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By BRIAN HAWKINS
Multiple residential and vehicular burglary reports over the last three days have Starkville Police Department detectives again urging residents to take precautions against becoming victims of property crime.
Since Monday, police have responded to seven residential and vehicular break-ins, with a variety of items taken in each case, said SPD Lt. Mark Ballard on Wednesday.
The break-ins have been reported primarily in areas with a heavy concentration of Mississippi State students, including residential areas along Stark Road, Wood Street and along University Drive. But break-ins are occurring across the city.
Residential and vehicular burglaries rank consistently among the top felony crimes investigated by police each year, said Ballard.
In fact, of the 51 felony crime incidents reported to the SPD in December, nearly half â€” 23 incidents â€” were either residential and vehicular burglaries, Ballard said.
Thatâ€™s why citizen involvement is critical to helping police solve cases and reduce the number of burglaries, Ballard said. Simply being alert in oneâ€™s neighborhood and calling officers can help, he said.
â€śIf you are unsure and something doesnâ€™t look right or routine, itâ€™s probably not,â€ť Ballard said. â€śThatâ€™s when you should call us. Weâ€™ll check it out in a professional manner. Such an action can lead to cases being solved.â€ť
Simple precautions against house and apartment break-ins can help residents protect themselves, police said, including:
â€˘ Leaving lights on both indoors and outdoors when not at home. Increased visibility around the home decreases the likelihood criminals will attempt to break in. Police detectives recommended that homeowners set many lights on timers to come on during the evening hours.
â€˘ Having neighbors they trust watch their homes and property while they are away. Neighbors will be more likely to spot something out of place or suspicious, detectives said.
â€˘ Making sure all doors are locked, particularly those with deadbolt locks. The same applies to windows.
â€˘ Keeping valuables out of the potential view of burglars from outdoors. Police recommend that residents close curtains and blinds to keep valuables out of the direct view of criminals.
â€˘ Not hesitating to call police or other law enforcement agencies to report any unusual or suspicious activity around their homes or those of their neighbors.
â€˘ Making a list of serial numbers of valuables such as electronics, appliances, jewelry and firearms as a precaution. Such a list should be stored in a safe place, and, in case of a property crime, can aid police in recovering items.
Here are some tips for preventing vehicular break-ins:
â€˘ Always lock a vehicle when leaving it for any amount of time and make sure windows are rolled up completely and locked
â€˘ Park in well-lit areas will often deter potential criminals.
â€˘ Do not leave small electronics devices, wallets, purses or other easily taken items lying in plain view inside a vehicle. They should be removed from the vehicle or hidden from plain view.
The Starkville Police Department can be reached at 323-4134, the MSU Police Department can be reached at 325-2121 and the Oktibbeha County Sheriffâ€™s Department can be reached at 323-2421.