 police officers in the city limits of Andalusia,” he said. “That’s 60 eyes looking out for crime. The population is approximately 10,000 in Andalusia. That means there are about 20,000 eyes. We encourage every one of those sets to get involved. When you see something, allow the police to know about it. We’ll respond and come help.

“Be suspicious,” he said. “Neighbors should look out for neighbors. Police are charged with enforcing the laws, but the number (of officers) we have limits the crime we see. Citizen involvement helps the entire county as a whole.”

The APD recently became the first area law enforcement agency to use the smart phone application LiveSafe. It’s a free application that gives residents an immediate connection for communication information to police.