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Police: Beat burglars by being proactive

Patrols are being stepped up in areas hit by car burglars over the weekend and residents are once again being asked to do the obvious — lock your vehicle doors and don’t leave valuables in sight where they can catch a thief’s attention.

Capt. Clint Earls with the Brookhaven Police Department said several vehicles were broken into between midnight Sunday and Monday morning, which resulted in several reports filed. While Earls declined to say where the burglaries occurred, police dockets show reports filed for auto burglaries on Becker, West Minnesota and Hartman streets. Individuals on social media claimed burglaries on Storm Avenue and Chippewa Street.

“If you live in that area where the burglaries have been, you should see an increase in patrol,” he said.

Earls has viewed home video surveillance from areas where burglaries occurred and said it appears the suspects are likely juvenile and are on foot.

“It’s a crime of opportunity,” Earls said. “They are feeling door handles to see if doors are unlocked. If a vehicle is locked, typically they’re moving on to the next one because they don’t want the chance of setting off an alarm or someone hearing what they’re doing.”

He said the suspects plunder through glove boxes and consoles looking for items of value.

“They’re checking doors and if they’re unlocked they’re going through the vehicles. We had several of those that had nothing taken out of them but yet they’d still been entered and ransacked,” he said.

Earls urged residents to keep their vehicle doors locked and to be aware of what’s going on in their neighborhood.

“If they hear something suspicious and see something suspicious give us a call. That’s what we’re here for,” he said.

Those who are victimized should call the police and report the crime then report it to their financial institutions so fraud alerts can be put on the victim’s credit history.

“If they get the property back and it appears everything is there, I would still call and place alerts,” he said. “You don’t know if they’ve taken a snapshot of a credit card, in which case they can order stuff online. I would at least file a report with the financial institutions. Let them know what occurred and let them take the proper steps to flag your account.”

Earls said he’s recently seen a post shared among Facebook users in Brookhaven citing the city as one of the state’s most dangerous places to live. The ranking for the list — Brookhaven is No. 7 — comes from incomplete data and is put out by a website called www.roadsnacks.com as “info-tainment.”

Earls said the list — which puts Brookhaven better than Meridian and worse than Biloxi — is not accurate.

He said Brookhaven submits statistics to the FBI in order to increase probability for grant eligibility from the federal government. But others don’t, which can skew the numbers.

“They’re not complete so when they pick the top worst cities in Mississippi, that may be the only 10 cities in Mississippi that submitted crime stats to go on,” he said. “You can’t use that information to justify where a bad place to live is, or a good place to live is, because they’re not submitted by everyone.”