Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker posted to Facebook Thursday about a recent rise in auto burglaries.
There have been 30 auto burglaries since the beginning of the year in the Hub City, and Barker is asking that people pay just a little more attention to their own safety.
Barker said 24 of the 30 burglaries were unlocked vehicles. Another five had no signs of forced entry. By the math, that means only one car was damaged when someone tried to get inside.
According to Barker, in those 30 burglaries, 15 guns were stolen, all from unlocked vehicles or vehicles that had no signs of forced entry.
“That means 15 guns are now on the streets and could be used later in a violent crime,” he said. “While no one should be blamed for falling victim to a crime, understand that auto burglaries are almost always crimes of opportunities.”
The answer, he said, is locking your car doors.
“Leaving your doors unlocked provides these opportunities. Leaving guns in unlocked vehicles is particularly unsafe. Our officers work extremely hard at keeping our city and neighborhoods safe,” Barker posted. “However, personal responsibility will help them do that better. It takes all of us.”
Both Barker and the Hattiesburg Police Department are advising residents to “park smart.” You can do that by removing your valuables and locking your doors. If you can tell that you’ve been a victim of a car burglary, officials ask you to report it at (601) 545-4910.
“Hattiesburg is a safe community, but a few common sense precautions can go a long way in keeping our residents, property and neighborhoods as safe as possible,” Barker said.