Burglaries still a problem for police, residents

By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Northeast Mississippians become burglary statistics almost every day.
The Tupelo Police Department investigated countless of home, commercial and automobile burglaries in 2009, according to investigators. No neighborhood or parking lot was immune. Since Jan. 1, 2010 the Tupelo police have investigated 45 auto burglaries, 41 home burglaries and five commercial burglaries. At least four arrests have been made in connection with burglaries in the city this year.
Richard Lewis encountered a break-in during October when he came home to a kicked-in door and stolen property.
“You feel sorry for people who have their house broken into, but you really can’t know what they are going through until it happens to you,” said Lewis. “The anger and helplessness you feel is unreal. And when you factor in the things you have to replace, things you don’t have the money to replace, that makes it worse.”
Tupelo Police Detective Jerry Davis said burglary is an opportunistic crime and burglars are causing a lot of damage to property owners.
“When they see a purse or something of value laying on a car seat, a thief is going to break that window to get it out,” he said. “Now you have to replace a window and whatever items taken. We see people just boldly kicking in doors and going in and getting stuff. It’s something that we have really been trying to get a handle on and we have made several arrests and cleared several cases.”
Even though every neighborhood is subject to burglaries, Davis said the Bogan Street area has been getting hit hard lately with house. He said more auto burglaries have been happening around the mall, hotels restaurants and movie theaters.
“People know you’ll be in these places for a while so they take advantage of that and break in your car,” said Davis.”
Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson said his department has made 10 burglary arrests over the past few months that have resulted in at least 20 burglaries being solved. Mostly churches and homes were burglarized in the county.
“Our burglaries have been reduced tremendously lately because of some arrests,” said Johnson. “But I can say that we’ve had more burglaries since the economic crisis began than I’ve ever seen.”
Lewis said since his home was burglarized, he’s bought a dog to keep in the house when he’s not home. But in this day and age he said he doesn’t even know if that will help.
“If you have something someone wants they’re going to get it,” said Lewis. “They are going to break in and take it, period. I just hope that lightening doesn’t strike the same place twice.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.