‘This is not Mayberry,’ chief says. Lock your doors, windows

OXFORD – What happened in Oxford over the holiday weekend can be a reminder for every householder.
Police responded to six residential burglaries and one automobile burglary. Only on one of the crimes did the thief or thieves force an entry. Assistant Police Chief Joey East said in the rest of the cases, the perpetrators found an unlocked way to make their way in.
“A majority of these crimes are no-forced,” he said. “Most burglars are just looking for an opportunity, and if they find an easy way in, that’s what they want.”
East said typically burglars drive or walk through neighborhoods or complexes to observe people’s habits and identify their vehicles so it’s easy to know whether anyone is home.
“They do as much studying for their ‘job’” as a burglar as most other people do for honest occupations, he added.
While Oxford traditionally has an uptick in burglaries during the University of Mississippi’s semester breaks, when thousands of apartments sit unoccupied, the trend is becoming more and more common to non-apartment residences as well.
Oxford remains well below the per-capita national average for most categories of crime, but the town’s reputation as a peaceful place sometimes lures people into a false sense of security. East said the most effective prevention is the easiest – and most obvious.
“Don’t make it easy for thieves,” he said. “We need people to know that this is not Mayberry.
“We definitely need to keep everything locked.”

Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal