A recent string of burglaries has Starkville police urging citizens to lock their doors and keep valuables out of sight.
Since Jan. 1, the Starkville Police Department has responded to 37 burglaries, including a residential break-in reported about 1 p.m. Thursday near Armstrong Middle School. Of the burglaries reported so far this year, 23 involved breaking and entering automobiles, 11 took place at occupied or unoccupied homes and three were at businesses, according to statistics provided by the SPD.
“The number (of burglaries) just keeps going up,” Starkville Police Department Detective Jimmie Thomas said. “It”s been going up like crazy.”
Since July 1, 2010, Starkville police have investigated 171 burglaries. By comparison, the SPD investigated 143 burglaries during the first six months of 2010.
The SPD recently completed a research project on crimes of opportunity within the city of Starkville, a majority of which have occurred in areas where Mississippi State University students live. As part of the project, two officers with the SPD canvassed highly populated areas and observed 100 parked cars. Of those vehicles, 90 percent had items such as iPods, phones and other valuables in sight. Twenty-five percent of the vehicles were unlocked and several had keys in the ignition, Thomas said.
Starkville residents can take basic steps to protect against potential burglars, Thomas said.
“Lock your doors and, if you have valuables in your vehicle, take them out and take them inside,” he said.
The SPD is urging people to keep copies of serial numbers and get tracking devices for their valuables, which will make them easier to find if stolen. Several applications are available for download to cellular phones and other electronic devices free of charge or at a minimal fee, Thomas said.
Starkville police also are urging residents to make sure keys are not left in the ignition, even for a short amount of time. Additionally, the SPD is reminding citizens to park in well-lit, highly visible areas, and to be on the lookout for potential burglars.
“If you see any suspicious activity, call the police,” Thomas said. “If you see somebody walking down your street and they”re looking in vehicles, especially at night, they probably don”t belong there, so give us a call.”
Police are planning to canvass neighborhoods more in the future, Thomas said.
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