Columbia Police Department installs sign warning of rise in burglaries

Monday, September 30, 2013 | 5:47 p.m. CDT; updated 8:40 p.m. CDT, Monday, September 30, 2013

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Police Department installed a temporary sign over the weekend on the corner of Bearfield Road and Grindstone Parkway to warn of an increase in burglaries in the area.

The sign, which read "Lock your cars, lock you doors, increased burglaries area," was borrowed from the Columbia Public Works Department for the weekend and was taken down on Monday morning. It was put up in response to a recent rise in burglaries in South Columbia, mostly in apartment complexes with heavy student populations, Public Information Officer Latisha Stroer said in an email. 

Columbia's crime rates have decreased since mid-July, according to a Police Department analysis, but South Columbia has experienced a rise in residential burglaries. 

Residential burglaries in all of Columbia decreased from 62 to 55 between July 19 and Sept. 9, but the south side of town saw an increase from 23 to 32.

Several burglaries have occurred in recent months in the areas around Commercial Drive and Ponderosa Street, according to department records. There were two burglaries on Commercial Drive on Saturday. 

Unlocked doors and windows have been the leading cause of the burglaries, Stroer said. 

In addition to the sign, the department is using Facebook and Twitter to alert students about the increase in burglaries. It is also working with the MU Police Department and placing fliers around high-risk locations.

Supervising editor is Richard Webner.

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