Gift-filled homes an easy target for burglars

Published 12:01 am Thursday, December 13, 2007

NATCHEZ — As Christmas approaches, homes become well stocked with gifts and many people leave town to visit family.

And all those empty, well-stocked homes are prime targets for enterprising burglars Sheriff Ronny Brown said.

“If you are leaving town get someone you can trust to look after your house,” he said. “That’s the best thing to do.”

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Brown said while his office occasionally sees a rise in holiday time break-ins, things this year have been fairly quiet.

“Natchez is small,” he said.

Brown said Natchez’s small size works in its favor in terms of low rates of crime.

And even while Natchez does not see the spike in holiday related break-ins that larger cities do precautions are to be taken Brown said.

“They’re pretty slick,” Brown said of burglars looking to take advantage of unattended homes.

Brown said would-be home intruders will walk from door-to-door pretending to deliver a package, while in actuality they are simply finding out which residences are occupied.

But Brown and Police Chief Mike Mullins both said those types of robberies are not the norm.

“Most intrusions are opportunistic,” Mullins said. “Believe it or not many times doors are simply left unlocked.”

Mullins said many of the robberies he encounters are committed by intoxicated individuals who simply peruse neighborhoods to see which homes look empty and are left unlocked.

“If it’s not locked they can just let themselves in,” he said.

And both men agreed that home intrusions don’t target any one socioeconomic group.

“That’s why everyone needs to be mindful,” Mullins said.

Brown said simple things like keeping low-cut hedges and installing a deadbolt can go along way to deterring crime before it happens.

“Be mindful,” Brown said.