Thefts, Burglaries Increase in County
Officials with the Bartow County Sheriff's Office say the increase can partially be attributed to the economy.
An increase in theft and burglary cases worked by the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office in 2011 could be attributed somewhat to a lagging economy, officials said on Tuesday.
“I don’t think you can wholly blame the economy,” Sgt. Jonathan Rogers said. “Some of it I think is criminals recommitting crimes and new criminals coming along and committing the same crimes.”
According to crime statistics released this week by the sheriff’s office, the agency worked 37 robberies, 805 burglaries and 1,845 thefts in 2011, up from 34 robberies, 740 burglaries and 1,515 theft in 2010.
Rogers said that while investigators work to solve the crimes and prosecute the offenders, they also are trying to focus on what offenders are doing to profit off the crimes, such as by selling items to pawn shops or salvage yards.
“If we can cut that down or regulate that, maybe that will lower the crime rate,” Rogers said.
The agency is putting together an ordinance aimed at deterring the sale of stolen items at pawn or gold shops. The ordinance is currently in the design phase and, while Rogers said it was too early to comment on specifics, he said it likely will go into effect in the next few months.
“I don’t blame the pawn shop. They’re a legitimate business,” Rogers said. “A lot of these guys will use a pawn shop one time and not go back because they know they’ve sold something and it was stolen. We’re trying to concentrate on those types of places, not to put a chokehold on the legitimate business side of it but to reduce the criminal side. It helps us to be able to weed out the criminal activity.”
Initially, the plan could lower the number of thefts that occur in Bartow County, Rogers said.
“As with anything else in life, they’ll find a way around it, and eventually we may have to go from a different angle,” he said.
While some crimes could be attributed to the economy, others are crimes of opportunity, Rogers said.
“They don’t do a lot of research,” he said. “They might be riding by your house every day and all of a sudden they think, ‘Hey, that would be an easy house to get into’ or, ‘That would be a profitable house to get into.’”
In other categories, rapes dropped from 23 to 7, aggravated assault reports increased from 166 to 195, simple assaults decreased from 1,246 to 1,057, motor vehicle thefts dropped from 215 to 191, and homicides increased by one.