Police encourage citizens to lock doors and ‘be aware’

home invasion

ST. GEORGE – Over 750 burglaries were reported to St. George police between Jan. 1 and Oct. 27, 2011.

Of those burglaries, vehicle burglaries topped the list with 322 reported incidents, and residential burglaries came in at a close second with 311. Additional burglaries involved businesses with 86 reports and storage units with 34 reports.

Police Captain James Van Fleet’s computer screen shows each burglary represented by a red dot on a map of the St. George metropolitan area. “We have burglaries, yes we do,” Van Fleet said.

He pointed out that the bulk of the burglaries took place in the Dixie Downs area, but not necessarily because it is a bad part of town. It has more to do with the high-density of apartments in the area and its accompanying mix of businesses and storage units. Also, the more people there are in an area, the more cars there are going to be, all of which factors into the spread of burglaries.

While more burglaries did take place in the Dixie Downs area, Van Fleet referred back to the map on his screen and showed that the red dots were fairly spread out. No one area appeared to have the monopoly on burglaries in St. George.

One trend Van Fleet noticed in residential burglaries was that second homes were being hit. The owners of those homes lived in St. George only a few months out of the year. Burglars take advantage of this opportunity and break in because no one will be home.

Van Fleet said burglaries like these and others could be avoided by homeowners asking their neighbors to keep an eye on their property. He also stressed the need for the public to report suspicious behavior.

“If something does not look right,” Van Fleet said, “it most likely is not. As the old saying goes: it is better to be safe than sorry.”

“Most of this crime citizens can help [deter],” he said.

Van Fleet said he was pleased by how much crime was reported by citizens. He cited the recent example of a St. George teenager who allegedly threatened a day care employee’s life and proceeded to mark cars with graffiti. (See previous story here).

The day care employee could have shrugged off the threat and let the teenaged suspect go on her merry way. Instead, she called the police and reported the incident.

Van Fleet also gave tips for how St. George residents could avoid becoming potential burglary victims.

The first piece of advice he had was for people to lock the doors of their homes and especially their cars. One simple way a suspect is able to break into a home or a car is when it is unlocked. “Take away the opportunity to commit a crime,” Van Fleet said.

Second, people should get to know their neighbors. “They provide the best defense against crime,” Van Fleet said.

Third, Van Fleet wants people to do their part when it comes to protecting themselves. If some people feel they need an alarm system and can afford it, then they should do it. Getting a dog is also an option. Still, some of the simplest solutions can still be the best. “Locking your doors is essentially free,” he said.

Fourth, Van Fleet suggested that people become involved in the Community Action Team in their designated area. St. George is divided into ten separate areas. For example, the Dixie Downs residents are part of Area 6.  Representatives from the city departments – police, fire, code enforcement, streets, water, power, and parks – can be found in each team.

Van Fleet said the CAT teams were an excellent way for people to become involved in knowing what is going on in their part of the community. Citizens could ask questions of their local department representatives, as well as get to know their neighbors better.

“It’s neighborhoods taking care of neighborhoods,” he said.

Finally, Van Fleet stressed the need for people to simply “be aware.”

Related Link:
Community Action Teams – Here

mkessler@stgnews.com

Copyright 2011 St. George News. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.

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4 Comments

  • Kaleb October 29, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Maybe it’s because the heroin and meth epidemic… We should just take half the drug task force fund and fund a rehab programs instead of putting tax payer money to that the jails and courts. It would be cheaper and more effective

  • tyler October 31, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    You can take all the action you want, but where’s there’s population, there’s crime. Btw, agree with kaleb!! This community needs to quit being in denial and turning a bind eye on the enormous drug problem in the streets and help fund rehab centers!

  • Not a Mormon October 31, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    But why should I have to pay for a rehab center? These people did it to themselves. I don’t want my tax money going to that. Let them eat cake!
    .
    Keep funding the police to bust these criminals, but deport them – even if they’re American citizens. Toss them out of a plane over Africa with a parachute and say don’t come back.

  • -Mike- November 1, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Not a Mormon, I have to agree with most of what you said… why should I be responsible for someone’s rehab? Especially when there’s a good chance they’re just going to re-offend when they’re let loose! Rehab works for people who want to quit, and so does jail. If getting locked up isn’t doing the job, it’s because the person isn’t ready to move on.

    I’ve got a relative who has spent the last 8 or 9 years (since he was 16) in and out of facilities, including juvy, “boys’ homes”, rehab, and county jail. Things go well for him while he’s locked up or in a program, but as soon as he’s out he does something to get himself put back in. I think his longest sting OUT of jail has been about 6 weeks.

    It makes me angry enough that I have to pay for his jail time, so why would I want to pay for his rehab, too?

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