Increased burglaries force APD to request help from community

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- The number of burglaries in the city has risen and the Albany Police Department wants residents to pitch in and be on the lookout for burglars.

It has gotten so bad that people can go out and just about order what they want, said police Lt. James Williams, supervisor for the burglary unit.

"Someone will just go out on the street and say, 'Anyone know where I can get a Canon camera or a television?' just like putting in an order," Williams said. "Then they (burglars) will go looking for that to steal."

Just comparing the latest burglary numbers available for February against the same month last year the increase is apparent. In February 2009, there were 74 burglaries, police statistics stated. For February this year, the burglary number came in at 113.

Statistics for March were not available, but Williams expects the volume of burglaries to continue rising.

According to Williams, the increase in burglaries stretches across all the police districts in the city. The wave of burglaries doesn't seem to be the work of an organized ring either, he added.

The crimes are committed by juveniles as young as 12 as well as adults, Williams said. Sometimes the burglars are spotted actually committing the crime, but police are not called, he said.

"We should hear about it before anyone else," Williams said. "We need residents to call us."

The need for residents to call and give details of what they see was emphasized by Williams. The call can be anonymous, but it should be made, he said.

Strengthening patrols and placing video surveillance in neighborhoods can only go so far, Williams said. It is up to residents to help protect themselves he said.

Burglars favor electronics, guns, video games and televisions, Williams said. The police have made arrests and confiscated the stolen goods.

Getting the goods back to their rightful owners has been a problem. People don't write down the serial numbers or neglect to have items engraved, Williams said.

The police offer free engraving and tips on crime prevention. Rewards are often offered for information leading to arrests.

To call in crime information, use the police general number (229) 431-2100 or Crime Stoppers at (229) 436-TIPS (8477) or (229) 431-3288. The Spanish speaking APD-COP Tip Line is (229) 434-2677.