Little things can deter crime, sheriff says

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 5, 2009

People who secure their property and keep good records of their valuables as residential and auto burglaries continue to be reported in high numbers will be assisting law enforcement, Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said today.

“You may not be able to prevent these crimes from occurring, but you may be able to prevent yourself from becoming a victim,” Pace said as guest speaker of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

Pace cited a series of 16 auto burglaries reported in the Marion Park and Hillcrest subdivisions last week, noting none of the victims had locked their car doors. Three juveniles have been arrested for the burglaries thus far, he said, and the investigation is ongoing.

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“They’re just walking down the street checking door handles. If yours is locked and your neighbor’s isn’t, they’ll be a victim and you won’t,” Pace said. “They’re looking for easy targets. They’re not smashing windows. They’re not breaking locks. They don’t want to wake up the entire neighborhood.”

The same was true in June when approximately a dozen cars were burglarized in the Bell Meade subdivision off Porters Chapel Road. Items stolen were cash, cell phones, electronics and handguns. 

“A lot of people in Mississippi carry firearms in their vehicles. If you do, please don’t ever leave it in your vehicle overnight. You shouldn’t leave any valuables in your vehicle, but especially firearms,” the sheriff stressed. “The last thing we need is another 14-year-old with a pistol.”

Hunting club burglaries traditionally rise as hunting season swings into full gear, said Pace, and four-wheelers and firearms are generally among the hottest items. When firearms and other valuables are stolen from cars, homes or hunting clubs, Pace said he’s always surprised at the number of victims who don’t have specific information about their property.

“Not only do they not know the serial number, oftentimes they don’t even know the brand, make or model,” he said. “If you have that information, we can immediately put it into the National Crime Information Center and every cop in America will have access to that report. The faster it’s entered, the more likely we’ll recover it.”

Pace also recommended homeowners take a room by room video inventory of all their valuables, and store the tape or disc in an off-site location in case of a fire, burglary or other insurance need.

Contact Steve Sanoski at