Columbia Police Increase Patrol, Break-ins Decreases
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police said Thursday that because of a heightened patrol in Columbia, break-ins have gone down about 60 percent as compared to last year around this time. Sergeant Michael Hestir works the night shift at the Columbia Police Department. He said student housing is targeted during the holidays and breaks because criminals know that's when no one's home. Hestir said this year the Columbia Police has made some changes to make sure crime goes down.
"This year we changed patrol patterns as well as increased prevention methods," said Hestir.
Hestir said police are patrolling Columbia, checking to make sure both car and house doors are locked. He said last year there a number of burglaries reported with suspects getting in from unlocked windows as well as doors. A resident of one of the housing areas that was hit said she may know why people make these mistakes.
"I can see where people are coming from when they leave their windows or doors open because there could be a false since of security living in apartments. We have people monitoring the place, but that doesn't mean people should leave their stuff unlocked," said Melissa Klos.
Columbia Police said this year at least one third of all break-ins occurred because people simply left doors unlocked. Hestir said this makes people an easy target. Hestir advises people who leave for vacation or even just for a minute should leave their porch lights on.
"Criminals are always looking to score some place where no one is home, and if your home seems to be empty, they may target you," said Hestir.
If you see someone suspicious, you can call 9-1-1 or Crimestoppers at 573-875-TIPS.