Vehicle and home burglaries continue on steady rise
by Amanda Stegall
Jun 17, 2011 | 2214 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Summer activities are in full swing and with increased recreation, crime rates are also on the rise with vehicles being broken in to and homes burglarized.

Typical public venues where criminal activity spikes in the summer are parks and the beaches around lakes and rivers. "We've got a full -time staff out during the day and the sheriff's office maintains a steady patrol," said Bartow County Parks and Recreation Director Greg Anderson. "The department does a good job coming by."

According to incident reports from both the county and city police, vehicles where items are clearly visible rank high on the target list for miscreants. Sgt. Jonathan Rogers of the Bartow County Sheriff's Office warns people to, first, not keep valuables in the vehicle. "If you have a trunk, keep your stuff in there," he said. "Keep doors locked and stuff out of sight."

Although locking the door seems like a common sense action, many of the vehicles broken into did not receive damage -- offenders can simply open the door and take whatever they desire. Even if doors are locked, however, a common means of entrance is breaking windows.

Two vehicles were recently targeted while their owners were attending a sporting event at a Cartersville park,. The offenders first enabled the car alarm, possibly to mute the sound of breaking glass as they stole items from the cars. "People need to be wise," said Anderson. "We have people at the parks day and night ... don't hesitate to come talk to us [if you see anything suspicious]."

Homes also are falling victim to burglars every day. Many residences are broken in to through windows and doors by prying them open. Police reports indicate that most thefts are related to copper wiring, but electronics and jewelry as well as firearms remain desired items.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, in 2009 approximately 15.6 million properties experienced crime. The report includes vehicle theft, burglary and property theft in these statistics. The FBI reports that of all residential properties accounted for, 72.6 percent of burglary offenses were reported.

Proactively taking simple steps for easy surveillance from the street or a neighboring property could possibly prevent homes from being burglarized. Some of these tips include keeping doors and windows closed and locked as well as maintaining shrubbery from becoming overgrown and blocking the view of entrances to homes. Installing a home security system also could keep offenders away.