SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- In the last four months of 2011, criminals broke into 253 homes and businesses in unincorporated areas of Greene County. The sheriff's department says that number of burglaries was 20 percent higher than the same period of 2010. In those same four months, the sheriff's department says, there were 471 reported thefts in unincorporated areas.
The sheriff's department says it wants to solve the property crimes but is hampered by staff shortages and the need to give investigators time off to compensate for past overtime that for which the department can't afford to pay.
To alert people about the high number of property crimes, the sheriff's department is posting electronic message boards around Greene County. Sheriff Jim Arnott urges people to report suspicious people in or around their neighborhoods.
The sheriff's department listed some crime prevention tips:
- Remove valuable items from vehicles at night and lock their doors; valuable items include computers, navigation equipment, purses, garage door openers, keys and firearms.
- Use exterior lighting around your home and be sure the garage door is closed at night.
- If you are home and someone suspicious knocks on your door, don't ignore it. Call 911 and alert the stranger that you're home. Try to get descriptive information about the knocker and his vehicle that you can pass on to law enforcement officers.
- Establish a neighborhood watch program; for assistance with that process, call the sheriff's department at (417) 848-4040.