Crime report shows rise in local burglaries

Posted by: Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) -- Whenever someone commits a crime, Maury Mitchell and the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center finds out about it.

A new statewide report released this week shows 342 homicides in 2008, down from 391 in 2007.

Still, experts notice an increase in overall crime.

"Crime has risen in Alabama.  That's primarily due to theft.  That's the most common crime by far," Mitchell explained.

Mitchell says the theft category includes property crimes.  Statewide, thieves got their hands on an extra $10 million dollars worth of goods.

Montgomery County also showed a spike.  Reported burglaries rose to 3,771 from 3,567.

"I would say it's the economy.  Some people who are just needing some extra money, not making enough money.  Maybe [they] just lost their job and are out to make some free money," explained Sgt. J.L. Walker of the Montgomery Police Department.

That's no surprise to Kathryn Jones of Montgomery.  One of 3,771 burglary victims last year, she caught the suspect in the act.

"I thought, 'Oh, my gosh.'  Then I saw my Louis Vuitton scarf tied around his pants, and I said, 'Hey, I'm being robbed," Jones explained.

Police are doing their part--trying to curb crime with specialized units.

"Any burglary in progress that goes out, the unit responds to the area--just to help assist with patrols," Walker said.

Still, homeowners say it's better to be safe than sorry.

"Just be very careful.  All the time.  You never know who's watching you.  You really don't.  Not in today's society," Jones said.

Elmore County saw a spike in burglaries up to 503 reports from 277 in 2007.

Autauga County dropped slightly to 379 burglary reports from 405 in 2007.

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