Leader Blues

Thursday, October 11, 2007

TOP STORY >>City sees far fewer break-ins this year

Leader staff writer

Jacksonville burglaries are down through the first seven months of the year and crime solving is up.
“It’s double good news,” said Police Chief Robert Baker.

Through August, the city has had 222 burglaries and has solved 31.5 percent. During the same period in 2006, Jacksonville had 282 burglaries with a 23.4 percent clearance rate. The current clearance rate is more than double the national average of 13 percent.

“We feel that we are doing very well in our efforts to solve burglaries,” the chief said. “It would be great if we could prevent or solve every burglary, but that just isn’t realistic, given the nature of the crime.

“But that doesn’t deter our efforts,” Baker said.

Baker applauds four crime-prevention tools his department is using in the battle against burglaries and other crimes.
“First, our officers are very vigilant in their efforts to prevent crime and when that can’t be accomplished, work very hard as a reactionary force to the crime committed,” he said.

He also complimented the detectives. “They work hard obtaining probable cause needed to identify the suspect and make an arrest that leads to a conviction in court,” Baker said.

The department has also developed a blended unit suppression team (BUST) that concentrates its efforts in higher crime areas.

“And our residents are an extremely important tool,” Baker said. “Vigilant neighbors, willing to contact the police when they observe a suspicious vehicle or person in their area or neighborhood, are invaluable,” he added.
Baker said residents could help deter burglaries by following these tips:

Keep house windows and doors locked.

Install deadbolts on all exterior doors.

Don’t leave a spare key under the doormat, in the mailbox or any other outside location.

If there is a peephole in the front door, use it.

Install secondary locks on sliding doors.

When out of town make sure the house doesn’t look vacant.

Keep an inventory of all valuables and record all serial and model numbers of valuables.

Take photos or a video of all jewelry and other valuables.