Chief asks vigilance, not vigilantism
Police Chief K.P. Gibson is urging vigilance — not vigilantism — as the search continues for the burglars who have plagued the Historic District of the city.
“The extra eyes in the neighborhoods are wanted,” he said. “We just don’t want to see someone getting hurt in a confrontation.”
Gibson said extra police patrols — both marked and unmarked — have been assigned to the area and the best thing for anyone who sees something suspicious to do is to call the police station (788-4117 or 911) immediately.
“Don’t put yourself is a situation where you might be in danger,” he said.
Since Memorial Day, six break-ins have been reported in the Historic District, according to Gibson.
“We’re treating them all as the work of a single team,” the chief said. “In five of the six incidents, entry was made through a kicked-in door. In the sixth, the burglar broke a window and reached in to unlock the window and entry was made there.”
The burglars have been targeting guns, electronics and some jewelry.
“They seem to be mostly looking for cash,” Gibson said.
The burglars have been described as two black males between the ages of 15 and 20. A third person, possibly an accomplice, has been described as a black female driving a gray compact SUV.
One of the male suspects had been riding a purple and white bicycle that was discarded when the pair was chased from the scene of the last break-in.
“We’ve been pursuing numerous leads,” Gibson said. “We’ve searched multiple homes and multiple vehicles belongs to persons of interest, thus far with no results.”
However, the police chief said evidence has been recovered from the various scenes, all of which has been forwarded to the State Police Crime Lab.
Gibson offered a few tips homeowners — not just those in the Historic District, but anywhere — can take to thwart burglaries.
“If you’re home, show it,” he said. “Go outside and walk around your property. Not only does this afford you the opportunity to keep an eye out for someone suspicious, but it let’s would-be burglars know that you’re home.
“Burglars don’t want confrontation. They’re not going to come to your house if they know someone’s home.”
And if you know you’re not going to be home, “don’t post it on the social media,” Gibson warned.
“Tell your neighbors if you’re leaving town so they can keep an eye on your property, but don’t put it out there for everyone to see.”
Another good idea, he said, is to exchange phone numbers with your neighbors.
“If you see something that just doesn’t look right, call the homeowner and ask. It might be a plumber or a yardman ... it might not be,” Gibson said.
In short, police are appreciative of the added security and watchfulness in the area, according to Gibson.
“We just urge citizens to call us first. Do not try to confront anyone — for your safety and theirs.”