County burglaries on the rise

By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Lauderdale County officials say burglaries, perhaps committed by an organized band of thieves, are on the rise especially during daylight hours and in the southeast part of the county.
The problem isn't expected to get any better as Christmas approaches, said Sheriff Billy Sollie.
Sollie said rural deputies endure hardships that urban law enforcement officers do not. Fewer deputies face more territory 720 square miles in Lauderdale County fewer witnesses and longer response times after alarms are activated.
Investigators and deputies have recently been assigned to special details, providing heavy saturation in high-burglary areas and questioning people who do not normally frequent certain neighborhoods.
Chief Deputy Mike Mitchell said about 30 homes have been burglarized since Oct. 1.
The burglars don't target one particular type of home, but they are interested in VCRs, TVs, jewelry, weapons and computers, Mitchell said. Investigators believe the same group of people is responsible and is transporting stolen merchandise to another county or state.
Mitchell said homeowners can take steps to decrease their chances of being victimized such as reporting suspicious cars or people, keeping a close watch on neighbors' homes, making it difficult to drive around to the rear of the home, installing extra exterior lighting, posting alarm signs and keeping bushes and shrubs trimmed to eliminate hiding places.
Sollie said "suspicious cars" are those that are not often seen in the area, that are traveling slowly or that are repeatedly driving up and down a road.
Alarms, either audible or silent, are effective deterrents and more homeowners are investing in them.
Sollie said deputies don't mind false alarms.
Residents with information about burglaries can call CrimeStoppers at 490-2746.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at mtodd@meridianstar.com.

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